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Letters: Crowds getting soaked at the Coliseum

Readers tell of slow security screening at Nassau County’s arena

Billy Joel fans stand in the pouring rain

Billy Joel fans stand in the pouring rain during slow security screening at NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum on New Year's Eve. Photo Credit: John Cunningham via Twitter

With torrential rain, line-cutting and irritable guests, the potential for something much worse than catching a cold was bubbling as people waited to enter NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum on New Year’s Eve [“A concerning night of troubles at Coliseum,” Editorial, Jan. 3].

At 9:30 p.m., after we had waited 45 minutes to get into the north entrance, a fistfight broke out in the line. The crowd disbursed as people were shoved. A man wielded an umbrella as a weapon, hitting a woman in the face. During and even after all this commotion, we did not see a venue security guard or Nassau County police officer.

Fortunately, the men were pulled apart. The poor attempt at an apology by the venue should take into consideration that it could have been much, much worse.

Joe Jankowski,West Babylon

Billy Joel put on a spectacular show, singing his hits for more than three hours, but there was a disaster outside the Coliseum before the show. The private management company limited entrance to the building. With so much money being spent on tickets and parking, would it have killed the company to hire more security people to screen concertgoers faster? Of course, the situation was compounded by a driving rain.

I suggest that Nassau County fire this management company and hire one that knows how to handle capacity crowds.

Lloyd Nadel,Glen Head

Having attended a recent Coliseum event with my family on a similarly rainy night, these revelations were not a surprise. Unreasonably long lines subjected patrons to extensive waits in a downpour due to a lack of security gates. In addition, poor lighting in the parking lot made travel there dangerous for drivers and pedestrians, and the gridlock in the hallway as patrons exited was frightening.

Had an emergency occurred, the result would have been devastating. As much as we enjoyed the concert, it might be a long time before we consider attending another event there. We will pay close attention to the response of management in hopes that these serious issues are addressed.

Maryellen Viola,Massapequa Park

We went to see Elton John at the Coliseum recently and arrived about one hour before the show. The security gates were closed. Personnel just milled about while hundreds of attendees were locked out. This is more than disrespectful for those who arrive early to have a bite to eat and settle in. I imagine that the concessionaires pay a decent fee to be there, but their potential customers were locked out. A “blip” in service at the Coliseum? I don’t believe so. Poor management needs to be addressed.

Anthony Vernola,Centerport

The editorial reminded me of my Coliseum experience attending the Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert on Dec. 20.

After paying $30 to park, we had to stand in line in pouring rain while waiting for personnel to open the security check area, which is outside and unprotected from the weather. We were asked to take off our hats and hoods, open our coats and empty our pockets. We had to put handbags, keys, wallets and mobile phones into trays filled with rainwater. Finally, our tickets were checked and we had just minutes to get food and drink, use the overcrowded bathrooms, get to our seats and enjoy the show in our wet clothes.

Very sad situation!

Philip J. Guarino,Islip Terrace

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