Photos by Sean MacDonald, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.71
Bethpage Federal Credit Union Stadium Gold Coast Rd and Shark Street Brookville, NY 11568
Year Opened: 1966
The New Shark Tank
Long Island University has two campuses: one in Brooklyn, and the other in Brookville, which is known as LIU Post. Up until this year, each school had their own athletic program, with the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds playing in Division I, while the LIU Post Pioneers were in Division II. This past summer, however, the university combined the two programs, and rebranded as the Sharks. With the unification, all programs would now be Division I, including football. This made the Sharks the newest members of the Football Conference Subdivision (FCS), and they became the fifth Division I gridiron team in the greater NYC area, along with Columbia, Wagner, Fordham, and Stony Brook. As such, in order to maintain Stadium Journey’s complete list of Division I football venues, we paid a visit to their gridiron, Bethpage Federal Credit Union Stadium.
Food & Beverage 2
There is a single fixed concession stand offering basic items such as hot dogs, nachos, and pretzels, each for $3. Candy and chips are $2, the same price as bottles of soda (only Coke, Diet Coke, and Sprite). Coffee, hot chocolate, and tea are also $2, while Powerade is $3. There are also vending machines inside the Pratt Recreation Center with a larger variety of drink (Coke Zero for example) that is also 25 cents cheaper. During homecoming, food trucks are located outside the stadium where you can get something a bit more substantial such as grilled cheese sandwiches. There is no evidence that these trucks would be at every home game. Alcohol is not available inside the stadium.
Outside the stadium, there is an active tailgate scene as well as a small amusement park with 3 or 4 rides. Again, I believe this was a special occasion for the homecoming game, but it did add to the festivities. You walk through a small gate to get to the stadium itself. There are two seating stands, but only one was in use, specifically the one behind the Sharks bench, which is somewhat protected from the sun. There is no covering on either stand, so if it is raining, you will need a poncho or umbrella. The middle three sections are chair backs, while the rest of the seating area is general admission. Rosalie Nuti Memorial Park at the north end of the field has several tables and chairs for fans who want to relax away from the crowd, and is a good place for kids to expend some energy.
You can also stand near the end zone here if you prefer that vantage point. There is a dance team at one end, and cheerleaders at the other, which makes the GA sections a bit livelier. There were a few promotions such as a potato sack race for kids, but as this was an FCS game not on television, very little dead time. On a beautiful autumn day, this is a great place to spend a few hours watching football.
The stadium is located on the campus of LIU Post, which is in the town of Brookville on Long Island, about 25 miles east of New York City. The Steinberg Art Museum is on campus and is open from 11-3 on Saturdays up until Columbus Day.
The closest hub is next to the Greenvale Long Island Railroad (LIRR) Station, which is about 3 miles west. Here you can find a few pubs and eateries such as the Barefoot Peddler. Another mile west is the Nassau County Museum of Art, which has a nice outdoor sculpture garden that is ideal on a sunny afternoon.
There are no hotels close to campus and you would be best advised to find lodging that suits your other reasons for visiting New York.
In general, there is nothing within walking distance of the campus, so a car is necessary if you want to explore the area.
The game I attended was only the Sharks second home game in Division I, but there was a crowd of nearly 5,000 on hand to celebrate homecoming. This was double the showing for their first game. Fans were knowledgeable and respectful and having a good time despite their team getting blown out. It will take some time to see if they can maintain this level of support as the team will struggle for their first few seasons in FCS.
Getting here in a car from NYC is fairly straightforward, as you will take the Long Island Expressway to Glen Cove Road, go north to Northern Boulevard, and then east to the campus. It’s only 25 miles but it will take at least 45 minutes on a Saturday morning. There will be staff on hand to guide you to the parking lots, which are free. Get there 3 hours early if you wish to tailgate.
If you are limited to transit, the Nassau County NICE bus is your only option. The N20h bus from Hicksville or Great Neck LIRR stations is the one to catch, but with limited runs on weekends, you will need to plan your trip in advance. It is possible to walk the 3 miles from Greenvale, but this is not recommended. Uber or Lyft do pick up on campus and a ride to Hicksville is about $15.
Once inside, there is no problem moving about the stadium, or waiting for concessions or restrooms.
Return on Investment 4
General admission tickets are $10, with the chair backs going for an extra $5. Coupled with the cheap eats and free parking, this is a very affordable afternoon for Division I football and a great way to escape the city for a while.
The Pratt Recreation Center is to the west of the stadium and includes several display cases with trophies, including some commemorating national titles in Division II women’s lacrosse. Another point for the hard ticket, which shows the two helmets atop a background of shark fins, along with the date and a unique number. Every school should endeavor to provide similar souvenirs to their fans.
The unification of LIU’s athletic programs was a welcome surprise as it resulted in another Division I football program in the area. Few sports fans visiting NYC will bother to make the trip to Brookville, but that is their loss as the experience is well worth the trip. As the team gets better, expect the overall game day presentation to improve as well, making a game at the Shark Tank a Saturday afternoon to remember.