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  • Richard Smith

Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum - Long Island Nets

Photos by Richard Smith, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.29

Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum 1255 Hempstead Turnpike Uniondale, NY 11553

Year Opened: 1972 Capacity: 13,500


Back On Long Island

Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum was opened in 1972 on part of the site of Mitchel Field, a former Army and Air Force base. The Cradle of Aviation Museum, Mitchel Athletic Complex, Nassau Community College, Hofstra University, and a Lockheed facility are also situated on the old base grounds.

The arena was the home for the New York Islanders of the National Hockey League from 1972 to 2015 and the New York Nets of the American Basketball Association and National Basketball Association from 1972 to 1977. The arena will also be a part time home of the Islanders again as they transition back away east from Brooklyn’s Barclay Center into a new facility at Belmont Park.

The facility went through a massive renovation between 2015 and 2017 to bring the old facility up to modern standards, although it did lower seating capacity. There are also many other changes to the facility that the guests may not see, such as better suites and dressing rooms for concerts and other events.

Billy Joel performed the arena’s final pre-renovation concert, as well as the first in the newly renovated facility.

In 2017, the venue became the new home of the Brooklyn Nets’ NBA G League team, the Long Island Nets. Previously the “baby” Nets played at the home of the NBA, Brooklyn Nets, The Barclay Center.

Food & Beverage 3

There are a few food stands not open during Nets games but the offerings are good and scattered around the concourse. Pricing is typical New York city arena prices.

Vincent’s Clam Bar, Umberto’s and the Blue Moon Beer Garden are some of the options available to fans. The Beer Garden can also serve as a nice meeting spot.

Atmosphere 3

Teams in the G League are not going to fill major arenas. But even with that fact known, teams in this league offer a great experience for fans.

The game I attended had the Nets gymnastic teams and other fan operations from the major league team to help the fan atmosphere. Much of the experience for fans is similar to most minor league team operations.

The newly remodeled arena is a very nice facility to watch a game. It is an old school facility at heart and has a single concourse and grandstands that surround the court. It was designed for hockey so there are some end seats further away from the basketball court. For the Nets, only the lower section of seats are used.

Neighborhood 3

The Coliseum is centrally located in Uniondale, part of the Town of Hempstead and about 20 minutes from the New York City border in Queens.

Walking around the “neighborhood” is not an option. If you’re attending a game at the Coliseum, hundreds of good restaurants are in the area. The Roosevelt Fields Mall is just two miles away while the campus of Hofstra University is right next door. The Cradle of Aviation Museum is just a mile away in Garden City. Considered one of the top aviation museums in the country, it was built on the site of the former Mitchel and Roosevelt Field airfields (Roosevelt Field is where Charles Lindbergh departed New York en route to Paris in 1927).

Giulio Cesare Restaurant‎ (18 Ellison Avenue, Westbury, NY 11590) is about three miles from the Coliseum and features fine Italian food. The Long Island Marriott, which is on the Coliseum grounds, has a restaurant offering good fare and a great bar menu.

Fans 2

The Nets are trying very hard to get families and youth teams out to the games. That is a great direction as these fans are the way to fill the venue.

The more hardcore basketball fans should want to watch the young and upcoming players, but the venue seemed to be lacking them. I think that is more indicative of the overall G League experience, than an issue with the Nets.

Access 4

The Coliseum is centrally located for fans traveling by car, located on Hempstead Turnpike in Uniondale, just off the Meadowbrook Parkway (which connects Parkways from both shores of Long Island conveniently named the Northern State Parkway and Southern State Parkway).

Parking is plentiful and close to the building and only costs $5 for Long Island Nets games.

However, the building is difficult to reach by public transportation. The Coliseum is about 15 minutes from world famous Jones Beach, and convenient (at least by car) to as much shopping as one could possibly muster.

Return on Investment 5

Tickets start at around $12 and go up to around $50. There are suites, party options and sideline seats that can go for more. I would also expect to find ticket options plentiful from local groups attending games. Parking is $5.

The overall value for attending a Long Island Nets game is very good.

Extras 4

The wood panels added along the arena level has turned a facility not known for its beauty into an arena with a very cool looking style.

The food stands along the concourse are part of a programs called “Long Island Taste.” This program has a stated goal “to provide a culinary program with a familiar local flavor, ranging from recently launched operations that have built buzz with their modern twist on retro classics to the tradition-rich institutions that have shaped the local dining scene and become synonymous with Long Island.” It is a unique approach to food operations that will show over time if it is a success.

Check out the Billy Joel banner commemorating his many sold out appearances at what is often considered his home arena.

The ABA Championship banners, as well as the Julius “Dr. J” Erving banner, show the hstory of this venue quite well.

Final Thoughts

This is not the Nassau Coliseum that many people remember. The newly remodeled venue, and its smaller capacity has transformed this into a unique venue for Long Island.

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