When the Long Island Coliseum Falls
On the eve of the New York Islanders’ departure for the hated big city, one super-fan looks back fondly at a hockey arena that doubled as a point of pride for NYC’s much-mocked suburbs.
Photos courtesy Nicholas Hirshon
On game days, the narrow concourse that wraps around Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum feels like rush hour on the Long Island Rail Road. Thousands of people are trying to grab beers or take leaks or buy pucks during intermission, before the New York Islanders skate out for the next period. Beer bellies press against the backs of fretful parents who desperately hold onto their young children. There is no shortcut through the dense crowd, no escape from the masses. There is only shuffling.
A lot of folks have grumbled about the jammed concourse, but I’ve always embraced it. There isn’t a lot of space to check smart phones, so visitors are forced to soak in perhaps the most provincial experience in the National Hockey League – the “Lawn Guyland” accents, the cries of Newsday pitchmen, the sight through the glass of seagulls on the plaza and drivers slogging through the notorious Long Island commute. As I walked through the concourse for perhaps the final t…