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Author: Subject: Nassau Coliseum - the old barn

A Peach Supreme

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  posted on 4/24/2015 at 09:30 AM
With the Islanders in a do or die situation tomorrow, I'm cranking the ABB show there from 73 and the Dead's Go to Nassau 80 and Wake Up Find Out - 1990 - the famous Branford Marsalis set.

This could be the last hockey game there. Hopefully not !

The place is a dump but it's my dump. I believe shows and events will carry on there in some capacity. Possibly a renovation but the Islanders are done there after this season. Some great memories are creeping in to my brain.

I was actually born down the road while the ABB were playing there on 4/30/73. I always thought it could of had something to do with my obsession with the band. By time I was old enough to see the ABB, it was 89 and the beacon was the place and Nassau too big.

memories that stand out. 3/28/90 - Dead. This show would be talked about more if it wasnt' for Branford sitting in the next night. It's on the Spring 90 II box set and it's really a unique set for the time. I was there but more over whelmed by the scene in general as a 16 year old to really know the nuances in the music yet. Musically by far the best dead show I attended. Saw them several more times there but nothing musically comes close to 90. Although I have a clear memory of Garcia playing the wolf guitar the next year with a great Scarlet/Fire and Rubin and Cheriess which was rare.

Clapton 90 - Journey Man tour. Just a blistering show. Loud and aggressive E.C. Bluesy and playing all the classics. Friday night, huge crew of friends on a summer night piled into once of those old station wagons. Great memories.

Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Ragged Glory tour 91. Loud, incredible stuff with the live rust stage set up. Didn't we listen to Harvest on the way to the show ? This is certainly different !! Sat last row of the floor. Actually leaning up against the hockey boards. They were up since it was winter.

Any other memories of this relic of an arena ?


True Peach

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  posted on 4/24/2015 at 10:07 AM
Never went but enjoyed reading your recollections
Candlestick Park is currently being torn down, that too came to mind when I read your post
but yes "ABB" has come right to mind ever since the 5/1/73 release (along w/those great teams w/Bryan Trottier, Gillies, Bossy, Nystom, Denis Potvin, Glen Resch/Billy Smith etc)

I Hated It when our Eddie Westfall went there in the 1972 expansion draft tho

Win or lose NYI has had great final-year run in the ol barn


"I know y'all came to hear our songs, we like to play 'em for you but without Gregg here it's really hard for us to do. He sings & plays so much & does such a good job. He's really sick, 103* He might've come, but no one would let him." Duane


Maximum Peach

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  posted on 4/24/2015 at 10:58 AM
I was at the last show in Philly's JFK. The Grateful Dead shut that gothic beauty down in 1989. It was a stellar show that has been preserved on the "Crimson, White, and Indigo" release.

The stadium had already been condemned. It was a really hot Summer day. The pipes in the bathrooms had burst and water was flooding the corridors. The stage and light show were electric and day-glow and so was most of the crowd. That was a great farewell to the stadium.

What are your feelings about the Islanders moving to Brooklyn tommars? By many accounts it should be a fine upgrade.

Check out this article: -brooklyn-review-preseason

When I heard the news that the New York Islanders would be moving two counties over in 2015, finally ending the franchise's tenure at the Nassau Coliseum, I had mixed feelings. It was the same feeling I had when I moved out of my childhood home.

It's hard leaving the only home you've ever known behind. But unlike the run-down studio apartment I moved into, the Islanders are trading up with their move to the Barclays Center.

Friday night's preseason game there was my first venture to the Brooklyn arena, so here are a few comparisons to the Coliseum that stood out to me:

1. At the Door: First Impressions
Barclays Center: Who's ready for some hockey?

The first thing you see after you have your ticket scanned at the Barclays Center (as long as you're looking straight ahead) is the scoreboard hanging over the ice. To me it was honestly the equivalent of a kid walking down Main Street at the Magic Kingdom and getting his first glimpse of Cinderella Castle.

After years of not being able to see any part of the game area until the usher was showing me to my seat, seeing the scoreboard upon entering the arena got me pumped up. It didn't hurt seeing Shannon Hogan sitting in our view of the scoreboard or the Foxwoods Bar just off to the right, either.

Nassau Coliseum: Which way to the cafeteria?

As excited as I am to walk through the doors of the Nassau Coliseum to see Islanders hockey, I can't help but feel like I've entered a high school hallway. The colors are drab, the space cramped, and nothing catches your eye. I don't even get the feeling I'm at a hockey game until I walk up the ramp towards my seating section.

2. Concession and Facilities

Barclays Center: How am I supposed to decide what to eat from all these choices?

I was shocked by how many different selections of food a fan has to choose from at Barclays. You can eat good ol' stadium food, barbecue, Mexican, Cuban, Italian, deli...hell, they even have the Boomer and Carton Kitchen, whatever kind of food that is.


Yet coming from the Coliseum, the best part about the food stands themselves is the fact they have ropes and organized lines. No more wild lines out into the middle of the hall.

The bars stand out at Barclays. The Foxwoods Bar right when you enter the arena is a welcome sight. There's also the 1876 Budweiser Bar, which has three handfuls of beers on tap. My favorite may have been the Stoli bar located on the main concourse, with possibly every flavor of Stoli vodka ever made.

Need to use the restroom? Well, there are plenty of them around. And even if there is a line to get into the restroom, the Barclays restrooms have wide open entrances, sans doors. If you've ever waited on a Nassau Coliseum restroom line, you'll appreciate that fact.

Nassau Coliseum: Where does the concession line end and the through traffic begin? And do I HAVE to touch that door?

The mission one undertakes to get something to nosh on at the Coliseum is a formidable one. Your first obstacle is trying to find the end of the line at the concession stand, as they tend to just run together when you get toward the back of the lines.

Your next problem is having to let all of the through traffic pass in front of you as you wait to order your food. As for food selection, they have increased their options in recent years, but wraps and pizza still don't match up with what Barclays is bringing to the table.

As for making a pit stop, who doesn't love when it's their turn to hold open the disgusting door that leads into a Coliseum restroom? It's almost as good of a feeling as when you realize that the line for the restroom is wrapping around the winding Coliseum hallway, ensuring a double-digit-minute wait to use the potty.

The Coliseum does have a couple of decent bars. Doolin's Pub is nice enough, and Knucklehead's has a decent selection of spirits at their bar. But again, not on the same level as the Barclays Center.

3. Game Time

Barclays Center: This is what craftsmanship from the 2000's feels like?


The first thing you notice is that the arena as a whole (seats, scoreboards, etc) are appealing to the eye. Then you quickly realize that the arena is setup like a Picasso. The ice is off-center with the seats, the scoreboard is off-center with the ice, and each end of the arena has points and cutouts where seating sections and luxury boxes exist.

The weird layout causes some sight line issues, but for the most part if you're seated in 85 percent of the arena, viewing the ice is not be a problem. Truthfully, even in the Coliseum, if you're seated farther towards one end, you'll have an issue seeing what's going on in the opposite corner.

The atmosphere as a whole seems a lot more sophisticated. Children hockey players who had issues skating on ice and the Ice Girls were your intermission entertainment. The arena didn't seem to get as loud as the Coliseum does, but it was a preseason game. I'm wondering if rocking out the Barclays could be a problem in the future.

The championship banners were there, as was a Jay-Z "8 straight sellouts" banner which just seemed like a mockery of Billy Joel's Coliseum banner.

Nassau Coliseum: When does Will Ferrell from Semi Pro pop out and fight a bear?

It's 2014, but a game at the Nassau Coliseum still feels kind of like 1991. It feels more like sitting on bleachers around a hockey rink than it does the plush, comfortable seating of modern arenas. The exact oval shape of the stands and single concourse allows for good viewing of the whole ice from most seats, the oft-noted "great sight lines" that are part of the Coliseum's calling card.

What Barclays Center offers in pizazz, the Coliseum brings in shenanigans. The contests, the songs, the intermission entertainment may all be oldies, but not so much goodies.

What will most be missed about the Coliseum is the noise. When going well, the Coliseum sounds like its going to explode with pro-Islander chatter, and hearing what's going on on the ice is always a plus.

4. Overall


What the Islanders fan is gaining in the move to Barclays Center far outweighs what we're leaving behind.

There are no more Tuscan Dairy goals. No more Stiffler's mom doing commercial break interviews. Gold Hair Gary isn't banging on the glass at opposing players, either. However Stencil Sign Steve was sitting a few rows below me in Section 6 of the Barclays Center, bringing a tiny piece of the Coliseum with him.

Brooklyn also isn't where the Islanders won their four Stanley Cups. But with only three players on the Isles roster who were actually alive when they won that last Cup, maybe it's time to move on.

The Nassau Coliseum will always be the Dynasty's home.

Maybe it's a good thing that this team is about to move into a home of their own.


Capitalism will always survive, because socialism will be there to save it.

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A Peach Supreme

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  posted on 4/24/2015 at 11:39 AM
that's actually a good article and I agree with most of it. I work in the city and pay my train fare monthly so I could go to games on the way home, have some drinks and not worry about driving. The coliseum hits people up for $ 15.00 to park so that's a win there in some respects.
I have heard that the sight lines are off and there's no seats behind the goal in brooklyn which is a travesty but I bet they figure something out by time the 15/16 season starts.

The main thing that will be missed is the noise. The ceiling is so low and all new arenas seem like caverns. I think the people really affected will be the fans way out east on L.I. They'll still be fans but I bet they lose some season ticket holders from out there.

Overall, I like Brooklyn and will have a pretty good time there I'm sure.

One thing the article doesn't get into is all the nasty Nassau politics that went down involving losing the team. It's true, you really can't tax the people there any more but the owner offered to use private money to build a new coliseum and it got shot down. Granted he wanted something insanely too big but it could of been worked out.

Now that the franchise is entering what seems to be a competitive era, I wouldn't be surprised if they go back in a few years.


Maximum Peach

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  posted on 4/24/2015 at 11:47 AM
Using public money to build stadiums and arenas is an easy policy to oppose. There is a lot to resent when the owners get tax money and tax breaks and then charge the people who funded the project $9.50 for a beer and $14 for a crappy Papa John's pizza.

It seems to me they price fix. I thought that was against the law.


Capitalism will always survive, because socialism will be there to save it.

Ralph Nader's Father


Extreme Peach

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  posted on 4/24/2015 at 01:36 PM
I saw one show at Nassau back in 72/73 as it was 1 1/2 hour drive for me from upstate NY.

It was Ten Years After supported by the Edgar Winter Group, when Ronnie Montrose, was in the band and the opener was Ramatam which had ex members of Iron Butterfly , Mitch Mitchell and an amazing female guitar player April Lawton.

Still remember April Lawton doing gymnastics while playing her guitar and Edgar Winter dressed all in white with dayglow finger nail polish just glowing in the blacklight while he played Frankenstein with an organ strapped to him.

They used to have amazing lineups for concerts in those days. Always quality bands.


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Maximum Peach

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  posted on 4/24/2015 at 01:44 PM
I have a story.

Back in the 80's I traveled a lot for work and would spend a fair amount of time researching shows I could go to in whatever city I was traveling to. Some times would hear about shows after getting to the city and just show up and hopefully get a ticket.

March 24, 1988 I was in Philadelphia and had pre-purchased a ticket to see Frank Zappa at the Spectrum Theater. I showed up at the venue that evening only to find out from a sign on the door that the show was cancelled. The parking lot was empty, I evidently was the only one who didn't already know this.

Somehow I found out that he was going to be at the Nassau Coliseum, somewhere on Long Island the next night.

I lived in Jacksonville Florida at the time, had no idea where Nassau Coliseum was located, had never been to New York City, let alone Long Island.

The next night, armed with my rental car map of Philadelphia, when flipped over, showed a view of the Northeast and NYC with this long, well, island out to the right, I headed up.

After MUCH wandering, I somehow stumbled onto the place, late, but got to see Zappa.

Drove back to Philadelphia that night after SOMEHOW navigating through Manhattan, the Lincoln Tunnel - to this day I could not tell you which route I took. Again, only that darn rental car map as my guide, which did not include a detailed view of NYC.


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A Peach Supreme

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  posted on 4/24/2015 at 02:09 PM
am not sure where the OLD BARN came from. Until the past month, never heard Nassau Colliseum every called the OLD BARN but whatever.

I lived in Nassau county for most of my adult life until we moved back to Manhattan last year. I was always a Rangers fan so only ventured there for a few Ranger games, some Sesame Street when my kids were little and a few concerts.

The parking lot was always a great party atmosphere but the arena was a real dump. My highlight was passing the CPA exam in the Nassau coliseum in 1975. I remember taking the test in the basement and trying to stay in the arena because the Islanders were in the playoffs and playing a big game that night. I failed but had a great time trying to avoid the security. LOL


World Class Peach

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  posted on 4/24/2015 at 03:19 PM
Grew up on LI, saw many great shows there and also more than a few hockey games. I am a lifelong Ranger fan and Islander hater. In the early days, I used to get free tix from my Mom's boss who had season tickets. I was at the very 1st hockey game there (exhibition game against the Rangers)

Among the concerts I saw there:
Deep Purple / Savoy Brown 74
Allman Brothers / Grinderswitch 74
EC 74
Led Zeppellin 75
One to One ABB/ MTB 76
GD spring 81 (probably the best GD shows I saw)

my all time favorite Nassau Coliseum moment was at an Islander game in 73. They were playing the California Golden Seals. In the middle of the game, they announced that the Viet Nam war peace accord was signed and that the war was essentially over (It ended for real in 75 but we didn't know that then). The place went nuts.




Maximum Peach

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  posted on 4/24/2015 at 03:46 PM
76--the Allmans one to one concert with MTB opening(Dickey joined them!!!)

83 & 84 Dead shows...we stayed at the hotel overlooking the parking lot...some great shows both years...84 had a blow it outta the park show.

lots more shows there...The Eagles in 76...i think Neil Young...


Peach Pro

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  posted on 4/24/2015 at 04:34 PM
I saw a lot of great shows at the Nassau Coliseum during the late 70s early 80s, CDB, Outlaws, 38 Special and the final show of the original Marshall Tucker Band, April 1980. Tucker did two nights at Nassau, then went back home to SC where Tommy Caldwell passed away in a jeep accident. I sold beer during the Islander Stanley Cup years where the Islander/Ranger games were always crazy. Good times


"I must have gone through 10 million in my career. Part of the loot went for gambling, part went for booze and part went for women. The rest I spent foolishly"......George Raft


Ultimate Peach

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  posted on 4/26/2015 at 10:13 AM
A savage game played there yesterday and maybe the lights will remain on for a little while longer.


"What we do in life echoes in eternity."


Sublime Peach

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  posted on 4/27/2015 at 11:54 AM
A savage game played there yesterday and maybe the lights will remain on for a little while longer.

Game 7 tonight, going to be great!!!


Hey Yankees, you can take your crappy trophy's and shove them right up your asses!


Peach Master

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  posted on 4/28/2015 at 07:38 PM
I've never had the pleasure to take in an event at the Coliseum, but the Blue Oyster Cult Live Album recorded there is one of my favorites of all time.

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