Venue Facts

Mitchel Field is a former Army/Air Force base located in the center of Nassau County. This 1,200-acre base was shut down in 1960 and declared surplus property by the U.S. Government. Nassau County obtained much of this property from the government in 1961. With the obtainment of Mitchel Field, many proposals were put forth. Some of the recommendations included a civic center, a large central library, residential housing, museum and cultural center. After consideration of these recommendations, the result was to build a 15,000 seat arena (additional seats were added from 1981-1984 that increased the seating capacity to over 18,000). The arena was built at the cost of 32 million dollars and sits on sixty-three acres of Mitchel Field. The building was dedicated to those who had made the supreme sacrifice for their country; hence the name Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

In the beginning...

  • Welton Becket and Associates were the architects and engineers for the arena.
  • The arena was officially opened & dedicated May 29, 1972.
  • Nassau Coliseum has won a number of top awards for arenas, including "Arena of the Year" in 1995.
  • Nassau Coliseum has hosted a number of charitable events including a benefit Mass for the families associated with the World Trade Center Tragedy, Games for the Physically Challenged Awards Banquet, public skates, clothing & food drives and sponsorship of blood drives with the NY Islanders, NY Dragons & Long Island Blood Services.
  • Our annual family shows, including; Disney On Ice, Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, The Wiggles Live, Harlem Globetrotters, Smuckers Star's On Ice, USHRA Monster Jam, Sesame Street Live and more, continue to reach new levels of attendance every year.
  • Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus holds the Coliseum record for most performances. They have performed at the facility each year since 1972. The concert record for most performances is held by the Grateful Dead with 35. Billy Joel is next with 19. In addition, he played 9 sold out shows from January through May - 1998, which is the consecutive concert performance record for a year.

Building Facts...

  • The total square footage of the facility is 409,963.
  • The Coliseum measures 460 feet at its longest point, 340 feet at its widest point and rises 75 feet above the ground. The ice floor sits 20 feet beneath the ground.
  • The indoor height of the arena from the floor to roof is measured at 97 feet.
  • Ten steel trusses, each 323 feet long and 25 feet deep, make the column-free interior possible, while 32 exterior concrete columns support the roof.
  • 450 yards of concrete on a single pour were used to construct the ice floor.
  • A crew of 10 men can make 1 inch of hockey ice measuring 200 feet long by 85 feet wide from a bare floor in 14 hours - this uses 8,500 gallons of water as well.
  • The oval shape building comes equipped with sixty-seven pairs of existing doors, which can disperse a capacity crowd of 16,000 in seven to eight minutes.
  • Among the special features in the construction of the arena are that it has no interior columns and no obstructed sight lines.
  • The arena has 6,800 parking spaces.
  • On the concourse are 12 permanent concession stands and up to 15 portable locations.
  • At the box office, there are 17 ticket windows to accommodate customers.
  • Around the perimeter of the Coliseum are 32 luxury suites.
  • Doolin's Pub & Bistro 1255 can cater up to 250 people together.

Event History...

  • The first event that took place in the arena was a New York Nets Basketball game on February 11, 1972. The Nets played at Nassau Coliseum from 1972-1977 and won American Basketball Association (A.B.A.) Championships in 1974 & 1976. Julius "DR. J" Erving, from Roosevelt, was league MVP in 1974, 75 & 76.
  • Nassau Coliseum holds the distinction of being the next facility Elvis Presley was scheduled to play on August 22, 1977 before his un-timely death a week earlier.
  • Nassau Coliseum was one of only two arenas in 1980 to have the Pink Floyd "The Wall" tour.
  • In August of 1989, Nassau Coliseum staged the Rolling Stones "Steel Wheels" tour rehearsal for the entire month.
  • The Billy Graham Religious Crusade took place over 5 days in the fall of 1990. On September 23, the record attendance for all events ever held at Nassau Coliseum was set with 99,700 people in the arena & Expo Center over the 5-day event.
  • The NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament first & second round games were held here in 1982, 1994, and 2001.
  • Other championship teams of Nassau Coliseum were the 4-time Stanley Cup Champions, NY Islanders from 1980 through 1983. The NY Arrows were also 4-time Major Indoor Soccer League Champions during the 1980's.
  • Nassau Coliseum hosted the 35th National Hockey League All-Star game on February 8, 1983. Wayne Gretzky was the game MVP. Several All-Star game records still stand.
  • Nassau Coliseum was the site for the '98 Goodwill Games gymnastics & figure skating events.
  • Throughout the years, Nassau Coliseum has been home to the NY Nets basketball team, NY Sets tennis, NY Tomahawks & NY Titans lacrosse teams, Long Island Jawz roller hockey team, NY Arrows & Express indoor soccer teams & the NY Dragons Arena Football League team..
  • The arena is currently home to the N.Y. Islanders (NHL) hockey team.