NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Starting next season, Brooklyn’s Barclays Center will present its own unique environment for Islanders fans, but there are many who believe it will never top the Nassau Coliseum experience.
As we close the book on the Isles’ 43-year run in Nassau County, it’s time to look back on some of the things that fans will have a hard time forgetting about the “old barn” off Hempstead Turnpike.
Here are 12 things we’ll miss about the only home the Islanders have ever known:
1. The tailgating
It rivaled what the Jets and Giants did at Giants Stadium and still do at MetLife Stadium. The food, the spirits, the camaraderie; the only place to eat burgers, bagels and lasagna outdoors in February.
2. The car horns
After a win, producing the “Let’s Go Islanders” chant on the steering wheel took some mad skills.
3. The proximity to, well, everywhere
The Coliseum was always an easy drive for anyone on Long Island (as far as miles go; traffic is always another story), and was a manageable commute from most places north of the bridges.
4. The press box
Next time you look at the moon, think about the ordeal reporters endured trying to get from the Coliseum roof to the locker room area in the arena’s bowels in the minutes following the end of a game.
5. Long Island Marriott
The establishments inside always served their purpose both pregame and postgame.
6. The goal horn
It’s probably going with the team to Barclays Center, but it had a very distinctive sound as it reverberated off the walls and roof of the “old barn.”
7. Sparky and the Ice Girls
The original mascot of the New York Dragons of the Arena Football League became a fun distraction for young and old at Islanders games. The young skaters did their jobs with enthusiasm and shot more than their fair share of free shirts into the crowd.
8. Paul Cartier, organist extraordinaire
That unique sound that so many arenas have abandoned over the years was always a staple at the Coliseum. The hope is Paul will resume his duties next season at Barclays Center.
9. The sightlines
Yes, the Coliseum was small and antiquated but there simply wasn’t a bad seat in the house, and that includes way up high under the overhang.
10. The sound
Just in case you forgot, there will always be this.
11. The history
The banners and retired numbers speak for themselves.
12. The fans
Islanders fans remain the most loyal in North American team sports. They’ve put up with more garbage than most, but never cease to amaze when the moment calls for them. It remains to be seen how many regulars will make their way to Brooklyn next fall.