By Daniel Friedman
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After 43 years, the Islanders are leaving Nassau Coliseum behind for the glitzier Barclays Center. The Coliseum will be without a primary tenant, which poses some obvious issues. But it is not the only sports venue in the region to experience this type of thing.
Here are seven historic ballparks and arenas that New York teams have left behind:
1. Polo Grounds
With the exception of the Dodgers, every New York baseball or football team called the Polo Grounds home at some point or another. It opened for business in 1890, closed in 1963 and was demolished a year later, after the expansion New York Metropolitans left for new digs in Flushing.
2. Ebbets Field
I often wonder, if the Dodgers had remained in Brooklyn, what it would be like to see Ebbets Field in the flesh. Citi Field pays homage to the old ballpark, but surely it is not the same. After Walter O’Malley failed to convince Robert Moses to sell him the land that Barclays Center currently occupies, he packed up the Dodgers and shipped ’em off to Los Angeles. Ebbets Field opened its doors in 1913, was abandoned in 1957 and demolished in 1960.
3. Original Yankee Stadium
Often referred to as “The House That Ruth Built,” the Stadium was grand, and it was really the first of its kind, the first to be built on such a large scale. The Yankees’ history and list of accomplishments that were achieved in that ballpark speaks for themselves. It first opened in 1923, and was demolished between 2008 and 2010.
4. Madison Square Garden III
Before the Rangers and Knicks moved to the MSG we see today, there were three previous versions of the arena. This was the third, and it was located on Eighth Avenue, between 49th and 50th Streets. It opened in 1925 and was demolished in 1968, when the current-day Garden replaced it.
5. Island Garden
The Island Garden was located on — you guessed it — Long Island, in suburban West Hempstead. It was opened in 1957, and was home to the ABA’s New York Nets for a few years before the team moved to the much more viable Nassau Coliseum. It was demolished in 1973. Today, there’s a shopping center and youth basketball facility on the site.
6. Shea Stadium
Moses wanted the Dodgers to move to Flushing, but that was not to be. Enter William Shea, the man who brought National League ball back to New York. The Mets needed a place to play, and this site was deemed to be the spot for their new home. Shea Stadium opened in 1964 and, though not as storied as Yankee Stadium, produced its own share of great memories. Shea was demolished between 2008 and 2009, as the Mets moved next door to Citi Field.
7. Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Opened in 1972, the Nassau Coliseum quickly became home to one of the greatest sports franchises of all time. The Islanders started out horrible, but made the playoffs within three years and were a Stanley Cup champion by the eighth. They won four consecutive titles and 19 straight playoff series. The Nets played there, too. They won a pair of ABA championships during their Coliseum tenure. After 43 years, the Islanders are moving to Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The building is likely to be renovated and scaled down to attract a minor league tenant.