UNIONDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The ribbon has been cut on the new and improved Nassau Coliseum.
The Coliseum underwent a $165 million renovation that includes an aluminum fin-like design on the outside with new seats, concession stands, restrooms and food carts inside.
So begins a new era for an iconic old venue.
“This is an historic day in Nassau County,” County Executive, Ed Mangano said.
As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported, the Coliseum has a new name.
“NYCB Live is the home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum,” Mangano said.
It has a dramatically new look — modern and sleek.
All of the seats inside the Coliseum have been redone in black material.
Eight of the seats will remain empty forever to honor the first responders and others who died on 9/11. The seats will be embroidered with the names of various organizations, the five military branches and first responder agencies.
“There are eight seats that we’ve designated for the five branches of service, as well as first responders, and those we lost on 9/11,” Sr. VP Rebecca D’eloian said.
The $165-million private transformation is the result of years of failed efforts to build a new venue. Lost in the process were the New York Islanders, so amid the oohs and ahhs were sighs of regret.
“Hashtag ‘come back home!’ We’ve got to bring the Islanders back to the barn,” Nassau County Legislator, Laura Curren said.
There’s hope that it will be a magnet.
“It can start a renaissance for development for this whole area. This should be a hub and it can be,” former Senator Alfonse D’Amato said.
Long Island style food is being dished out along with better ambiance.
“We have exceeded our own expectations and look forward to delivering a best in class experience, one that Long Island certainly deserves,” Brett Yormack, CEO Brooklyn Sports and Entertainment, said.
The new aluminum skin that surrounds the old bones.
“The swopping form is sort of a nod to the dunes, the beach, and beach fences,” project architect John Cerone said.
The Coliseum will host a basketball team.
“We are the home of the Long Island Nets, which is a developmental league of the NBA,” she said.
Long Island native Billy Joel will be the first to perform at the refurbished arena, which is officially known as the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum Presented By New York Community Bank.
The Coliseum closed in August 2015 to undergo massive renovations. An open house in the new arena — set for April 8, is already sold out.