Ask the Architect

The new Coliseum, a lot like the old one


Q. We recently attended the first concert at the “new” Nassau Coliseum, and were very disappointed with the way things were done. It seems nothing is really new, except the outside has shiny fins and there is new paint and seating. Have you seen the building? What is your opinion of the changes? The door ticket takers took forever to let us in, and we had a hard time finding and getting to our seats. We felt ripped off by the $40 parking fee, and had to wait more than 45 minutes to get out of the lot. Couldn’t this have been planned better?

A. Fortunately, the performer was Billy Joel and the performance was great! I have been to the new building, which, as you say, is just the old building with what I observed as cosmetic changes, for the most part. I happened to see a Rolling Stone critic’s comments, sent to me by a friend, in which the critic praised Joel (who could’ve played anywhere and pleased his audience) but blasted the venue.

Like so many people commented in the tangle of the slow-moving crowd that evening, the same old same old was like putting lipstick on a pig. The critic described the building as a “sh_t show,” and went on and on about the tightness of the concourse and the way the concessions created more congestion. I echo those sentiments, because, like everyone who stayed to the end, I was pressed against the people around me, like cattle, trying to reach the exit.

From a building-safety point of view, the stairs to the seats are nicely illuminated when all the rest of the lights are dimmed, but nothing else appeared well thought out. The parking fee ambush was unexpected, and will give rise to serious problems for the surrounding neighborhoods as people park farther away, prompting arguments at public hearings for anything else that requires a hearing or Coliseum approval by government. The lack of signage on the exterior will prompt confusion and congestion inside, since people who could walk around the building and enter closer to their seats will want to line up at the door closest to the parking lot to get inside and out of the weather, only to join the slow-moving crowd.

I observed that ticket holders were told to go to the stairs nearest their seats before entering the main arena from the first-floor concourse, instructions that I suggest you ignore, because the sooner you get to the stairs and inside the arena, the less congestion there is. Inside, you can walk around the upper concourse and then up or down to your seats, relieving and avoiding the first floor logjam. I’ll be more cautious next time with parking, and I’ll try to figure out how to spend as little time on the lower-entry concourse as possible. You should, too.

© 2017 Monte Leeper. Readers are encouraged to send questions to, with “Herald question” in the subject line, or to Herald Homes, 2 Endo Blvd., Garden City, NY 11530, Attn: Monte Leeper, architect.