Friday, December 30, 2011

Nassau Coliseum is better than Madison Square Garden

          In the next game on my hockeysee, I went to Nassau Coliseum to see the Islanders play the Calgary Flames.  I admit, I was expecting this post to be all about how it's a dump, especially compared to the world famous Madison Square Garden.  That, of course, was before the MSG Incident in the last post

Look at what we could see from our seats!

I know, it’s difficult to compare front row seats at Nassau Coliseum to the 400 level at MSG, but the fact that the tickets were almost half the price at Nassau makes these comparable.  If the market (admittedly the tickets were resold) believes that on the glass seats for the Islanders against the Flames were worth half as much as obstructed view tickets for the Rangers and Islanders, there must be some reason for it.  

We were so close we could actually see the steam and water on the back of the Zamboni
I can’t see it.  I mean, I know that it was a rivalry game, but that doesn’t justify the inflated prices.  The experience was just so much worse.  The concourse at Nassau was much wider and more hospitable.  There were bathrooms, with, like, a dozen urinals!

This is where the picture of the urinals would be, but I’m not that gross

The collection of places on the concourse was more numerous than its Manhattan counterpart, and it was just less pretentious.  Yeah it has a definite small town, minor league vibe to it, with only one concourse and all, but it just seems so much more humble.  One major gripe, however, was the lack of public transit nearby.  There was only one bus that went to a train station within walking distance, and it ran every 20 minutes, with no additional buses or shuttles for Islanders games.  That’s more on the Long Island Bus system (which hung up on us 3 times when we wanted to know if our Metrocards worked on it), a part of the MTA, than it is on the Islanders.

The opening faceoff
The game, as well, was great.  Exceptional from start to finish.  I even got a puck, thanks to two exceptionally kind Isles fans during practice.  I didn’t get a chance to say anything other than a quick thanks before the pucks started coming again.

Still, there was nothing bad to say about the experience at the game.  The Flames were in town, and the contest got heated quite quickly.  There were many hits all up and down the ice.

There were even a couple fights, too bad they were on the other side of the rink.

The aftermath

There was another great goaltending duel between Evgeni Nabokov and Miikka Kiprusoff (whom I decided to heckle in the third period).  The Flames scored less than two minutes into the game, and I was like “NOOOOO”, but the Islanders held on for pretty much the entire period, then broke through in the second to tie.  Then, in the third, John Tavares scored on a sweet little move (right in front of us) to put the Islanders up for good.  An empty netter sealed the deal.

The entire experience was great.  The feeling is that the team values its fans, it’s like they thank you for coming in the turnstiles (they didn’t, but they do have free programs, which is a plus).  Simply put, if you have the choice, and the time to get out there, go to Nassau instead of MSG, it’s cheaper, more fun, and you’ll be able to see the scoreboard.

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree with your comment that they seem to appreciate the fans more than MSG. It seemed as though MSG was relying completely on their reputation as "the world's most famous arena" and didn't try to impress anyone. All the folks at Nassau went out of their way to ensure that we had a good time.

    I would like to add one more comment about the evening. We went to the Social Sports Kitchen before the game, within walking distance of the Coliseum. Mike (our server) was fantastic, telling us stories about Wayne Chrebet - one of the owners - and finding me a place to recharge my cell phone. The food was excellent, atmosphere was great, and we got free shots by correctly answering 2/3 of the trivia questions on our placement. Highly recommended!