No matter where it is, the land always comes to embody its people. The same holds true for the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, which sits upon the legendary soil of the Hempstead Plains, also known as Mitchel Field.
From the American Revolution and until the 1960s, the land beneath the Nassau Coliseum served militaristic purposes; this changed when the federal government sold the property to Nassau County in 1961.
The Nassau Coliseum subsequently opened its doors in May 1972 at Mitchel Field, shifting the cherished terrain below from the foundation for a military facility to an entertainment venue featuring live concerts and professional sports.
The Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum: Its location is legendary
During the American Revolution, troops trained in the vicinity of the Hempstead Plains, safe from British interference. The land was similarly used again in the Civil War and the Spanish-American War. Charles Lindbergh took off from this very location in the Spirit of St. Louis on his historic transatlantic flight in 1927. John Mitchel, former Mayor of New York City, was killed during World War One military exercises and was commemorated by the naming of Mitchel Field.
Perhaps the Hempstead Plains greatest role as national protector of domestic liberty came in World War Two when it was utilized as a strategic Air Force Base that served many significant high commands.
The motivation behind calling the arena in Uniondale the “Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum” was intended to honor the fallen who took their final steps on the Hempstead Plains before going into battle.
A shift from military to entertainment
With the Coliseum opened for business, a different type of land use took hold. No more marching. Instead, music and the sounds of cheering fans occupied the space that was once filled with musket fire and the din of airplanes.
Dr. J, the Nets, the Islanders, the Allman Brothers, the Grateful Dead, Billy Joel, Billy Graham, Pink Floyd, Bruce Springsteen on New Year’s Eve, professional wrestling and countless other noteworthy sports and entertainment events have taken place at the Nassau Coliseum.
The dirt below the Nassau Coliseum still embodies its people
The Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum continues to represent the vitality of Long Island’s past, present and future residents. It deserves to remain in its rightful place, to forever endure atop the Hempstead Plains, precisely where it belongs.