When Stadiums and Arena’s Get Knocked Down our Memories Remain
I was on a mini press junket this past week and the main topic was the Islanders move to Brooklyn. Since that won’t be happening until 2015, I had a chance to explore my feelings about this.
In my lifetime I’ve watched the demise of Shea Stadium, Yankee Stadium, “The Vet”, The Spectrum and soon Nassau Coliseum will join that group. Some of these places represent my childhood, teen years and adult years, which is still ongoing. Since I grew up a Ranger fan on Long Island I didn't think I would care about the “Mausoleum” but I do.
I’ve written about Shea Stadium at length. Do I still miss it? You betcha. Why? Because of the memories, including two Championships but obviously a lot more including concerts. I didn’t include some other stadiums or arena’s that I might have spent a few games at but didn't have an impact on me.
It’s hard to believe that a place full of steel and concrete could have this kind of effect on a person but I called my dad and we reminisced about NC and some of the Nets games we saw there together. We both ended the conversation stating that at the time this was a state of the art venue that just aged horribly. I saw hockey games with my friend and I’m glad I had a chance to do that as well.
The Islanders fans will not have an immediate emotional connection with the Barclay’s center. As a matter of fact it could take years for that to happen and many times winning is the key ingredient to make that happen and that’s something the Islanders have been battling for the last six years most recently.
But winning isn’t the only ingredient. Many Yankees and Mets (some Jets fans as well) fans still don’t love their new stadiums and maybe they will never feel the way they did for the last ballpark. The Yankees moved across the street away from “Hallowed Ground” the Mets lost a lot of tradition in a largely Dodgers themed ballpark.
I can still remember a Ranger-Islander playoff game back in 1984. Glen Hanlon (John Vanbiesbrouck took over as the starter the next season) was actually in net for the Blueshirts and he was facing a great Islanders team (the tail end of their dynasty squad) and Hanlon got the win. Even though the Rangers lost that series 3-2, I was there with some friends who were Islander fans and for that one game it gave me some sway. Just for the record I saw more than a few Islander games as well.
As Hurricane Sandy bears down on South Jersey this article gave me a break from thinking about the 80 MPH winds that might be heading for my neighborhood.
Here are some more Islander memories and thoughts on what went wrong that we covered on Sports Talk NY last night along with Neil Smith.