STJ professor publishes book on the legendary coliseum

Nicholas Hirshon, professor and graduate of St. John’s University brings the Long Island monument to life in his new book, “Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.” He writes extensively concerning not only the Islanders but the history of the coliseum and the memorable concerts and sporting events held there. Hirshon incorporates specific detail with lots of photographs dispersed throughout the book.

He took some time off of his busy day working at St. John’s and reporting forThe Daily News to discuss his new book.


Torch: What provoked you to write about the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum?

Hirshon:When I was a student at St. John’s, I took a class called “Stadium and Arena Management.” It was taught by Lance Elder who is also the general manager at the Coliseum. Every day in class he would relate anecdotes about what used to happen such as when he saw Madonna backstage and when he met Billy Joel and all of these stories that made me think, “this building has a very interesting history.”

Also, growing up I was an Islanders fan and I went to the Coliseum all the time. It was really interesting when he would talk about the Coliseum. It was nice to know there was someone else just as interested as I was and that it had a history beyond just hockey and all the other sports and concerts.


Torch: How much research went into creating this book?

Hirshon: A lot of research. Not much has been written about it before. So unlike Yankee Stadium, Shea Stadium or Madison Square Garden, there was really nowhere to start. With the Coliseum, I had to go into the archives and find articles fromNewsDayand a few things from the Times, but New York City newspapers don’t cover the Coliseum that much. So it was really like starting from scratch. But it made it fun and challenging that I didn’t have a lot to work with.


Torch: How did you juggle writing this book, your career at St. John’s and reporting for the Daily News?

Hirshon: It’s rough. I got the deal to write the book last summer. Then a few months later I got the call from St. John’s to teach here and everything was coming together at once. My first semester at St. John’s started in the middle of January. I had a class at LaGuardia Community College and I was working four days a week at TheDaily News. But it was really difficult with 14 hour days pretty much everyday. There was no such thing as weekends, they all just blurred into one.


Torch: Have you published any other books?

Hirshon: This is the first time I’ve had a book published. It’s a unique experience. I don’t know what is going to happen and how it is going to sell. It’s the first time I’m doing all of these things. People are asking me to sign it which is awkward and weird and now I even have to think about what I’m going to write when people ask me. But it’s still an exciting experience and it’s nice that the book is about something that I actually researched. I attended so many events there and the Coliseum is really something that I grew up with.