Friday, December 14, 2012

Veteran's Memorial Coliseum (New Haven Coliseum), 89 George Street, New Haven, CT

Capacity 11171

The New Haven Coliseum was a sports-entertainment arena located in downtown New Haven, Connecticut. Construction began in 1968 and was completed in 1972.

The arena's formal name was Veterans Memorial Coliseum, but most locals simply referred to it as "the Coliseum."

The Coliseum was built to replace the New Haven Arena, New Haven's prior indoor sports and entertainment venue. The Coliseum, as well as the neighboring K of C building, was designed by the architects Kevin Roche / John Dinkeloo & Associates. One interesting aspect of the arena's design was that the parking garage was built on top of the actual Coliseum structure; this was necessitated by a high water table in the area which made it overly difficult to construct sub-surface parking facilities. Though an interesting solution, this design was not very popular in the marketplace because of the quarter-mile helical ramps required to access the parking. Other features of the design, such as street storefronts and an exhibition hall, were never completed.

Neil Young performed here on January 25, 1973.

During the 1980s, the structure of the parking garages had deteriorated to the point where large canvas panels had to be attached to the outside to catch pieces of concrete that would occasionally drop off onto the sidewalk below. Renovations were made to correct that problem. The city shut down the facility after concluding that it was a drain on city coffers. However, the city did not hold any public hearings, referendum votes, or conduct any surveys, and several groups, local stakeholders, and the Coalition to Save Our Coliseum mounted a campaign to save and renovate the Coliseum, to no avail. Others in the community supported the plan to demolish the arena. Despite Mayor DeStefano's plan to close and demolish the building within six months, it ultimately took more than four years.
Actual demolition work began in late October 2005 with removal of most of the arena area.

At 7:50 a.m. on January 20, 2007, after years of wrangling and delay, the Coliseum was finally imploded, using more than 2,000 pounds of explosive. It was said that the implosion could be heard all the way to Meriden and Northford.
As it came down, a massive cloud of dust and smoke covered the surrounding area, but blew away quickly toward the shoreline. Upwards of 20,000 people watched from the nearby Temple Street Garage and other buildings, and residents of nearby apartments were evacuated. The two helical ramps were not imploded, and were subsequently destroyed by conventional methods.

The city has tentative plans to replace the Coliseum with a new downtown/Long Wharf redevelopment plan,[2] including a relocated Long Wharf Theatre and a new campus for Gateway Community College.

A temporary 400-space parking lot opened on the former Coliseum site on December 4, 2007, but plans are advancing to redevelop the site with a mix of offices, apartments, and retail space.(1)

Jerry performed here on
5/5/77 Grateful Dead (New Haven Coliseum)
5/10/78 Grateful Dead (New Haven Coliseum)
11/25/78 Grateful Dead
"Grateful Dead were set up at the Veteran's Memorial Coliseum in New Haven, CT on November 25, but Bob Weir and Mickey Hart had to come onstage and announce that Garcia was sick, and that the show would be rescheduled."(1)

1/17/79 Grateful Dead (New Haven Coliseum)
"This was the show they played to make-up the performance where everyone got in to the hall, and then Bobby announced that Jerry had pneumonia and couldn't play."(3)

10/25/79 Grateful Dead (New Haven Coliseum)
5/11/81 Grateful Dead (New Haven Coliseum)
5/12/81 Grateful Dead (New Haven Coliseum)
6/17/82 Jerry Garcia Band (Veteran's Memorial Coliseum)
9/23/82 Grateful Dead (New Haven Coliseum)
4/22/83 Grateful Dead (New Haven Coliseum)
4/23/83 Grateful Dead (New Haven Coliseum)
4/23/84 Grateful Dead (New Haven Coliseum)
4/24/84 Grateful Dead (New Haven Coliseum)

1.)^Arnold, Corry, 2012-11-01, Reconstructing Reconstruction,
2.)^Hanley, Rich, The true story of the New Haven Coliseum, revealed,
3.)^gleng1, comments, 2007-06-18,

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