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Island Garden is an indoor arena in West Hempstead, New York, USA. The arena was built in 1998, and has a seating capacity of 5,000 people. It hosts a local youth basketball league. It was named for the original Island Garden, which stood just south of the present site.
The original Island Garden Arena was built in 1957 by Arnold "Whitey" Carlson, a descendant of Swedish immigrants. Mr. Carlson's grandfather was Henrik Carlson, a noted San Diego sculptor who was the Foreign Art Director for the San Diego Exposition (now Balboa Park). Over the years, many concert acts such as Cream, Dave Clark Five, Tiny Tim, Louis Armstrong, The Byrds, Sly and the Family Stone, The Dave Brubeck Quartet and Bob Dylan performed at the venue. In addition to concerts there were also boxing matches, professional wrestling, circus, rodeos, stamp shows, midget car racing, and boat shows.
The 5,200 seat arena also hosted the New York Nets of the American Basketball Association from 1969 to 1972. The facility hosted the 1971 Nassau County Boy's High School Basketball Championship game, won by South Side led by Beaver Smith, before a then event-record crowd of more than 3,000. Hall of Famer Rick Barry led the ABA in scoring during the 1970–71 season. The Nets were unable to play any home playoff games in 1971 because the arena was booked with other events The Nets played one home playoff game at Hofstra, and two at Madison Square Garden's Felt Forum. In 1971–72, the Nets posted their first winning season, advancing all the way to the ABA Finals, where they lost to the Indiana Pacers. The franchise stabilized. Late in the season, the team moved from the Garden into the new Nassau Coliseum (15,600 capacity). In 1976 the Nets franchise were admitted into the National Basketball Association, where they have remained, eventually becoming today's Brooklyn Nets.
The arena was partially demolished in 1973, unable to compete with the newer and larger Nassau Coliseum. A shopping center was built on that portion of the site. The remaining portion of the structure was revitalized into a new youth basketball venue in 1998. Today, the sports center is a well known arena as it hosts 234 Long Island Lightning teams. It has 3 courts for simultaneous gameplay, or practice. Other teams run in this facility is FE Hoops, DAC Marksmen, Crown Basketball, and Rising Stars.
- Winzelberg, David (November 8, 1998). "At Island Garden, New Life for Old Arena". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-03-07.
- "WWWF Results from West Hempstead 04/21/67". Boardreader.com. Retrieved 2 July 2012.
- Hassan, John (1997). The 1998 ESPN Information Please Sports Almanac. New York: Hyperion Press. p. 552. ISBN 0-7868-8296-4.
Long Island Arena
| Home of the New York Nets
1969 – 1972
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