Wednesday, May 16, 2007

My City In Ruins

May 8, 2007: New Haven, Conn.

A recent trip to Connecticut sent me past the second place I ever saw a professional hockey game -- probably the location where I watched the most games.

Won't ever happen again, obviously.
The New Haven Coliseum was home to the AHL New Haven Nighthawks. When I was in middle school I forced my Dad to drag me to quite a few Nighthawks games. It was also the site of a few formative rock concert experiences -- R.E.M. before they got really big, Tom Petty (heading a great triple bill), um, ahem, Iron Maiden...but I digress. In all objective honesty, it was a 70s architectural travesty, but I still fondly remember the long ride down the outdoor escalators from the parking garage to the Orange St. entrance -- it helped build the pre-game anticipation. After the game there was the the fun of everyone honking their horns as they rolled down the circular parking ramps. So it's sad to see the place looking like the World Trade Center on September 12. Not that I was surprised. I was actually down on the corner of Orange and George returning a car to Hertz back in late 2005 -- they had already started demolishing the place then. This means they have probably taken more time tearing down the Coliseum than they spent building it in the first place. That's New Haven for you. I understand they have big plans to build some kind of cultural mecca in place of the old arena, though they obviously aren't in a big hurry. To me, tearing down a venue like that -- and not replacing it -- just reeks of a city that's thrown in the towel.
For what it's worth, the first place I every saw pro hockey was the Aud in Buffalo. I hear it's still standing, though it's been closed for a decade. And Buffalo built a new arena to replace it.

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