José Miguel Agrelot Coliseum

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José Miguel Agrelot Coliseum

José Miguel Agrelot was one of my childhood heroes.  He was a comedian, radio personality and TV host.  He was also an all-around good Puerto Rican.  I used to walk home from school every day (about a mile) to watch him on “El Show del Mediodía” (The Midday Show), and then walk back to school by 1:00 o’clock.  This guy was doing standup comedy in 1964.  He was wickedly smart, funny, and respectful.  But he told it like it was.  He was a true pioneer.

José Miguel Agrelot died in his sleep, while taking an afternoon nap, on January 28, 2004. He is best remembered for his characterization of “Don Cholito”, a witty Puerto Rican from the mountains, typically called a “jíbaro” among the locals.  However, he developed over 200 characterizations during his long and illustrious career.

Plans to build a new and larger Coliseum started in 1998, during the last Rafael Hernández Colón administration.  Initially the coliseum was supposed to be built next to the Hiram Bithorn Stadium and the Roberto Clemente Coliseum as one of the new facilities for Puerto Rico’s Olympic bid for 2004.  But that didn’t materialize. Athens was chosen instead.

However, the government of Puerto Rico, this time during the Pedro Rosselló administration, decided to relocate the project to the Hato Rey banking district, where it would have no parking facilities.  ¿The reasoning? Well, at the time the Urban Train was also being built, and government officials argued that it would be a way of forcing people to use the train instead of their private vehicles.

¿Sounds weird?  I thought so too.  So did thousands and thousands of Puerto Ricans.

Anyway, the coliseum opened its doors in September 2004. Many names were shuffled for the new facility, causing even more controversy. However, someone suggested the name of the recently deceased comedian and the idea spread like wildfire.

The José Miguel Agrelot Coliseum, affectionately called the “Choliseo” among Puerto Ricans, is the largest venue of its kind on the Island.  It seats a maximum of 18,500 spectators and is mainly used for sporting and musical events.

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