The on-campus competition venue of the Red Storm men's and women's basketball, volleyball and men's and women's fencing teams, what was then referred to as Alumni Hall opened its doors on December 4, 1961, as St. John's defeated George Washington, 79-65.
In the fall of 2004, as part of a dedication ceremony honoring St. John's Hall of Fame coach, the University renamed the court and the building for longtime mentor Lou Carnesecca.
Since its opening 47 years ago, the building has had its lighting and sound system replaced, and a new scoreboard and playing surface have been installed. In the fall of 2005, the University announced tentative plans for a major renovation of the storied venue.
The building is one of the homes for St. John's Athletics, featuring the newly-opened Student-Athlete Center for Excellence, a weight room for varsity athletes, a cardiovascular room, locker rooms and office and meeting space for coaches and administrators.
With a seating capacity of 5,602 Carnesecca Arena ranks as the fourth-largest indoor arena in the Metropolitan area, behind the Meadowlands, Madison Square Garden and Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. In 1961, the year the facility was opened, the building was rated second only to Madison Square Garden.