New York, New York has two new stadiums up and running in time for the 2009 season. So on a rare
weekend in which both teams were home we made the visit to see both of the city’s fine sports
palaces. Stop number two on a Friday for us (but stop number one in our hearts) would be at Citifield,
home to the New York Mets.

Getting to the venue

Not much has changed here, as Citifield sits in the same parking lot that the old Shea Stadium was in
when it opened in 1964. Citifield is accessible by multitudes of expressways such as the Van Wyck,
Northern Boulevard and the Grand Central Parkway and plenty of paid parking lots to be found within a
close walk. Citifield is also very easy to get to by rail as the New York City subway system and the Long
Island Railroad have stations just a short walk away. You can grab free parking spots in an adjoining
neighborhood that are a good walk away, if you arrive very early and are willing to take the time to
scope out a sometimes difficult to find spot.

Outside the Venue

The stadium is located in the Flushing Meadows/Corona Park neighborhood of Queens, and is
uniquely situated amidst expressways, massive parking lots, the Arthur Ashe Tennis Center on the
grounds of the 1964-1965 World’s Fair to the south, and some, ummm… strange looking
neighborhoods beyond the left field fence. It would seem that every muffler store, collision shop and
auto parts reseller in New York City is located amidst a labyrinth of streets running off of 126th street. It
is all a mess and really detracts from the look of the gleaming new ballpark.

The focal point and gathering place at Citifield is the Jackie Robinson rotunda at home plate.
Designed to mimic the appearance of the old Ebbets Field rotunda, the sweeping plaza outside serves
as the main entrance into the stadium and is also directly across from the subway station.

Architecture and Seating Bowl

Three levels of green colored seats. Gee, where have we seen that before? Oh, right…in about a
hundred other ballparks opened since 1992. The seating bowl color is a tribute to the Polo Grounds
which also had seats in the same color. Same setup with three decks from the left center field stands
wrapping all around the field to near the right field foul pole. The right field seating area has two decks
with a large Pepsi Cola sign with standing area and picnic tables and such.

A signature bridge at the lower level connects the lower right field concourse with the center field
plaza...symbol of the multitude of bridges that connect the city’s five boroughs.

Two giant videoboards dominate the outfield view, one at centerfield above the batters eye and another
off to right field. A rather simple looking out of town scoreboard hangs above the left field stands. A new
signature “Big Apple” rises for Met home runs just beyond the centerfield  fence, replacing the original
which has been virtually discarded to a spot near the bullpen gate near where all of those auto repair
shops sit.

Concourses

The signature concourse element is the Jackie Robinson Rotunda that greets fans at the main
entrance at home plate. Several large murals of famous moments in his career adorn the walls here
and a large “42” sculpture sits at its center and provides for a nice photo spot. At its far end sits a large
Mets merchandise shop. Escalators and stairs take fans up to the main field level concourse.

A large “NY” logo is etched into the concourse floor behind home plate in an area featuring plenty of
seating tables for fans grabbing something to eat. NY Giants logo? Mets logo? Couldn’t tell by
looking…

Both the upper and lower level concourses have a view of the field from virtually all areas.


Concessions

The hottest place here at Citifield to find the coolest food items is behind the center field scoreboard.
Under the skyline silhouette which crowned the old Shea scoreboard you will find the Blue Smoke,
where you can enjoy a pulled pork sandwich served on a brioche bun. Next door is the Shake Shack,
where you can find milkshakes (of course) as well as specialty hot dogs. The lines here are massively
long. Closeby is the El Verano Taqueria, serving grilled chicken and grilled steak tacos. Of course, the
grilled sausage stands, Nathan’s famous hot dogs and their fries, Carvel ice cream are all over the
ballpark. Add local specialties such as a Mets hero loaded with cold cuts, or cannoli with blue and
orange sprinkles. At $17, the lobster roll ranked as the eye popping budget busting food treat, and can
be found at a Long Island themed seafood stand.

As for fine dining options, the Acela Club down the left field line offers a five tier dining area with views
of the field, and a $48 buffet. There are numerous other private areas which are covered under
premium seating.

Banners/Retired Numbers

The Mets retired numbers sit beyond the left field fence as numbers for Tom Seaver, Casey Stengel,
Gil Hodges, and Jackie Robinson’s 42 along with a “SHEA” for New York attorney William Shea, the
driving force behind the return of National League baseball to New York City.

Championship flags hang from flagpoles adorning the Pepsi Porch in the second deck of right field.


Premium Seating

The New York Mets have certainly raised the bar between the “haves” and the “have nots”. The most
exclusive area is the Delta Sky360 Club, located at field level behind home plate and open only to suite
holders and those who have purchased the pricey seats closest to the field. Rich wood tones, high
end décor, toney bars and dining areas.

Then there are separate clubs on just about every level. The Ebbets Club on Field Level, the Caesars
Club on the Excelsior Level, and the Promenade Club on the top level, all offering their own brand of
snob service. Just to give an idea of pricing… tickets in the Delta Club top out at $695; the Ebbets Club
$280, the Caesars Club $245 and the Promenade Club $105. The Mets employ variable pricing and
the numbers listed here are for “platinum games”.

Home runs, hits, errors…

(Former) Home Run – the big apple which popped up at Shea every time the Mets hit a home run.
Yeah it’s still there, but is a replica of the original. They took the old one and tucked it underneath an
obscure stairwell.

Error – to the overstated “Jackie Robinson rotunda”. While offering a “wow factor” in terms of design
and appearance, this grand entrance heralds a player who never once wore the Mets uniform.

Hit – the Taste of the City food attractions, highlighted by the signature Shake Shack, are indeed a hit.
So much so that the lines and crowds here are impossibly long. Three innings in line, minimum, to get
your mitts on a very ordinary milkshake.

Home Run – As stunning as this building looks from the outside, it is even more so at night, when the
arches and colonnades are beautifully floodlit.

Home Run – To the USRT Karma, for assisting in 5-4 and 1-0 New York Mets wins over the Milwaukee
Brewers in two very entertaining games.

Error – The miserable snarky and bastardly ushers and game day staff have been brought over to
Citifield and are as horrible as ever. What do these teams see in making grampas, bitches and
douchebags their face to the public?


Summary
Citifield is a nice new venue with all the comforts that a new venue has, and deservedly so for Mets
fans who have dealt with far less than normal for many years at Shea Stadium. For them, Citifield is a
jewel worth waiting for.

But, they are not folks who have been to as many places as we have (mostly), and frankly this place
comes up short in so many ways.  A venue with a completely unoriginal ballpark design with its brick
façade and green seats. And here the most galling thing (coming from a Mets fan)….while much of
CitiField’s  design deals with Ebbets Field and the Polo Grounds, far too little of the venue has
anything to do with the team that calls it home NOW, the Mets. Despite the fact that the Mets have spent
virtually all their years in that parking lot in Flushing, there is very little to commemorate or mark in
anyway shape or form the moments of greatness and ineptitude that have occurred here for nearly half
a century.

Want a mural of the ’69 Mets? The greatest underdog story in American pro sports history? Yawn! The ’
86 Mets? Hell, how about Marv Throneberry and the lunatic fans that followed the hideous ’62 club?  
Well, there’s a far too small area out beyond the left field gate for you.

But hey, the major signature aspect of the venue is all about a man(great as he was) who never wore
the Mets uniform, and couple of murals of Ebbets Field sit at the entrance to the seating bowl. God
forbid if you see anything of Tom Terrific or Dwight Gooden inside the venue. Even the original “Big
Apple” is tossed aside like a piece of junk near the bullpen entrance.

In a nutshell, no venue we’ve seen in the four major sports does less to celebrate a team that has
done so much. For this Citifield must be hammered on unmercifully. Fans come to the park to see
such things, to relive if only for a moment the great memories of being a fan of their team.

SCORING

Architecture 7.5
Concessions/Team Store  8.5
Scoreboard/Electronics 8
Ushers  2.5
Fan Support  7
Location/Neighborhood  5
Banners/History 2
In Game Entertainment 9
Concourses/Fan Comfort 8.5
Bonus: Jackie Robinson rotunda 1, Shake Shack , World's Fare 1

Total 61


Click
HERE to go the venue profile for Shea Stadium
Citifield
Citifield



Queens,
New York



April 17-18,
2009



Milwaukee
Brewers
at
New York
Mets