Last Sunday, my friend, Rain, and I visited the New Yankee Stadium for opening weekend festivities (we were too cheap to pay outrageous sums, $300+ for bleacher seats on opening day). As I documented our last visit to the old stadium, I thought I'd do the same for the new.
First off, all of my pictures are uploaded on my photo album, and you can see them here. There are a whole bunch that aren't included in this post.
Second, on practical matters, we were able to park in our old lot, where the Bronx Terminal Market used to be. Parking is now an outrageous $19. I guess we could do what my friend Buzz does, find free street parking somewhere in the Bronx, but we're a bit more timid and I guess lazy. There's a new habitrail that takes you from these lots over the railroad tracks and deposits you right at the old stadium's doorstep. Into this habitrail, the new MetroNorth trains stop will feed (service starts May 23rd I believe).
I'm just going to show this one photo of the old stadium and how deserted it is now. It made me sad.
Old stadium ticket booth
Okay - so back to the new...
You must walk past the old stadium (coming from the habitrail), along the third base side, if you're familiar with the area, it's past the old players' entrance) until you come to the corner (near where you used to line up for Monument Park). There you must cross the street (I think it's 161st street) to get to the New Yankee Stadium. It's a huge intersection, but arriving and leaving on game day, was pretty easy getting across. Of course though we stopped for an obligatory picture of the two of us with the new stadium in the background.
Kim and Rain in front of New Yankee Stadium
There are a million entrances to the stadium to take your tickets, but first, you still go through security, where you must show them your cell phones (turned on), anything in your bags, and take your hats off. No longer though do you get the see-through bags into which you had to put all of your stuff. You're also still not allowed to bring briefcases into the stadium, or backpacks, or large purses. When I say bags, I mean the shopping bags we use to bring our food in.
Oh, and outside the stadium (and inside too) were all these people holding signs saying, "How can I help you?" Of course I had this young lady help me by posing for a picture with me.
And here's one more shot of me entering the stadium, which reminds me, they no longer take your ticket. You scan the bar code under the machine, yourself.
Entering New Yankee Stadium
You walk into the Great Hall right off the bat (no pun intended). It's this huge, open to the top of the stadium expanse, with giant banners of the great names in Yankee history along one wall, a tremendous television screen at one end (not sure what's at the other), entrance to one of the Yankee stores, and entrances to the actual seating area long the other wall. Here's where you'll also catch elevators/stairs/escalators to your seat, depending upon your choice.
First things first, we hit the Yankee Store in search of something that said inaugural season on it. For $35 I purchased a long sleeve, thermal shirt. The store is just as big and just as crowded as in the old stadium. Sorry, no pictures of the store.
Next up, we went into the seating area on the main level. Here's where most of the main food stands are and it's crazy. There's everything. New additions include, candy apples, garlic fries (not Gordon Biersch Garlic fries but garlic fries none the less), a steak place (and they carve real steak for sandwiches. They gave out some free samples. Some changes, no more hot fudge a the caravel stand, the stadium is now Pepsi, not Coke, and the popcorn places now sell kettle corn in addition to the normal variety.
You can walk around the entire lower level (and we did) where as before, you couldn't circumnavigate the entire stadium (forced to go outside to get to the bleachers), now you can. I'm not sure if this means the bleacher creatures once again have access to beer or not.
View from Behind Home Plate
You should know too that the downstairs is decorated beautifully, with these huge pictures above each stand from every championship team (I think), well at least for the ones that they have pictures.
After completely scoping out the downstairs, we decided to venture up to the Grand Stand (fancy name for nose bleeders), where are tickets for the season are located. A note here, in the past, we had a 26-game package which allowed us to choose whichever games we wanted (with limits, like only one game in any given Red Sox or Mets series). It also meant our seats bounced around the stadium to whatever they have available. They don't offer it anymore, so we have a Sunday game plan - we get tickets to every Sunday home game and then three other random games during the season. What that means is we have the same seats for every single game. It will work out well, if we like the people sitting next to us.
So anyway, we start to head upstairs, via escalator, and stop at the Tommy Bahama bar (I think that's the name of it), but here, mid stadium, is a full service bar with a great view of the Great Hall. They weren't open yet, so no drinks for us (as if we would anyway).
Once we hit the top, we did another sweep of the entire level (can't circumnavigate though up here) and checked out the food stands. By the way, did you all know that in NYC, you must display calorie counts next to your food. I'm not sure who is covered by that law (don't recall ever seeing them on menus), maybe it's only "fast food" into which category the vendors at Yankee Stadium fall. It helps me, back on Weight Watchers, because I can get a good guestimate on how many points each item is (and let me tell you, most things you do not want to know). We discovered that all hot dogs are not created equal (some have six points, while others go has high as nine! Later, I'd enjoy a 6 point dog) and a small garlic fries, shared between two friends has 2.5 points a serving - good value - so of course we enjoyed!
Fortified with garlic fries, we made the climb, and I do mean, climb, to our seats. We're in the top row of the stadium!!! Actually, though, they're not bad, they're on the first base side but really close to home. And behind us is a ledge, where we can store our stuff so it doesn't get trashed on the floor under our seats. Oh, and did I mention that each seat in the stadium now has a cup holder? Well they do. And as far as our seat mates, to the left seem nice enough but I'm not sure about the people to the right, though I do not think they're the regular ticket holders.
View from Our Seats
Two other notes on the day. We saw Freddie! Freddie used to be at every game, banging his little metal plate, or ringing his bell, or whatever it is he has that makes that clanging noise. Last season though I didn't see him at all and feared the worst. But he was there on Sunday.
Last note, I mentioned my friend, Buzz earlier. Buzz and I worked together, many, many years ago, when we were first out of college. We lost touch over the years and reconnected last summer when Buzz found my blog. Buzz was at the game with his son, and after much up and down riding on the elevator (with the same joke about lingerie on the second floor - yes, they have elevator operators), and still missing each other, we finally managed to meet when he found our seats. During the 7th inning, we went downstairs to see him (and when you're on the top deck, it's good to move down towards the end of the game - just for a quick escape). He was able to sneak us into his section and man are those great seats! Buzz sits in right field, in seats with waiter service and cushions! Very cool. The sad thing is, many of these seats are empty because the Yankee organization over-priced them. Strange to see the upper deck (aka Grandstand) completely filled and the main level half empty but that's how it is. Oh, and addition, as of yesterday, they are announcing some reduction in prices on those seats, but still out of reach for the majority of people.
View from Buzz's seats
I guess that's it. As soon as Mariano struck out the last batter, we high-tailed it out of there, practically sprinting to the car. Made it home in great time - 75 minutes. Oh, and the Yankees won!!