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Touring Yankee Stadium
New York Yankees – you either love them or hate them. Probably no other group has polarized the country more (well, except maybe our political parties but we won’t talk about that here). Yet, no one can deny that in the past 85 years the Yankees have been intricately tied with the history of baseball, America’s past time.
Yet, while many consider attending a game when they visit New York, few actually consider touring the stadium as a “tourist attraction.” Many probably don’t even realize this is a possibility.
It is though and if you’re a sports or baseball fan of any sort, it’s well worth the trip to the Bronx.
Don’t be concerned - getting to Yankee Stadium from Manhattan is easy. It’s about a 20 – 40 minute ride on the subway (depending on your starting point) on either the D train (west side – runs along 6th Avenue) or the 4 train (east side, runs along Lexington Avenue) and sometimes on the B train (this train only stops at the stadium during rush hour so 6:00am – 9:30am and 4pm – 7pm Monday – Friday) taken “Uptown” to 161 street, Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.
You can and should purchase tickets ahead of time (up until 11am on the day of the tour even) online or by phone through Ticket Master 1-877-469-9849 (though the phone must be done 10 days in advance of the tour) or at any Ticketmaster outlet or any Yankees Clubhouse Shop.
For the Classic Tour, tickets cost $20 each and you are limited to 11 tickets per order (you can also book a group tour by calling 646-977- 8687. There are several options, some of which include meals). You can also purchase discounted tickets for children (14 and younger) and senior citizens (60 years and older) but only at the Yankee Stadium Advanced ticket window (for $14). In my mind though, I don’t think it’s worth the extra trip to the stadium to get the discount. Children four and younger are admitted for free to the Classic Stadium Tour.
Other options exist too. For example, you can combine your tour with lunch at the Hard Rock Café or NYY Steak, and both restaurants are within the stadium.
Make sure you arrive at the stadium, Gate 6, next to the Hard Rock, 20 minutes before the scheduled start of your tour (as printed on your ticket). You will go through security first.
The tour starts in the Grand Hall of the stadium with a brief introduction to the history. Then you ride the elevator to the Yankee Museum. There you will have time to wander and see things like the World Series trophies, and artifacts from various players throughout Yankee history (e.g., Babe Ruth’s bat, Lou Gehrig’s uniform). From there you ride back down in the elevators and visit Monument Park.
Babe Ruth's jersey and other artifacts
Monument Park has all of the Yankees retired numbers along with plaques dedicated to various players and others who are a part of Yankee history throughout the years. For example, in addition to a plaque honoring Mickey Mantle, you’ll also find plaques commemorating some of the Popes who said Mass in the stadium as well as one dedicated to the memory of September 11, 2001.
From Monument Park, the guide leads you to the dugout where you get to sit on the Yankee bench and for a moment, step onto the dirt warning track around the field. You get the same view as the players do on game day.
Finally, during the off season, or if the Yankees are on the road during the season, the guide leads you past the indoor batting cages and into the Yankee clubhouse. On the day we visited, the clubhouse was already being prepped for the new season with clean uniforms by each player’s locker and Nick Swisher still had various news clippings from the 2009 season decorating his locker.
The tour lasts 45 – 60 minutes and is well worth a visit. Tours start at noon and run every twenty minutes until 1:40pm. When you purchase your ticket, you will be given an option to select your time. If these times sell-out though, they may add other tours, starting at 9:00am and going as late as 4:30pm but never past 1:40pm on game days. Remember though to check your ticket for the time of your tour.
The most stairs you would have to climb would be up/down from the subway. There are elevators in the stations at the northeast corner of 161st street and River Avenue and you can check the MTA site for more information on how to access these. All tours within the stadium though are wheelchair accessible.
http://newyork.yankees.mlb.com/nyy/ballpark/stadium_tours.jsp: Yankee Stadium Tour information
http://www.mta.info/nyct/service/: NYC Subway line information
http://www.mta.info/nyct/maps/submap.htm: NYC Subway map
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