New York Yankee Stadium; The New Way to Experience Baseball
In 2009, both of New York City's beloved/hated (depending) baseball teams started their seasons in spanking-new stadiums. Citi Field replaced the 45-year-old Shea Stadium as home to the Amazin' Mets, and when I went for the first time last year I was pretty blown away by what is clearly the new trend in sports entertainment, where ballparks have to be quasi family resorts as much as sporting venues.
The Yankee Stadium Experience
Even though the Yankees have always been my team (believe me, they were TERRIBLE when I first formed my allegiance, as a kid in the late 1960s… but the late 1970s and 1990s made up for that), it took until last week for me to head on up to the big ballpark in the Bronx to catch a game. And, as I said, this is a whole different kind of baseball-watching experience that what I was used to. Let's start with the basic design of the place. The outer facade seems pretty much the same as the former stadium (which, by the way, sat right across the street for 86 years; the giant baseball bat, under which decades of fans met up before or after the game, is the only thing that remains). The interior here, however, is completely newfangled and, as at Citi Field, is wonderfully open, fan-friendly, and designed to make walking around (and buying things, they hope) a seamless, inclusive part of the experience.
The Buyer's Experience at Yankee Stadium
Gone are the dank corridors and thick concrete walls separating you from the field of play. In today's Yankee Stadium, you can stroll anywhere, at any level, AND still see the action. Heck, you can even stand behind the back row of the gazillion-dollar field level seats for the entire game if you want, no matter what your ticket says. Adding to resort-ish feel are legions of young "guest relations" specialists, whose job it is to stand around holding "How can I help you?" signs and saying hello at a moment's eye contact. It's a tad obsequious, maybe, but it's definitely effective at making you feel tended to… which, at these prices, is probably a good idea.
The Food and Restaurants at Yankee Stadium
But maybe the biggest difference between the then and the now at Yankee Stadium is the food. Also: the beer. Carl's Cheese Steaks. Lobel's Prime Rib sandwiches. Goose Island IPA and Stella Artois. Meatball Sandwiches from the great Parm. Brother Jimmy's BBQ. Sushi, sliders, wings… and that's not even counting the many "exclusive" restaurants and lounges with separate menus. And field box patrons get all of their food for "free", delivered right to their seats. There's even a rooftop bar, where you sip a rum cocktail and watch the game on TV or just gaze out over the South Bronx.
Yankee Stadium Ticket Prices
A note about prices: they are high. Like, starting at $25 for bleacher seats high, and rising quickly to $80 for the outfield "terrace", and $175 and more for a field-level seat. OR you could do what I did and get a $5 bleacher seat during one of their "featured pricing" dates and head on up to the Bronx just to check it out. Oh, and make sure to stop by the Yankee Museum, which has an impressive array of memorabilia from the Yankees' long, impressive history. For more information, visit the Yankees online.
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