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In 2009, the city of New York opened up two vastly different ballparks for their two Major League Baseball teams. In the Bronx, the new Yankee Stadium was built as a monument to excess and the future. In Queens, the Mets new digs, Citi Field, decided to turn back the clock and salute the past with their ballpark.
First-time visitors at Citi Field will notice several elements that the Mets put in from various ballparks to make up their new home. When you walk up to the front entrance, it’s supposed to look like the Brooklyn Dodgers former home, Ebbets Field. Once your ticket is punched, you’ll be in the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, where a video tribute to the trailblazing ballplayer plays continuously. To your right is the new Mets Hall of Fame, where you’ll find both Mets World Series trophies and other bric-a-brac associated with the history of the franchise (including the original Mr. Met costume).
OK, time to go to your seat, the game is about to begin. This is where things get a bit confusing. Citi Field is built like the Mets had four different architects working at once to accommodate everyone's ideas. This is not to say that the ballpark is bad, quite the contrary actually. It’s quite handsome in spots, but things were sacrificed in the name of fan enjoyment in order to keep the blueprint of an “old” new ballpark.
For instance, the Mets and Yankees have perfected the “moat” between great seats and good seats. If you don’t have $500 or more to spend on a ticket, good luck sneaking down to the field level seats. There’s a built in breezeway lined with ushers that will not let you into the field box seats without a ticket. The field level seats are sponsored by Delta Airlines, and it is swanky in the “Skylounge” that occupies the area behind the choice seats. There are several bars, a steakhouse and a place to view the Mets batting cages within the Skylounge. Also located in the area are field level luxury boxes (hot tip from an usher: Jerry Seinfeld owns box 1 and Jon Stewart owns box 4).
If you’re wandering the main concourse looking for your seat in the first level, you’ll at least be able to check out the game, as it’s a totally open concourse. As you get into the outfield area of the concourse, you’ll crossover Shea Bridge, named for Shea Stadium, the old ballpark that was the only home of the Mets up until 2009. If you feel like finding where Shea Stadium’s home plate was, it’s located in the third base side of the parking lot outside of Citi Field.
Behind the giant scoreboard in center field, you’ll find a food court, lots of kids games (including a dunk tank with a guy wearing the opposing team’s uniform...nice). In left field, there’s a party deck located in the new, less spacious outfield. The deck was installed due to numerous complaints from Mets ballplayers that the dimensions of Citi Field were unfair and too tough to hit a home run in. The deck shaved several feet off and the Mets have seen their power numbers go up.
Sandwiched between the lower and upper deck of Citi Field is the Caesar's Club. It’s the “club” section of the stadium, filled with bars, plush chairs and tacky casino advertising.
Think Atlantic City casino lobby when it comes to the decorum, and you’d be right on the money. Also located on this level is the Acela Club, where you can sit down and eat a meal in a fine dining restaurant and watch the game. Finally, the top level, or “promenade” as the Mets call it, has very little in the way of fancy, but offers decent sight lines at a price that doesn’t break the bank.
So, let’s take an even closer look at the home of the 2013 All-Star Game, where the sluggers of baseball will take aim at the giant apple in center field during the home run derby.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
As New York City is home to the United Nations, Citi Field has just about every culture covered when it comes to food. From sushi to kosher to good BBQ, the Mets have it. But, it comes at a price. While the hot dogs are good (Nathan's), $5 bucks is what you're paying for it. The BBQ at Blue Smoke is great, but nothing will dissect a $20 bill faster than getting a platter there.
The best bang for your buck is the Italian sandwich found at Mama's of Corona, located on the concourse and promenade levels. How could you go wrong with delicious Italian meats with fresh mozzarella on a soft roll with homemade peppers? At $8, it will fill you up, and you won't feel as fleeced.
If you're in the mood for a cheeseburger at the Shake Shack, get there first thing after you walk in the gates. If not, it's usually a multiple inning wait. It's located in the food court behind the main scoreboard.
There's too much separation between sections and the Mets fan base doesn't show up anymore. For years, the atmosphere at Shea Stadium was electric, but it has yet to carry over to Citi Field. There are several factors that have contributed to this. First, the stadium is not conducive to a great fan experience. Second, the fans hate the owner and want him to sell desperately. Third, the Mets have stunk ever since moving into Citi Field.
Put all these factors together and you'll end up with a mundane atmosphere for a ballgame. The allure of the new ballpark has worn off, and huge swaths of empty seating are visible at almost every ballgame (except the subway series with the Yankees and a weekend series with the Phillies).
If you're taking small children to the ballpark, it's a perfectly acceptable atmosphere for kids. With the way the Mets cater to kids (and their parents' money), it's a very family-friendly activity. It's tough to say that about any other team in New York City.
The neighborhood where Citi Field is located won't appear on many NYC postcards. In fact, across from the back end of Citi Field is an automobile junkyard. The ballpark also borders a park that has the USTA Tennis Center located in it. When the US Open is not in session, the tennis courts and facility are locked up. All and all, it's a real snoozer of a neighborhood within a stone's throw of the stadium.
However, if you feel like getting a little adventurous, take the 7 train one more stop past Citi Field to Flushing. If you like Chinese Food, well, welcome to the real Chinatown. There are more Chinese restaurants in this neighborhood than the Chinatown in Manhattan. I always go to a takeout place located next to the Long Island Railroad station (about a block away from the subway). For $5, I get more Lo Mein, Shrimp Rolls and Steamed Dumplings than I can eat (and I'm not a small guy). You'll know it when you see the line. There are also plenty of Chinese bakeries in the neighborhood for your sweet tooth. I'm serious about this, $10 will feed your family here.
knowledgeable and can recite the 1986 World Series winning lineup on command. The thing is, you won't find them at Citi Field. Through years of disappointment in the franchise, the allure of a new ballpark has worn off. What true Mets fans are left with are inaccessible levels of the ballpark due to being priced out by the fat-cats (who rarely show up themselves). It's a joke really for the franchise to continue to pretend that there is a market demand for the exclusive seats. No one wants to see a losing team (outside of Wrigley Field) and until the Mets put some players on the field that can get the fan base excited, the Mets owner (Fred Wilpon) might want to invest in some large tarps that he can cover sections of seating that will otherwise go empty.
Citi Field is undeniably easy to get to. Its location is right off the Grand Central Parkway, a major thoroughfare in NYC. If you're taking public transportation, it's even easier. The stadium has its own subway station off the number 7 line and has its own Long Island Railroad Station as well. The Mets operate several parking lots in and around Citi Field.
If you're flying into LaGuardia Airport, you'll buzz the upper deck of the ballpark as you're landing, as the airport is a very short distance from Citi Field.
There's a caveat on the low rating in this category. If you buy tickets straight from the Mets, you're paying too much. It's a buyer's market for Mets tickets on secondary resale websites. I usually spring for promenade infield tickets, and it usually costs $15 or less.
Under no circumstances should you purchase Pepsi Porch seats if they're more than 5 rows from the front of the section. They're basically obstructed view seats after 5 rows and a total rip off.
The giant Pepsi sign in right field is pretty awesome at night games. It kind of hovers like a moon.
Beneath the Shea Bridge is an area right next to the bullpens where you're only separated by a fence and a couple of feet from the pitchers. It's great to see Major League pitchers warm up from field level, but alas it offers no view of the game.
I like Citi Field more than the new Yankee Stadium (be forewarned Yankees) but this park is solidly mediocre. Citi Field fits in the weird parameter of being one of the last "retro" parks but not having the modern features of a Target Field. As the ballparks in Pittsburgh, Denver and Baltimore prove, you have to incorporate cityscape in order to have a true retro ballpark. If not, it feels like a Hollywood set. It's all style and very little substance.
Though "Big Shea" served as the home of the New York Mets from 1964-2008, Citi Field is a state-of-the-art venue to take in a ballgame. Many die-hard Mets fans admit that they miss Shea Stadium, but the Mets finally got the new ballpark they deserved.
Citi Field opened in 2009, with fan-favorite David Wright recording the first hit and first home run in the ballpark.
The stadium has a very open feel, and there's really not a bad seat in the house. In fact, the highest seat at the new 45,000 capacity ballpark is lower than the front row of the upper deck at Shea.
Citi Field has many quirks, both baseball and fan-related, that add to the overall experience. Not too many experiences rival a plane from the adjacent LaGuardia airport soaring overhead as the Mets are in a rally (the latter of which is usually a rare occasion, and I'm a Mets fan).
Once the Mets can bring consistently winning baseball back to Queens, Citi Field will start to have the feel of old Shea Stadium.
But regardless of the team, this ballpark is a must visit for any baseball fan.
The New York Mets moved to Citi Field this past March and it is a dramatic upgrade over Shea Stadium, which had been their home since 1964.
During Citi Field's construction, you could sit and watch the progress from your seats at Shea Stadium as Citi Field was built behind Shea Stadium.
It is quite ironic that David Wright was the first Met to hit a home run at Citi Field, as he also hit a ball out of Shea Stadium that landed in Citi Field while it was under construction.
Shea Stadium was demolished for parking for Citi Field last winter, but the most famous feature of Shea Stadium, the Home Run Apple, was brought to Citi Field for display, and a brand new home run apple is located over the center field wall.
When the Mets management was working on the design of Citi Field, they wanted it to resemble Ebbets Field where the Brooklyn Dodgers played before their move to Los Angeles. Fans enter into the stadium up the escalator through the Jackie Robinson Rotunda where there are gift shops and video tributes in auditoriums, along with pictures and quotes from Robinson.
A unique feature of Citi Field is the Fan Walk, which is located just outside the Rotunda where fans who have purchased and still can purchase bricks in memory of loved ones who were fans of the Brooklyn Dodgers and also fans of the Mets.
Many of the bricks contain fans names that the bricks were purchased in memory of loved ones, and also if fans were present at a significant game or event, that is stated as well, whether it be a clinching game or one of the many post season games.
My husband and myself were at Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS, where we saw Endy Chavez make a spectacular leaping grab and he threw the ball into 1st base to get the double play, and several mentions of "the catch of NLCS Game 7" appear on Fan Walk.
This place is great! Check out the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, stroll the concourses and drink! Citi Field is amazing, much like PNC in Pittsburgh. The Mets made it more Mets like prior to the 2010 season after many complaints from the Citi Field Faithful. More Mets colors and banners featuring former players now decorate the stadium.
First impressions upon seeing Citi Field is that stunning exterior. It's best seen when fans exit the train or subway station and climb down the stairs to the ballpark. The V shaped exterior and Jackie Robinson Rotunda are certainly amazing and it blew me away...however, I can totally see how Mets fans would be justifiably irritated by the exact resemblance to Brooklyn's Ebbets Field. A ballpark that played host to a team with no ties to the Mets. I do applaud management though for listening to fans and critics as they made steps to improve the stadium with the addition of the Mets Hall of Fame and more player/team tributes inside and out.
The inside design is nice and I like how they built up the outfield so you don't have to see the eyesore junkyards just beyond the stadium. Though some more views of Flushing Bay would have been nice. Fans are much closer to the field than at Shea...but be prepared that there are several seats where overhangs obstruct your view. The Centerfield area is probably the most enjoyable section in terms of making the ballpark more "Mets-ish" with the Shea Bridge and the Shake Shack. The Shake Shack has the best burger that I've tasted so far at a ballpark. Also, beer fans: there are 28 different brews available at a few of the stands!
Best food at a ballpark, only thing that is a negative is the street on the first base side behind ballpark.
Great parking, awsome atmosphere, A++
What amazes me is that they chose to build the new field at the same location as Shea. That neighborhood is absolutely surreal, as you walk through the blocks of auto mechanics and other auto shops in the neighborhood...
My take on Citi Field is that I miss Shea Stadium. If I was made of money my opinion may be different. It's a pretty ballpark on the outside but rather ugly on the inside. Don't be mislead. There are many bad seats or "blind spot" if you will. This is especially true for the ones located on the aisles where steps, a metal bar or a glass partition obstructs your view. The food selection there is excellent. Blue Smoke has a tremendous pulled pork sandwich. They added a stand on top of the rotunda on the promenade level right behind home plate where I sit. My location in section 516 row 3 is a bargain considering the prices in the ballpark as a whole. The view is great too unlike the majority of the seats regardless of what level you're on. As a everyday fan, my view may be a little warped but I'm going to see the game not the Shake Shack out in centerfield where I see people standing on line forever it seems. The ballpark has elevators but they're very small and they don't run often enough. For a so called first class facility, they did a poor job with them. Come to Citi Field and see for yourself. Everybody has a different need or want when it comes to the ballpark experience. Please be sure to pay Royalty a visit so we can enhance your experience in our own unique way. Thank you for reading my point of view. Yours truly, Gary Herman
Great job on the Stadium. Modernized but still has the hometown feel that the Mets bring. Food was good, left field seats had a great view.
Decided to spend Memorial Weekend in New York City and catch a game at Citi Field on Memorial Day. While we rode the subway in Manhattan, I wanted to visit Jackie Robinson's grave so we drove to the stadium. Had no trouble getting there and parking was plentiful and not too expensive. There is also a subway station at the park so, if you are comfortable getting around by subway, you can beat this park for accessibility. The food was very good. I had ribs from Blue Smoke and tried Garlic Frites too. It is very pricey ($6 for a regular dog) but this isn't too surprising since we're talking about New York. The stadium itself was OK but not great. One of the nicest features of newer stadiums is the ability to see the field while walking the main concourse or waiting in line at the food stands. For the most part, Citi Field offers these views. The exception is from behind home plate. While walking around the lower level, there is no view here. The fans were great! I wore a Phillies shirt and got some friendly ribbing from the folks around me. The crowd seemed very knowledgeable and passionate. They love their Mets! I didn't see too much of the neighborhood. We did search the internet for interesting local activities and came up empty. Instead, we visited Jackie Robinson's grave which is only a few miles away. Still, this isn't like visiting Detroit where you have to fear for your life. Overall, this is a very good place to watch a game. I'd rank the stadium behind Detroit, Baltimore, Philly and Boston but ahead of Cleveland and Yankee Stadium. As far as the overall experience, I'd says it is most similar to Philadelphia (a little remote and expensive, good food, easy access and passionate fans). Next time, I'll take the subway and, yes, there will be a next time.
I had a great time here. I loved the look and atmosphere of the ballpark, the food was good and the fans were better than I expected. The fans would actually lecture you if you got up during play which is good to see that they are that passionate. The ballpark was easy to get to from the train as well. All in all a very nice ballpark.
I was there for a game against the Tigers in the Summer of 2010. I'm not a baseball fan and went to my first game ever just for the experience while visiting New York. Although it didn't get me hooked on the game itself I really liked the stadium and the atmosphere. It was an everyday game of a season with a million games so the fact that the fans weren't exactly crazy there is easy to understand, but they were still great and I had a lot of fun.
The location is not great. It's not that hard to get there with the subway but it was extremely crowded, particularly on the way from the arena. The neighborhood around the stadium was dull to say the least.
I've enjoyed visiting Citi Field and think the stadium has much more character than the New Yankee Stadium. I especially like the Jackie Robinson Rotonda and the Pepsi Porch. The neighborhood sucks though. Not that it's unsafe, it's just non-exsistent.
CitiField is an amazing place to watch a ball game. There really isn't a bad place in the stadium to sit. There are some obstructed views into the right and left field corners depending on where you sit but they are overshadowed by the overall experience. The very best part of the place is the food! You can easily go to 10 games and not eat the same food twice! Also the pre and post game parties at McFaddens are exceptional!
Not a bad park but the aesthetics are horrible. The facade looks like no effort was put into it and it does not entirely cover the park it was meant to serve as a facade for. Inside the park the color scheme is too dark and the huge area behind the bridge is unadorned making the interior of the park look incomplete.
Vast improvements from the first season, including a new Mets Hall of Fame and Museum and some historical moments laid in the pavement outside. Easy to get to, around, and getting on the 7 express afterwards works well too. Tickets on the secondary market are often cheaper, while the Mets use dynamic pricing at the box office now. Still too many covered seats with limited views of the scoreboard, but far more enjoyable than when it opened in 2009.
Grand Central Parkway
Queens, NY 11368