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The New York Football Giants used to play in their own stadium fittingly named Giants Stadium. Opened in 1976, it was their home until a louder, brasher tenant named the New York Jets moved in to begin the 1984 season. For the next 26 years, the teams shared the facility, but the name never changed, and the Giants were often considered, incorrectly, the ďownerĒ of the stadium due to their seniority and the stadium name.
That sort of confusion has been eliminated with the opening of MetLife Stadium in 2010, which was built with private funds from both teams, who now share the venue equally. Constructed in the Meadowlands Sports Complex adjacent to the ground where Giants Stadium stood, the stadium was first called New Meadowlands Stadium before MetLife stepped in and bought the naming rights.
MetLife Stadium is the largest stadium in the NFL in terms of the number of permanent seats, and at $1.6 billion, it is the most expensive stadium ever built. So what do Giants fans get for all that money? Read on to find out.
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".
Concessions stands are abundant and this means you don't have to wait long to purchase your food, at least before the game. You may expect prices to be astronomical, but they are generally in line with what you'll find at other NFL stadiums.
Most common are your typical stadium concessions such as the Boardwalk Fryer with hot dogs ($6) and chicken tenders with fries (4 pc for $11, 3 pc for $9) and Papa John's with $10 pizza (cheese or pepperoni).
Portable stands are also plentiful, with the Food Network offering $12 brisket sandwiches and Buffalo chicken mac'n'cheese for just $5. If you have a sweet tooth, stop by Mrs. Fields where 2 cookies are $6, the same price as a single brownie.
The MetLife Central area has some good variety, including an Asian Noodles and Dumplings stand with fried noodles or dumplings as choices, as well as a Premium Grilled Cheese stand. I tried the Premium Grilled Cheese ($8) and was disappointed, as I didn't find it premium at all; it had been made a few minutes earlier and was sitting on the grill. As you know, grilled cheese is best served as soon as it is ready.
Home Food Advantage has some different choices, including a pepper & egg sandwich, pork roll, and Nona Fusco's meatballs. Section 146 is the place to get a look at all of these, although other stands are scattered around.
There are value meals such as the Value Turkey Wrap ($7), which comes with a small bag of sliced apples and a very small soft drink cup. Other value meals include hot dogs, while there are value pretzels for just $3, and bottles of water for $2.
Specialty options for those who require kosher options are available on the 100 and 300 levels, and there are Gluten Free stands throughout. Your best bet is to stop by a guest services booth and pick up a Fan Guide that lists all concessions and their locations.
Soda is the one area where you might be shocked at the price, with a small pop running $5, souvenir cup costing a buck more, and a large cup at $8. Budget conscious visitors should sign up for the designated driver option, 30 seconds of your time gives you a free small soda, although it precludes you from purchasing the seriously overpriced draft beers.
Speaking of beer, if you want to avoid the usual Bud Light that pervades every NFL venue, Goose Island can be found for $12 a pint and there are Beers of the World stands throughout the upper concourse as well as the MetLife Central plaza. I saw one stand on the 300 level offering 12 oz. Busch Cans for $5.
Finally, there is the Captain Morgan Club, a full-service bar open to the public and located near section 143.
In general, you will not have a problem finding something to last you the 3 or 4 hours you spend at the stadium, but you might have to spend a bit of time to find what you want, and a bit of cash to acquire it.
The area around the stadium is notable for the 20 giant LED pylons along the perimeter. These display videos and statistics of Giants players, along with lots of advertising. If you arrive early, you can study these for a few minutes while waiting for gates to open, which happens two hours before kickoff. You can also spend some time at the Bud Light garden, where bottles are just $5 and there are activities and prizes to give away. There was even a Bud Light cook-off at the game I attended, where chefs had to make a dish with the beer as one of the ingredients.
During the game, there are your typical announcements, replays, out-of-town scores, and activities. It seemed a bit quieter than a Jets game, but I think that could have been due to where I was sitting, in one end zone. In particular, I found the announcements of each play to be quiet and difficult to follow.
Each corner of the stadium has a large HD video screen that shows replays and a few ads from time to time.
Overall, there is a fairly relaxed atmosphere compared to other NFL venues. As an example, there are no fireworks during the national anthem. That's not a complaint; I found it a welcome change from some of the louder, brasher stadiums that are more commonly encountered.
The Meadowlands is a swampland about ten miles west of Manhattan. There are a few other facilities in the Meadowlands Sports Complex, including the Izod Center (formerly the Brendan Byrne Arena), which once hosted the Devils (now in Newark) and Nets (now in Brooklyn) but is currently mostly used for concerts. The Meadowlands Racetrack is also nearby. However, there is almost nothing within walking distance, so once the game ends, you will climb in your car (or on the train) and get somewhere else as soon as possible.
Giants fans are a different breed than their Jets counterparts. They are more affluent, older, and much better behaved. They still get excited when the opposition has a third down opportunity, standing and screaming, but they seem to drink less and certainly get in fewer fights.
There were some obnoxious visiting fans at the game I attended, and the fans in my area treated him with humorous disdain throughout the game, which I found highly entertaining. It was less distracting than having them get in a fight and showed that you can fight those battles better with words than with your fists.
Getting to the stadium is easy enough through the Lincoln tunnel or points in New Jersey, with NJ-3 and the New Jersey Turnpike (I-95) providing access, but as you arrive on the stadium grounds, you might be confused by the signs if you are not familiar with the area or the parking situation. Do your research and get there early if you are a first time driver. Exiting the stadium works surprisingly well, with cars moving slowly but surely to one of many nearby highways.
The first problem with MetLife Stadium is getting a parking permit, as all lots require a pre-paid permit. If you are a season ticket holder, this isn't much of an issue, because you will have a parking permit issued with your plan. If you are a visitor though, you will have to buy a permit via the NFL Ticket Exchange, which is a secondary market with fluctuating prices.
There is no free street parking in the area, but some businesses offer parking along with a shuttle ride. Redd's restaurant nearby charges around $30 (prices differ by game, and you can reserve a spot in advance) and comes with a free appetizer and a 2-minute shuttle there and back. The Sheraton Hotel provides a shuttle for $5 each way, but parking for non-guests is $30, so Redd's is the better bet. A hotel with a free parking lot lies right next to the Sheraton and you can try this, as they don't seem to check parking even on game days. I noticed at least one fan parking here and sneaking over to the Sheraton for the shuttle. I also saw some fans walking, but would recommend against that option, there are few pedestrian walkways and a lot of traffic.
For a city the size of New York, transit options are relatively limited to MetLife Stadium. The stadium's own page lists your choices, but they are somewhat incomplete. The easiest way to get to MetLife Stadium from New York City is to take one of two trains from Penn Station, one via Hoboken, the other via Secaucus Junction. Either will get you there fairly quickly and the drop-off point is right next to the stadium, but expect big crowds and long waits on the way back, particularly if the transfers are not well timed. There are also buses from the Port Authority Terminal. The Giants transportation page summarizes these options.
Once there, you can do a lap around the entire stadium but there is an inordinate amount of fencing and signage that seems to serve no purpose other than to confuse you. Inside the stadium, the outer plaza was blocked by a phone tower under construction, so a full lap was not possible when I visited, but this should be fixed shortly.
Concourses are wide enough down low, but the 300 level can be busy as game time approaches and at halftime. Exiting via the stairwell from the top level will take some time, while ramps move more consistently.
Washrooms have long lines at halftime and even after the game, so expect to wait unless you can sneak out during a break in the action.
The Giants have some of the most expensive tickets in football, with lower deck end zone seats costing $145, the same as those in the 200 level end zones. If you sit in the 300 level, expect to pay $120 along the sidelines, and $110 in the end zones. Note that these are TicketMaster prices before taxes and fees.
The secondary market is robust in New York, but with the Giants suffering through a terrible 2013, you will be able to get in for far less. I found a lower level seat for $40 and some friends got in before game time for half that. Much depends on your situation, if you absolutely must get in the stadium with 4 people sitting together, the secondary market is a better option, but if you want to save money, then try your luck outside the stadium.
The Giants have a Legacy Club, a small room that contains memorabilia from throughout their storied history. All fans are admitted, it is just up the stairs from the MetLife Central area. All four Lombardi Trophies are on display here and the room is not open when the Jets are hosting a game, so if you want to see it, you gotta come for the Giants.
The MetLife Central area just inside the gate is a collection of games and promotional opportunities where you can pick up some swag or try your hand at kicking a field goal or throwing a pass.
There was an interesting bit outside the stadium where fans were getting the NY logo shaved into their hair. I resisted the urge to participate.
Finally, a point for the transformation from Sunday to Monday, it was difficult to believe it was the same venue even when seeing Jets and Giants games on back-to-back days.
The stadium is now decked out in the colors of whichever team is hosting that day, from the exterior lighting to the ring of honor. It might be worth visiting twice to see those differences, but if you can only see one team here, make it the Giants. The fact that you can see four Lombardi trophies and be entertained by the older, wiser, less obnoxious fans makes it the better destination for the average Stadium Journeyer.
MetLife Stadium opened to fevered anticipation in 2010, replacing the clunky and crumbling Old Meadowlands Stadium, which was characterized by terribly uncomfortable seating, a dingy and difficult-to-navigate concourse, and obstructed views.
The new Giants Stadium (which is shared with the Jets) still has some of the problems that the old stadium had (the edifice itself lacks character, and access/parking is still a total nightmare), but the seating, views of the field, cleanliness, and overall stadium-going experience have improved dramatically.
With any new stadium comes increased prices, both for tickets and concessions, but if you can spare a little extra cash, you will not be disappointed by the experience of attending a Giants game at MetLife Stadium.
This is the new home of the New York Football Giants. The sexy new Meadowlands Stadium, renamed MetLife Stadium, and at a cost of $1.2-billion, is one of the glitziest showplaces in the NFL, yet still retains a venue which is deferential to the average fan. The building is also shared with the NFL's New York Jets, but as will be explained, the stadium takes on a whole different look and feel, depending on who is the home team.
The New York Giants have a rich history that spans 84 years. They have played in the Polo Grounds, Yankee Stadium, Yale Bowl and Shea Stadium. Not until 1976 did Giants Stadium open the gates in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Giants Stadium is currently the 9th oldest stadium in the NFL and 3rd largest behind Fed-Ex Field and the new Cowboy stadium. Giants Stadium sits in the Meadowlands complex and seats 78, 741 people. Up until 2008 the New York Giants were sold out for every game and had a waiting list to obtain season tickets that was well over 20 years long. So, if you put your name on the season ticket request list in 1988, you might have gotten a call in 2008.
With the new stadium looming and the "Giant" increase in ticket prices, plus a rather "Giant" cost for a personal seat license ($1,000-$20,000) that waiting list has been contracted and circulated through twice over by Giant ticket managers to stimulate ticket sales for the new stadium.
First and foremost, I strongly disagree that the Giants needed a new Stadium. They had one of the very best venues to view a NFL game. They added additional luxury boxes earlier in this decade. Thanks to pure greed this place was built. In addition, they needed to displace the older generation of Giant fans and they now have succeeded.
As for the crowd at a Giant game it's very different from a Jet game. The one thing that remains a constant is that everybody loves a winner especially in the NYC area. With the Giants having won a Super Bowl 3 years ago, people love the Giants.
As many of their older fans have died off, the crowd has become younger.
When the Giants are winning, it's a great atomosphere. When they're losing the boo birds are out.
The Giant fans lost a great stadium so with this new one they got a raw deal.
When MetLife Stadium opened its doors in 2010, it was leaving behind countless moments in the old ďGiants StadiumĒ located directly across street. The $1.6 billion venue, which is also home to the New York Jets (lighting changes and image swapping occurs during the changeover), is as glamorous as they come in comparison to other NFL arenas. While the surrounding area of the stadium may dampen the mood to the average fan and cost them an arm-and-a-leg, the home of the defending Super Bowl champions offers great food, a dynamic atmosphere inside and out, as well as showcasing the long history of the Giants storied franchise.
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