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Official Review by Brian Merzbach, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Provident Bank Park opened in 2011 amid controversy as there had been protests and lawsuits from the Preserve Ramapo group from the day the project started, but ultimately these never slowed the progress of the ballpark construction. Now that it has been open for several years, it seems like the opposition has quieted and the people in the area have mostly embraced the ballpark. Located about one hour north of New York City, Provident Bank Park is situated in Pomona, part of the very affluent Rockland County (hence the name of the team).
Attendance has been solid (averaging around 3,000 per game each season), though it still has a feeling of being a bit empty on some nights (especially on weekdays). With so much disposable income in the area, it seems that attendance should be better than it is, but perhaps the level of play (Can-Am League) has turned some people off. Still, a night out at PBP is an extremely enjoyable experience especially compared to the closest alternative (Dutchess Stadium). The ballpark is by far the best in the league, even if the prices are a bit on the high side for minor league baseball. It would be great to see a higher (or affiliated) level of pro baseball here, but that does not appear to be in the works in the immediate future.
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".
The Boulders offer a decent array of concessions including specialty hot dogs and burgers, chicken fingers, chicken sandwiches, bratwursts, helmet nachos (either regular or Irish), and pizza from the famous Kinchley's Tavern in nearby Ramsey, New Jersey. In addition, there is one stand that sells kosher food items (though it is not open every game). All the specialty burgers and hot dogs can be bought as "baskets," which include French fries. These make for a good value if you plan on eating your dinner at the ballpark.
If you are looking for something to satisfy your sweet tooth, there actually isn't a lot here. While Italian ice (Rita's) and Dippin Dots are available, real ice cream does not seem to be available every night. An ice cream truck which serves up helmet sundaes can be found on some days.
Beer is sold out of free standing carts set up along the concourse, as well as at a craft beer nook on the third base side of the concourse. Overall, the food is above average, but beware on busy nights as the lines can be quite long at the concession stands. Prices are a bit higher than what you will find at most parks, but that is probably because of its location near New York City. Burger baskets are $9, hot dog baskets are $7.50, fries are $4, helmet nachos are $9, and regular sodas are $4. The cheapest individual hot dog is $3.75. Beer is $7 for domestic and $8 for premium, though every Thursday is $1 beer night.
The atmosphere at Provident Bank Park is for the most part very laid back. The team does not inundate their fans with unnecessary sound effects or music and lets the game be the attraction. This is certainly a refreshing change from so many other minor league parks which do everything they can to distract their fans (see nearby Dutchess Stadium). One other aspect that I appreciate is the small number of ushers. So many ballparks have tons of ushers standing around needlessly bothering fans. But not here - they are very unobtrusive and only help you if asked upon. Hooray for that!
The Boulders have a mascot, Boulder Bird, who makes several appearances each night and who seems to interact well with the kids. Also for the kids, there is a playground ("Boulderberg") in the right field corner and a small train (The "B" train) which circles the concourse. This train is free of charge. The Boulders also have an unusually high number of fireworks night - almost every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night. This seems a bit excessive, but they do bring out the fans.
There really is no neighborhood to speak of. Provident Bank Park is located right off the Palisades Parkway in Pomona, but there are no restaurants or bars within walking distance. You'll have to drive a couple miles to US 202 where there is a diner as well as some other upscale restaurants.
As can be expected at most minor league parks, the fans are a mix between those who are there to see baseball and cheer on their home team and those who are just there for a social outing, though it does seem that most fans at PBP are paying attention to the game. With a location in a wealthy, suburban area, it is not surprising to see most of the crowd made up of young professionals and families. The turnout has surely been lower than what the team expected (they are only playing to 50% capacity on most nights), but still it is good enough for tops in the league.
Provident Bank Park could not be much easier to get to. It is located right off the Palisades Parkway, about an hour north of New York City. A large, paved parking lot surrounds the ballpark. A fee of $5 is charged per car. The one problem with the location is the egress because there are only two exits (both onto single lane roads), so it may be slow getting out on nights with big crowds.
While people who compare Provident Bank Park to MLB parks in New York may think that it's a bargain, veteran minor league travelers will be surprised at some of the high prices. A ticket will set you back between $11 and $15 (a buck more on Fireworks nights). They used to have a cheaper bleacher ticket available, but they stopped offering this in 2015. One annoying aspect is that the team does not build tax into the price of the ticket, so an $11 ticket will actually cost something like $11.83.
Concessions are also on the high side with the cheapest hot dog being $3.75 and the cheapest burger being $6. The parking fee of $5 is also a bit steep, especially since most of the teams in the Can-Am League don't even charge. Scorecards are available for a reasonable $1. Overall, Provident Bank Park is not cheap, especially compared to other minor league parks.
Provident Bank Park definitely gets bonus points for some unique features. First and foremost is the Bridge Bar in left field. Made of stone, it is meant to resemble the many bridges on the nearby Palisades Parkway. Underneath the bridge, is a bar and large open area where fans can stand and watch the game from field level.
Second, behind the right field fence are two other interesting seating areas. The first is the "Billboard" pavilion seats, which give the fans seated there a bar to rest their food and drinks on. Strangely, these seats never seem to be available for sale, so apparently anyone can sit there. Also in right field is the "Short Porch" - a group area on field level with its own rows of seating.
One other cool feature is the batting cages, which are located along the first base concourse. Before the game, fans can peer in and watch as the players take their practice cuts. During the game, kids are allowed to take some swings, free of charge, in the cages.
Besides the normal suites which are located above the concourse, there are also open air "loge" boxes which fans can rent out. These offer small groups some privacy as well as a full catered experience. Also, there is a "dugout" suite that is available for renting. This is literally an extension of the home dugout, so it allows fans to see the game from the same perspective as the players do.
The setting here is also worth noting. It is quite bucolic with trees and mountains providing the backdrop. Views are best from the first base side where fans can witness the setting sun against the mountains. The Boulders owner calls it the "best sunset north of Key West," though that may be a slight exaggeration.
Member Review by ballparkreviews
Amid controversy, Provident Bank Park finally opened in June of 2011. There had been protests and lawsuits from the Preserve Ramapo group from the day the project started, but ultimately these never slowed the progress of the ballpark construction. Now that it's been built, it seems like the opposition has quieted and the people in the area are beginning to embrace the ballpark. Located about 1 hour north of New York City, Provident Bank Park is located in affluent Rockland County (hence the name of the team).
During its inaugural season, the ballpark still had a somewhat unfinished feel, but this may be because it was rushed to completion. Hopefully by 2012 everything will be finished. Despite this, I was very impressed with what I saw during my visits in the summer of '11. It is easily the most impressive facility among those in the Can-Am League - in fact, it is probably too good for this low level independent league. So far, attendance has only been so-so, but this may be because the Boulders got a late start. It will be interesting to see how the team and ballpark progress in the coming years.
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