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Official Review by David Berger, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
New York does things big. So much so, that sometimes the smaller gems can get overlooked in the city that never sleeps. Staten Island is the red-headed stepchild of the five boroughs, known more for being the home of the "Jersey Shore" guidos and guidettes than for any of its outstanding benefits as an affordable bedroom community only a short ferry ride from Wall Street.
So it may be that the Staten Island Yankees are overlooked, as well. As a short-season rookie ball team, the level of play is low, and it carries none of the star power available in the Bronx or Queens. Even Brooklyn, with their Cyclones, gets better press.
All that aside, a visit to Richmond County Bank Ballpark in Staten Island is an undiscovered gem. It's a beautiful, cozy ballpark, with some of the greatest views imaginable. Tickets top out at $18 and it's just a 25-minute free ferry ride from lower Manhattan.
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 food options are pretty pedestrian, which is both sad and kind of expected. When you're in a city with some of the greatest food options in the world, and you're managing a small minor league ballpark, is it really in your best interests to try and compete?
The food is good, but it's fairly basic. Burgers, dogs and cheesesteaks are the primary options, with a few specialties mixed in. There are also kosher options available in the main concession area.
Instead of focusing on food, they've primarily focused on a strong craft beer selection. Alongside the Budweiser staples, you'll find a handful of regional craft selections to consider.
Atmosphere at Richmond County Ballpark is primarily a function of where it's set. With a location just on the other side of the river from Wall Street and lower Manhattan, this ballpark has some of the best skyline views in the world. From home plate you've got a clear view across the water to Battery Park, the Statue of Liberty and the World Trade Center.
The ballpark crowds on the night I visited were rather sparse, but lively. Average attendance in 2016 was 2250, down 30 percent from 2015. Fans know the game, though, and as typical for New Yorkers, they have no qualms about expressing their opinions.
If you're looking for crowd energy to drive your enjoyment, it's probably best to pick a weeknight or holiday, when crowds are likely to be larger. But on any night, you're likely to encounter some larger-than-life personalities with their own brand of in-seat entertainment.
There's not much to do in the surrounding area. The primary benefit of the area is the waterfront, and the access to the Staten Island Ferry. They've built a small urban park along the waterfront, sandwiched between the ballpark and the terminal, which offers more of the outstanding views of lower Manhattan.
For most people, journeying to this ballpark probably includes time in Manhattan before and after the game. If you're looking for pre-game meals or post-game excitement, you're better off at that end of the terminal, as there are copious options to consider.
A die-hard to a Staten Island Yankees game is going to be a bit of a character, in and of himself. That said, this is the New York-Penn League, and the rookie-level nature typically brings you a bunch of unknown future Yanks. So, it's difficult to really be about the team, and not just about the game and the experience.
Fans are watching the game, and watching each other. They tend to be engaged in the action, which is a positive. There really just needs to be more of them. An average of under 2,500 a game makes it hard to gauge the true level of fandom, especially in a market this large. The Brooklyn Cyclones are 30-45 minutes away, and draw more than 6,200 on average at the same level.
Driving in New York is a nightmare, but it's an option. Primarily, attending SI Yankees games will be done by residents, or those taking the Staten Island Ferry. To be honest, if you're not taking the Ferry before and after the game, you're missing out on a key piece of the experience. The ferry is free and runs every half hour or hour, depending on time of day. The quick cruise across the cool water, especially after the game, past the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island is magical - especially at night after the game ends. You can't help but disembark with a smile on your face - which is kind of the point of a night out at the game in the first place.
A game in Staten Island is a bargain, a significant cost savings against the big-boy Mets and Yankees. The free transportation also make these "Yankees of the future" a very economical night out. There really aren't any bad seats in a ballpark of this size. At an $18 top ticket price, it's hard to go wrong. They also have four-game discount packs that can save you additional dollars, if you plan to see a few games.
While the park itself might be fairly bare-bones, the view of the harbor and lower Manhattan alone is worth the four stars. It's a beautiful and underappreciated perspective on the city, as a relative few ever experience it all from this angle.
If you have a chance before the game, check out the urban park along the waterfront. This is a great place to relax and take it all in before heading into the ballpark.
An interesting quirk - the right field concourse is a little awkward, as you have to go down a steep flight of stairs on your way to the right field corner. There are a couple of unique food stands down that way, and it also leads to a small picnic area tucked into the corner. The whole area seems kind of isolated from the rest of the park due to the staircase, but it's worth a look if you have some time to walk around the park.
Member Review by Prince
The Richmond County Bank Ballpark at St. George is the home of the 4 time NY-Penn League Champion Staten Island Yankees. It also hosted the NY-Penn League All-Star Game in 2010.
The ballpark is conveniently located on the most Northern tip of Staten Island and is adjacent to Staten Island Ferry Terminal which makes getting to and from very easy especially if you're visiting from New York City.
This is an ideal place to take a family or a group. They offer a tremendous entertainment value, which pales in comparison to seeing the Bronx Bombers, the New York Yankees.
Speaking of the NY Yankees, a number of players have started their professional careers right here in Staten Island. For example, current Yankees Robinson Cano, Brett Gardner, Francisco Cervelli as well as recent call up Colin Curtis spent time honing their skills in Staten Island.
Member Review by uita71 on Jul 21, 2013
Of all the major sports throughout the world, baseball is unique in the way that we judge our ballpark experience not only by what we see inside the arena, but what we’re able to see outside of it. When a fan goes to a sporting event, be it football, basketball, hockey, soccer, etc, their focus is strictly on the field of play. With rare exceptions (Lambeau Field comes to mind), a football or soccer stadium can be placed in the middle of downtown or 20 miles away in an open lot; it doesn’t affect the overall experience in a large way.
Baseball is different. The must-see ballparks of the game (Camden Yards, AT&T Park, PNC Park, Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, Target Field) are considered so because they are pleasing to the eye, both inside the lines and outside the lines. It’s impossible for a fan at PNC Park not to take frequent glances at the ever-changing skyline, and anyone who’s attended a game at AT&T Park raves about the unlimited views of the gorgeous San Francisco Bay, along with the countless number of sailboats, kayaks, and yachts that fill McCovey Cove on a daily basis. The surroundings add to the overall experience at a baseball game, and they are what make these places so special to fans.
Although on a smaller scale, a handful of minor league parks share similar traits, which puts them in the rare category of ‘must see’ ballparks. Richmond County Bank Ballpark along the northern edge of Staten Island, New York belongs in this group, and should be on any baseball fan’s list when considering future visits.
Member Review by sportsroadtrips on Jul 07, 2014
Can't add much to the review. A typical minor league park in a fantastic setting. One thing to note - there are a few $9 seats and as the crowds are not that great (less than 2,000 on a perfect Sunday afternoon on a long weekend), you can generally sit where you want.
87 Stuyvesant Place
Staten Island, NY 10301
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