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Official Review by David Hanson, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Located on campus of Fordham University in the Bronx, Rose Hill Gymnasium is the oldest college basketball arena currently in use. The arena opened in 1925 and has a rich history, serving as a barracks in World War II and playing host to the last high school game played by a young man named Lew Alcindor (later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar). Featuring bleachers on each end of the court, assigned seating along each sideline, and two rows of seating in the upper level on each side, not one of Rose Hill Gym’s 3,200 seats feels far from the Atlantic 10 basketball action on the court. The arena's classic gothic facade blends right in with the 15,000-student Jesuit institution’s academic buildings.
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".
Standard ballgame fare, including candy, pretzels, and hot dogs, is available at the concession stand in the front left corner of the gym as you enter. Bottled water and soft drinks are also available, and the prices are quite reasonable. Hot dogs, Powerade, and pretzels are the most expensive items on the menu at $3.50. There is another small concession stand in the lobby area outside the turnstiles with the same selection, but without hot dogs. The school dining hall is across the lobby from the gym entrance, but is for students and faculty only. As this is a college arena, alcohol is not sold.
For a 90 year-old gym that beats you over the head with its history, attending a Fordham basketball game at Rose Hill Gym feels like a modern event. Entering the arena from the lobby requires turning left or right as you pass the turnstiles, and hundreds of small plaques adorn the walls in each direction to make up Fordham's incredibly inclusive athletic Hall of Fame. Upon emerging from the entrance hall, fans see banner upon banner lining the far sideline to commemorate league titles and tournament runs from years past.
Despite all the building's focus on the past, the massive, high-tech video boards installed in 2013 on each end of the court give the proceedings a modern feel. The production values are above average for a mid-major program, with sponsored fan interaction segments during timeouts, contests on the court, an active band, a cheerleading squad, and dance team. The place has a college feel and a fantastic vibe.
The Fordham campus itself is spacious and pretty, even in the dead of winter, but the surrounding neighborhood is a bit seedy and doesn't feel like the kind of place you'd want to walk around alone at night. Even so, there are plenty of local college bars and restaurants nearby, mainly located on Arthur Avenue. The Bronx Ale House, The Jolly Tinker, and Howl at the Moon are a few of the hot spots. For students looking to grab a pre or postgame meal, the dining hall is adjacent to the gym.
Given its location in New York, the volume of alumni in the area, and the amount of students in attendance, Rams games have a neighborly feel and a friendly environment. The student section is located in the bleachers on the left side of the arena as you enter. The crowd is engaged, loud, and excited for the duration of the contest. Visiting fans are treated with respect, which is highly appreciated in a city like New York with transplants from all over the country. You couldn't ask more from a mid-major basketball arena experience.
As with pretty much any sporting event in New York City, driving your own vehicle to the arena for a game is not recommended. Parking is limited, traffic in the area is a disaster, and the number of one-way streets combined with major intersections near Fordham Road make for a perilous drive.
Public transportation (or a taxi) is the way to go. The Harlem and New Haven lines of the Metro North each stop at the edge of campus, a very short walk from the arena, and provide access to and from both Manhattan (the train lines end at Grand Central Station, 18 minutes away) and the northern suburbs of New York and Connecticut. The 4, B, and D lines of the subway are each also nearby, giving access to Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, and the rest of the New York City subway system. From the Grand Central subway station, the 4 train reaches Fordham in approximately 30 minutes when running its standard express route. The arena itself is handicap-accessible, and the wheelchair section is courtside.
General admission tickets for the bleachers on either end of the court are either $10 or $15 depending on the opponent, dirt cheap by New York sporting event standards. Courtside seats and those in the more private balcony areas run $25 apiece, and box seats in the sideline sections are $20. Senior and child tickets run $5 each. Coupled with the affordable concessions, attending a Fordham basketball game can cost as little as seeing a movie. Given the fantastic atmosphere and engaged fans, this is absolutely worth the money. Even for those with no ties to the school, it is completely worth the trek to the Bronx to see one of the hidden treasures of New York's sports scene. In a town flooded with overpriced entertainment options, Fordham Rams home games are worth every penny.
One star for the beautiful campus, which makes you forget you're in New York City. One star for the historical significance of the arena, once named one of ESPN's four "cathedrals" of college basketball. One star for the top-of-the-line video boards that make it feel like a professional operation at a mid-major school. One star for the fantastic vibe and friendly staff.
Member Review by jmmanc
New York City has a multitude of professional sports teams, which often causes the fanbase to overlook the city's collegiate teams. But the city also has a few historic venues that its college teams call home. One of these is located in the Fordham section of the Bronx on the Rose Hill campus of Fordham University.
Rose Hill Gymnasium is the oldest NCAA Division I on-campus basketball arena in the United States. The 3,470-seat stadium opened its doors on Jan. 16, 1925. At the time it was built, Rose Hill Gym was one of the largest on-campus facilities in the country, which earned it the nickname "The Prairie" since it was so big. However, today the arena seems moderately-sized compared to some other Division I stadiums.
The gymnasium is located right on Fordham's beautiful and historic campus. It blends right in with the other campus buildings; all of which have a traditional Gothic architectural look. It was also used as barracks during World War II.
Fordham is a Catholic institution with 8,000 undergraduate and 7,000 graduate students. Notable alumni include legendary coach Vince Lombardi, MLB Hall of Famer Frankie Frisch, and long-time Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully.
The Fordham Rams are members of the Atlantic-10 Conference with teams such as Temple University, Xavier University and the University of Dayton.
Rose Hill Gym was named by ESPN as one of the "Four Cathedrals" in college basketball. The other three are the Palestra (University of Pennsylvania), the Hinkle Fieldhouse (Butler University) and Payne Whitney Gym (Yale University).
Member Review by shamus170 on Jan 16, 2013
Fordham really is set in a great area of the Bronx with the NY Botanical Garden right across the street and the Bronx Zoo close by. Arthur Ave is awesome too for food. The campus is great and definitely worth a walk through. While the outside of Rose Hill has a great look with it's stone design, I agree with CigarBoy in that inside is not as charming as the other older arena's of its time. I also feel like Fordham is much better suited for the Patriot League or MAAC then the A-10. Though fan numbers are not huge, I was presently surprised to find a decent atmosphere during the game. I went to the UMass game on 1-13-13 and the fans really made Rose Hill rock as Fordham tried to come back in the second half.
Member Review by sportsroadtrips on Jan 21, 2016
Not quite the oldest gym as Northeastern's is about 15 years senior, but second in the nation. Very basic food options, but quite cheap. You can find cheaper pop at nearby vending machines. Nothing special about the atmosphere, they had a problem with the shot clock buzzing for a few minutes that thankfully corrected itself. Fans are good, full student section though not particularly loud. Easy to get to from Manhattan on the subway or Metro North. Tickets are $15 for end zone and $20 for reserved on the sidelines but well worth it as you are right on top of the action. Make sure to see McGinley Center for all the history of Fordham Football, including the 1942 Sugar Bowl Trophy, won by #6Fordham 2-0 over #7 Missouri.
600 E 187th St
Bronx, NY 10458
387 Bedford Park Blvd
Bronx, NY 10458
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