Photos by Sean Rowland, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.86
Maimonides Park 1904 Surf Ave Brooklyn, NY 11224
Year Opened: 2001 Capacity: 7,500
Maimonides Park– Brooklyn Cyclones
Throughout the early 20th century, Brooklyn was one of the hotbeds of baseball in America. The Brooklyn Dodgers were the heart and soul of the borough for over 65 years until "Dem Bums” moved to Los Angeles in 1957. Brooklyn was without professional baseball for over 40 years until it returned in 2001, not in the Flatbush neighborhood where the Dodgers had played at Ebbets Field, but now on Coney Island, by way of the Brooklyn Cyclones.
First members of the short-season New York-Penn League, the Cyclones survived the “Great Minor League Contraction” of 2020 and were also elevated from the NY-Penn League to the High-A, South Atlantic League affiliate of the New York Mets.
Food & Beverage 3
Despite the food options at Maimonides Park being slightly above the status quo, they have a decent amount of better-than-average concessions when compared to what might be found at comparable minor league ballparks. Be on the lookout for the concessions stand selling knishes though – they are a definite treat. And would it be a true New York experience without a slice of pizza? There is a specialized pizza oven down the third base concourse; the only drawback is that it does not seem to be in use regularly.
It just would seem wrong if a baseball stadium in Brooklyn served anything other than Nathan’s Famous hot dogs – the Coney Island staple is the hot dog of choice at Maimonides Park, and their flagship location is just two blocks away.
Keeping with the taste of local indulgences, Coney Island Brewing’s Mermaid Pilsner and NY Mer Man IPA, as well as Brooklyn Brewery’s Pulp Art Hazy IPA and Summer Ale are served at the stadium. Those who are looking for more national beers or non-craft options have a selection from the Miller family of beers, Truly Seltzer, and Twisted Iced Tea to choose from. In addition, even more, alcohol choices are available through several frozen drinks, margarita popsicles, and boozy ice cream in many different flavors.
Concession prices are a touch high for some items, rivaling those at many major league ballparks. Kosher options are available throughout the stadium; there are a handful of stands labeled with their kosher food choices.
In all, even though there is no wow factor of anyone concessions item, the selection of adult beverages and local favorites does set Maimonides Park apart from most.
The neighboring carnival atmosphere of the area seamlessly flows into Maimonides Park. From the red and yellow alternating lights and neon of the ticket windows to the neon-colored hoops on each of the stadium’s lighting stanchions, along with the 262-foot World’s Fair-era Parachute Jump tower just beyond the right field wall, brings the visual components of the midway into the stadium. Screams from riders of the Thunderbolt roller coaster and the carnival barker personality of in-game host King Henry also add to the unique atmosphere of the stadium.
One of the unique features of Maimonides Park is, other than the suites and themed gathering areas, the field level seating bowl has one price for all tickets. Fans on the first base side of the field tend to be a bit more rambunctious in their support of the Cyclones, while lower levels on the third base side of the stadium provide spectacular views of the grandstand, with its yellow and blue awning, colored accent lighting, and the parachute tower. In addition, seating in the upper levels of the suite area of the stadium provides views of the Coney Island boardwalk, pier, and Atlantic Ocean.
Brooklyn puts on a well-orchestrated show for fans each night between several clever themed nights, well thought-out gate giveaways, and the mid-inning games hosted by King Henry. The Cyclones have been recognized as one of the top organizations in minor league baseball with numerous Golden Bobblehead Award nominations, awarded for top promotions and events. Given their New York City location, many promotions have centered around Seinfeld characters or popular scenes from the long-running sitcom.
When it comes to the overall game experience at Maimonides Park, the Cyclones do an excellent job of bringing the fun and excitement of the surrounding area inside the stadium.
Maimonides Park is bordered by several high-rise residential buildings and the famed Coney Island boardwalk. The park is at the junction where urban residential meets New York City’s beaches.
The culture from the Coney Island boardwalk and pier just outside the stadium feels at one with the ballpark. On busy weekends, Latin music coming from the boardwalk provides a beautiful musical backdrop as the teams warm up; the only drawback is the stadium speakers frequently drown out the nearby music.
The Luna Amusement Park neighbors Maimonides Park for three blocks outside the outfield fences and sets the background for the stadium – it also provides a lot of thrills to experience before heading through the gates for a game.
Just a short walk from the ballpark is legendary Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs, world recognized for their Fourth of July hot dog eating competition. However, though Nathan’s is the most iconic of the food options in the area, there are a seemingly endless number of food shops serving fried clams, oysters, shish-kebob, Italian sausage, and assorted sweet treats. Fans looking for a pre-game craft beer need to, look no further than Coney Island Brewery, which is part of the outer side of Maimonides Park.
If something a bit more lowkey than the excitement of the midway and beach is more up your alley, the New York Aquarium is a short walk down the boardwalk.
Fans arriving hours before the gates open will find themselves with nearly an endless number of options to fill their time before entering the stadium, and this does not include the endless choices in Brooklyn or the rest of New York City.
Cyclone fans remind you that Brooklyn still has a love affair with the game of baseball. Attendance numbers do fluctuate greatly throughout the season, but come the summer months attendance ranges from 4,000 to 6,000 on most nights, with weekend day games being the most popular. This is consistent with the success the Cyclones saw while members of the New York-Penn League when they were commonly the top attendance draw in the league. Now as a full-season affiliate, the crowds still show up, but early-season attendance can be a bit modest.
It is just not the attendance that helps to add to the experience at Maimonides Park, but fans sit on the edge of their seats, ready to celebrate each Cyclone's run or outstanding play. What makes the fans in Brooklyn special though is not necessarily their passion for baseball, but the way they celebrate the team’s successes together – it is not uncommon for a whole section of fans to erupt in jubilation following a pivotal play in the game.
The ease of getting to Maimonides Park depends a lot on how you plan to get to the ballpark. If arriving by vehicle, it can be an adventure simply given the congestion of New York City’s highways and surface streets. On the other hand, New York is much easier to navigate via its subway system, which has a stop less than a half mile from the stadium.
If just passing through New York and driving to the stadium, be prepared to deal with the city traffic. If possible, taking the subway to Coney Island’s Stillwell Avenue stop is probably the best bet.
Return on Investment 3
Many think of New York City and the exorbitant prices that can come with it, but the Cyclones offer several tiers of tickets that make attending games a steal. Grandstand tickets start as low as $9, before fees for bargain games, while games held on premium dates run $20. Typical game tickets begin at $15 with fees added to online sales, but which can be avoided if tickets are purchased at the box office.
The affordability of pricing is relative to the location of the ballpark. Fans with proof of a game ticket can park for $10. This may seem to be a bit expensive for High-A baseball but is a good deal given the location of the ballpark and the fact that visitors to surrounding attractions are paying at least twice that rate.
Concessions at Maimonides Park are a bit on the higher side compared to other minor league parks – they are more on par with major league stadiums, but there are a handful of less expensive options.
A statue of Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese stands just outside the main gate. The statue memorializes the accounts of Reese supporting Robinson by putting his arm around his shoulder while Robinson was being tormented by hecklers early in his career. Though the exact account of the story is a bit inconsistent, the friendship between the two is well documented.
The artwork atop the scoreboard replicates the wooden structures of the Cyclone roller coaster, which is the namesake of the team and is visible in the distance over the left field wall.
Outside the stadium adjacent to the neighboring parking lot is the Wall of Remembrance which honors the 416 first responders who lost their lives when responding to the attack on the World Trade Center.
The Cyclones have a few ways they recognize the historical significance of the Brooklyn Dodgers; the “B” of the logo replicates the one used by the Dodgers almost exclusively during their days in Flatbush. In addition, the iron art at the end of each row of seats also makes use of the “Brooklyn B”.
The Dodgers may have left Brooklyn over 65 years ago, but the impact they had in creating a baseball-loving community is still felt today. The passion Brooklyn has for baseball creates a fun and knowledgeable baseball community. Partnered with the work the Cyclones do in meshing fans with fun, and the carnival atmosphere from neighboring Luna Park midway and the Coney Island boardwalk, baseball at Maimonides Park is one of the true gems in minor league baseball.