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Rose Hill Gymnasium – Fordham Rams


Photos by Greg Venuto, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.29

Rose Hill Gymnasium Fordham University Bronx, NY 10458



Year Opened: 1925

Capacity: 3,470

 

Makeover Complete at Rose Hill Gym

Fordham University completed a 2-year project to build a new student center in 2022 and the culmination of the project was a new entrance to the legendary Rose Hill Gymnasium which connects the student center to the Arena. The new entrance creates an airy, sun-filled arcade with a sparkling glass entrance. The arcade brings together the new campus center with the Rose Hill Gym and the athletics facilities. It is an impressive upgrade.


Upon entering the arcade under a new glass canopy, students and fans can now either proceed left into the addition of the Joseph M. McShane, S.J. campus center and the original student center, right to enter the gym, or straight to head into the Vincent T. Lombardi Memorial Center, which is home to an indoor track, aquatics center, intramural and recreational basketball and volleyball courts.


The completion of the project enabled Fordham, a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference, to put back the bench seats under the basket to the right side as you enter which were not in use during construction.  The building still only seats 2,850 but can fit 3,200. There are chairbacks on both sidelines and bench seating behind the baskets. 


The historic Gymnasium opened on January 16, 1925, and is often compared to some of the meccas of college basketball including The Palestra in Philadelphia, Matthews Arena in Boston, Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, and John J. Lee Amphitheater in New Haven. Rose Hill is the oldest gym still being used in Division I.


The facility, which hosts basketball and volleyball, has undergone several makeovers during the past decade.  New video boards were installed in 2013, all of the stands were replaced in 2017 and in 2019 the entire floor and subfloor were replaced.


The name Rose Hill dates back to 1787 when Robert Watts, a wealthy New York merchant, acquired the property and named it after his family’s estate in Scotland.


Food & Beverage 3

Beverages have been upgraded since our last visit as Fordham unveiled a Balcony Bar serving beer and mixed drinks for the first time at Rose Hill.  There is a new concession stand as you enter the arena with standard stadium fare and is equipped to take both cash and credit cards. Water and bottled soda are $3.50.  Coke products are sold.  There are new bathrooms situated next to the concession stand.


Atmosphere 3

The atmosphere received a boost the last two seasons from what every school needs - wins. The Rams moved up to finish 3rd in the Atlantic 10 in 2023 and reached the A10 Semifinals at Barclays before falling to eventual champion Dayton.  But under second-year coach Keith Urgo, Fordham took a step back this regular season as the team could not replace three impact players.  The Rams returned to a familiar position in the bottom five of the standings.


Urgo dubbed the building “Rose Thrill” last season due to the raucous atmosphere bolstered by the student section which had a group that removed their shirts, painted their chests, and became The Shirtless Herd.  The fans have not brought the same energy this 2024 season as only one game has sold out thus far (an ESPN2 contest vs. Duquesne).  


The game day experience at Rose Hill Gym has been average for many years.  The team relies on support from a loyal but small contingent of alumni, as student support is lacking. 


The atmosphere is enhanced by the band, cheerleaders, and dance team who perform throughout the game and there is an in-game MC to lead the promotions.  The two large digital scoreboards at each end of the court are clear and often provide replays. The sound system is excellent, but probably a touch too loud. The public address system is a bit garbled.  


Fordham Dance Team, Photo by Greg Venuto, Stadium Journey


Neighborhood 3

The campus, while set in the Bronx, feels like a suburban setting with plenty of trees and greenery. Visitors often can forget they are in the middle of a city until hearing an occasional horn or siren from outside the gate. The University also boasts an impressive church built in 1845.


The campus borders the New York Botanical Garden, with the Bronx Zoo located just a few blocks from campus. Visitors to the area looking for places to eat during their trip to Fordham should head over to Arthur Avenue where several fantastic Italian restaurants can be found in addition to some great bakeries.  A few of my favorite restaurants include Enzo’s, Roberto’s, Antonio’s and Tra Di Noi.


Fans 3

Fan support has been decent this 2024 season but not what it was last season.  The Rams are averaging 1,805 which is up from 1,135 from last year, but of course, more seats are available.


The school is always striving to get more locals and students in the building. When the place is packed it makes for a great atmosphere as sound reverberates and it can get loud.  All of the seats are close to the action even on the balcony which contains only two rows of seats.


Access 3

Fordham University is located right in the middle of the Bronx, only a few miles from Interstates 95 and 87, as well as the Bronx River Parkway.


Public transportation is a good option. The Metro North Railroad out of Grand Central Station or coming down from Westchester has a Fordham stop next to the campus. Botanical Garden stop is another option and actually a shorter walk to the gym.  The D line of the NYC subway system is located about a 12-minute walk from campus. In addition, city buses stop regularly just outside the gate.


If driving, there is a large parking garage ($15) on campus, located a short walk from Rose Hill Gym. The school runs a shuttle from the garage to just outside the gym for those who do not want to make the 5-minute walk. Sometimes fans can get lucky and find a few free spots on Southern Boulevard.


Return on Investment 4

Tickets for Fordham Rams basketball games are affordable, chairbacks are $35 ($30 for youth and seniors), and baseline reserved is $25/$20. With affordable concession prices, catching a Fordham basketball game is a less costly entertainment option for New York sports fans. 

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Extras 4

One point for the historic significance of the building which will turn 100 in January.  From the stone facade to the seats so close to hear the players and coaches, Rose Hill is a real treat and a true throwback arena.


Rose Hill Gym Front, Photo by Greg Venuto, Stadium Journey


The new entrance which includes a new box office, concession stand, bathrooms, and book store is both an aesthetic and functional improvement to the game day experience.


Hanging from the rafters are the Fordham conference and playoff appearance banners on one side and the flags of the Atlantic 10 and its 14 conference opponents on the other. Five retired numbers hang from the baseline - Charlie Yelverton (34), Ken Charles (44), Bob Mullens (7), Ed Conlin (11) and Anne Gregory (55). 


The proximity to Little Italy and the great stores, restaurants, delicatessens and pastry shops of Arthur Avenue is worth of another point.  Fans should make an effort to get to the Bronx’s Little Italy either pre or post-game.


Final Thoughts

A Stadium Journey to this basketball mecca should be on every sports fan’s bucket list. There is also plenty to do in the area before or after to add to the experience. The Little Italy section of the Bronx is a 10-minute walk offering some excellent Italian restaurants and pastry shops.  The campus, with its Gothic architecture, ivy-covered buildings, and expansive lawns, makes Rose Hill one of New York City’s most attractive college campuses. 


Follow Greg Venuto’s stadium journeys on Twitter @VenutoGreg and Facebook Facebook.

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