Yankee Stadium - New York Yankees
Photos by Greg Venuto, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.00
Yankee Stadium 1 E 161st St Bronx, NY 10451
Year Opened: 2009
New York’s House Belongs to Judge
The New York Yankees have not won a World series since the new Yankee Stadium (version No. 3) opened in 2009. On December 22, 2022, the Yankees signed superstar Aaron Judge to a 9-year, $360 million deal and named him the 16th Yankees captain. Whether Judge can take the Yankees back to the pinnacle remains to be seen.
But the crowds are back this year with many fans sporting Judge’s 99 on their backs. Yankee Stadium is the home field for the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball (MLB) and New York City FC of Major League Soccer (MLS), as well as being the host stadium for the annual Pinstripe College Football Bowl game in late December.
Aaron Judge on Scoreboard at Yankee Stadium, Photo by Greg Venuto, Stadium Journey
Food & Beverage 5
The Yankees do have some of the most varied food options in MLB. Some of the popular food choices include Nathan’s Famous hot dogs, Bobby Flay’s “Bobby’s Burgers”, Foku Fried Chicken from Chef David Chang, The Mac Truck (Buffalo Chicken and classic Mac & Cheese), Lobel’s including the steak sandwich, meatloaf burger and steak topped fries, Sweetbird from chef Marcus Samuelsson featuring chicken sandwiches and chicken and waffles and Mighty Quinn’s BBQ.
One of the most publicized new items is the 99 Burger which cost $19.99. Only 199 are sold per game and the line forms early at Section 223. It consists of two 4oz wagu beef patties, new school american cheese, caramelized onions, dill pickles and special sauce on a brioche bun. The best deal is the bucket of chicken strips and fries for $20. A large craft beer is $15.99 and a Poland Spring water is $5.69.
Our Stadium Journey tip is to bring in food and water to get you started and cut down on the exorbitant prices. Fans can grab snacks, beer, sweets or whatever is your pleasure later. There is an option to order from your seat on Uber Eats and pick up the food at various concession stands for no additional fees.
The atmosphere appears to be elevated following the pandemic. Yankee fans are hungry to see their team appear in the World Series for the first time since 2009. Most of the games are close to if not sold out. The only issue is the lack of star power since Judge left the line up in early June, but fans are still flocking to the Bronx. Rookie shortstop Anthony Volpe is causing some commotion as he stunned many by winning an every day slot out of spring training at age 22.
The “moat” seating area between the bases takes away some of the excitement as the more enthusiastic fans are kept out of those seats. Often some of the best seats are not filled for the entire game since fans could be eating in the dining room underneath the seating area.
The centerfield scoreboard, while no longer the largest in MLB, is huge and still an asset. The ground crew still dances to the Village People’s YMCA while sweeping the infield after the 6th inning. It may seem like a tired tradition, dating back to 1996, but the fans still get into it.
Two major attractions are Monument Park and the Yankees Museum. Monument Park closes 45 minutes prior to game time. The Museum is opened from 90 minutes before until the end of the eighth inning. The centerpiece of the Museum is the “Ball Wall” a collection of autographs of current and former Yankees.
There are many club seating areas including the Audi and Delta Clubs, the Jim Beam Suites and the Legends seating down below which includes unlimited high-end food and alcohol. One negative is all Yankee Stadium gates open 1.5 hours before first pitch which should be adjusted to 2 hours so fans can take part in seeing the Yankees take batting practice.
The nearby neighborhood is hardly attractive but it still gets a good crowd of typically younger fans to hang out before and after games. Billy’s Sports Bar at 856 River Avenue seems be attracting the biggest crowds this season. There is also Stan’s on 836 River Avenue and the Dugout on 880. At Gate 6 is the Hard Rock Cafe, a solid option for both eating and drinking. There are a few places to eat outside including the Court Deli, US Fried Chicken and McDonald’s.
Yankee fans were spoiled by all the success of the late 90s and early 2000s and expect the team to be in the playoffs every year. The Yankees have gone without a World Series since 2009 and the stadium has suffered from a lack of buzz. The fans are supportive, but quick to boo underachievers and miscues.
The fans at times are more enthused by the Great Subway Race and the Cap Game, but the pitch clock does have more eyes focused on the field instead of cellphones. The wave is now making an appearance at most games. The death star siren that is unleashed sometimes with two strikes on the opposing hitter should be eliminated. The Legend seats are more full this year and attendance of over 42,000 per night has become commonplace. The “Bleacher Creatures” in the right field bleachers seem to be invigorated. Listen for their Roll Call in the top of the first as they call out the outfielders and infielders and are acknowledged by each player, a tradition going strong since 1998. It is truly a special scene not to be missed.
Yankee Stadium is easy to get to and best accessed by train via Metro North or Subway. The D, B, and No. 4 all stop at the ballyard. No. 4 is the elevated line with the D & B underground The B train only runs on weekdays. All Metro-North lines (Hudson, Harlem & New Haven) stop at Yankee Stadium. The Hudson Line offers the best access as no transfer at 125th Street is needed. Inbound to Yankee Stadium most Harlem and New Haven line trains require fans to detrain at 125th street and wait for a train going northbound one stop to the Stadium. In the evening, most trains run direct, but on weeknights, fans may have to wait till the game ends to get a direct train or choose to go back to 125th to wait for a northbound train.
Yankee Stadium River Ave, Photo by Greg Venuto, Stadium Journey
There are four gates for entry and exit. Gate 2 by River Avenue and next to the Hard Rock is often the most crowded as people getting off the subway feed right into that area. Gate 8 in centerfield almost under the Elevated No. 4 train is often the least crowded gate.
Kudos to Yankee Stadium security as crowds are entering faster than usual. Yankee Stadium had embraced new technology where fans only have to remove cell phones upon entry. Only MLB-compliant bags - presently soft-sided and 16 inches by 16 inches by 8 inches or smaller - and small soft-sided personal items will be admitted. A clear plastic backpack is a great option and was not even searched on my two most recent visits to Yankee Stadium.
The Deegan Expressway offers access to Yankee Stadium but can get congested especially on weeknights. Another entry point is the Grand Concourse from the north or south and sometimes fans can luck out and get a free spot or there are a few garages about 7-10 minute walk from the Stadium that is less expensive than the ones next to or connected to the Stadium. Stadium Journey recommends ParkMobile or Park Wiz where fans can pay between $15-$30 depending upon which lots are available.
Return on Investment 4
Yankees do tend to run some ticket specials including about five to eight $5 games a year for upper-level seats (terrace in the outfield and grandstand) on a weeknight typically in April to early June and one September date. Those often go on sale as early as September for the following season. Another worthwhile offer is Mastercard half price games for Terrace, and Bleacher seating. The Yankees also offer $10 grandstand tickets for select games.
The Pinstripe Pass is a bargain at $15 and includes a general admission standing room only ticket to the Stadium with your first drink included (a 12 oz. domestic beer, Pepsi product or Poland Spring bottled water). Food prices are off the charts and souvenirs are too expensive for many families.
Seats in the upper level right behind home plate (Grandstand) offer a good view, but are still higher than they were in the previous Yankee Stadium. Field level seats are stellar but costly, the main level (200s) for the most part is excellent and usually a bit less costly. If fans chose the left field corner you may not be able to see the large video board depending on how close the seat is to the bleachers and how far back it is located in the section.
The age-old argument is whether or not the stadium is as good as the last version. Granted it is not as loud, partly due to the open air configuration, but it is still aesthetically pleasing to the eye. The designers modeled it to look retro from the majestic main gate to the old Armitron Clock above left center field to the flags circling the top that still display each team in the order of the position they currently hold in the AL and NL standings. The bathrooms are generally more spacious and most have an entrance and an exit. On the downside, leg room could be better especially in the upper deck and the bleacher area walkway is too cramped.
Yankee Stadium does a good job of blending old and new. Yankee Stadium's frieze is a classic piece of architecture. It lined the roof of the original Yankee Stadium from 1923 to 2008 and has been carried over to the latest version. Monument Park and the Museum are impressive as well as the bars in left and right center where young people enjoy congregating.
Yankee Stadium is still an iconic ballpark even with a few too many “bells and whistles.” It clearly is worthy of a Stadium Journey for not just baseball fans but all sports fans alike.