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Visiting Yankee Stadium (The "New" One)
When I comment Yankee Stadium, I’m often asked, “Have you been?” and “What did you think?” Of course, I have to make sure we’re talking about the same place I’ve been to both the original Yankee Stadium and the “new” or “newer” or “current” Yankee Stadium…or whatever people call it. (They don’t have that problem in Boston.) Anyway, while I appreciate the historical significance of the original stadium, and have visited it many more times than the newer version, I’m pleased to say that the the new Yankee Stadium that’s fine in my book. It’s solid, it’s beautiful, it’s clean, spacious and modern. It had to be built – the old place was struggling. But while the structure is magnificent, the experience of attending a game is different from the old Yankee Stadium, and some aspects make me miss the old days.
The new Yankee Stadium opened in April 2009. I had my first experience there in June of that year when my wife, Evelyn, took me there (and the rest of New York) for a birthday very numbered (which will remain a mystery). ) celebration He set everything up: tickets, parking passes, hotel, etc. It was a surprising gesture on her part, since she’s not the biggest baseball fan (or lover of big cities) on the planet. As the day wore on, I began to feel guilty and shocked when I learned what this Yankee Stadium experience cost Evelyn in both dollars and sanity.
We arrived at 10:45 for a 1:00 Thursday afternoon game. Evelyn paid a week earlier to park in a garage on River Avenue. I got to see Yankee Stadium! Great! All we had to do was flip the block to the other side and we’d be set. Not too fast. When we tried to climb the necessary block to get to the parking lot, there were barricades blocking the street…and every other cross street in the Bronx, it seemed. A three minute drive turned into a 45 minute nightmare as we basically had to leave New York State to get back to our parking lot which was right across the street from the stadium!
I started to remember how parking at the old Yankee Stadium was $8 for a long time and then $10 not too long ago and now it was $24 at the new place. I told my wife how tickets for seats in the first few rows of the upper deck between third base and first were never more than $19. Now it was $40 at the new Yankee Stadium.
So we finally parked and walked into the “New” Yankee Stadium. The Great Hall was impressive; lots of space and a very high ceiling made me feel small. Our seats were on the upper deck behind the visitor’s hut and the view was magnificent. The weather was sunny and warm (but not hot) and everything was perfect. Then Evelyn got thirsty. Being a gentleman, I walked down the 999 steps and down the hall to the concession stand. I’m not going to love the price of a large drink and a bucket of popcorn even if it costs more than a decent steak dinner at home. Because? Because the drink came in a plastic Yankee cup and the popcorn came in a souvenir ice bucket with the Yankees emblem on it. I got to take home a little piece of the new Yankee Stadium that day. I still have both memories in my kitchen. It doesn’t take much to make me happy.
Yes, leaving the stadium was difficult – the foot and vehicle traffic caused Evelyn great anxiety and her sense of direction is not good. But all in all, our visit had many more positives than negatives. If you are planning to go to Yankee Stadium, I can advise the following:
- Don’t drive if possible. Traffic jams and parking fee will annoy you. Take a subway if you live where there is one. If you are coming from out of town, get to the ballpark at least 5 hours before game time…maybe 7. Or camp overnight in the parking lot. (Do they allow it?) Hey, at least you’ll see the players arrive. (I’ve done this, not the camping part, the get there early part).
- Find your tickets on a trusted website or get them from a friend. High retail prices are one of the reasons attendance is down. I think $19 for an upper deck seat is a good price, don’t you?
- Food and drink before you go…unless, of course, you want a souvenir Yankee Stadium ice bucket full of popcorn. Or an $8 bottle of beer.
- If you’re going on a warm, sunny day, apply sunscreen. Evelyn is of Irish descent and would have burned without him.
I hope you have a great time at Yankee Stadium. I always have… in both versions. But old Yankee Stadium gets my sentimental vote.
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