Sunday, July 12, 2009

Accessibility Review: Citi Field

Citi Field is rather accessible being a brand new park this year. It was a disappointing baseball experience with no unique character to it, but at least the accessibility was pretty much as expected from a modern ballpark. There really is not any major complaints about the ballpark in terms of accessibility and most of the complaints are related to just the general experience here.

Parking at Citi Field was rather easy. We parked in Lot F, which is accessed through Gate 3. It is a reserved parking permit lot, except for those that need the accessible spots in the front of it. The spots are right in front of the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, so nice and close to the stadium.

Our tickets said to enter through the Rotunda gate, so that is what we did. The whole going in is part of the disorganized mess that the Mets staff and ballpark are, which is inexcusable for this late in the season even though it is a new ballpark. You can technically go in through any line, as there are access gates between each turnstile. However, after bag check is security wand check and the bag check guy said we had to wait for an escort to go further. This makes absolutely no sense for us to wait standing in the way for a supervisor escort that never appeared. They soon just let us go through and the whole situation was confusing and only Dad ended up even being wanded. I do not see why they could not just keep the process moving by wanding Dad and I and patting Mik down like they do at the airport. Not that they seem to care much in the end anyways.

The Jackie Robinson Rotunda is where the Team Shop is located. The Team Shop is not very accessible at all with it being very cluttered with displays. It did not help that it opened 15 minutes after the park and by then the crowd to go in was quite large already. Mik could not even get to the stand the mini bats were in and Dad even knocked down a large banner stand because the area to stand next to the mini bats was so small and crowded by the banner.

The Rotunda itself is somewhat interesting, but on the bottom level the only thing to really see is the giant number 42. The main stuff, though, is the murals on the top of the Rotunda. The poor design with the maze of escalators and stairs, however, make them rather impossible to see from the bottom. I suppose you could see it from the top, but the elevator up does not drop you off there and we forgot to go try to find the way into it from the top level. By the way the elevator up from the rotunda is rather small and was barely big enough for Mik and the two of us much less the one staff member that squeezed in to go up at that time.

Once up on the main concourse the accessibility issues end. The concourses are wide as expected from modern ballparks. Also, the elevators up to the seats are more normal sized than the one near the rotunda. They are large like the ones at Yankee Stadium, but they are good enough, especially since there was not a crowd trying to get on them like at the Yankees.

Our seats were in section 413. The section is located right in front of the windows of one of the club seating areas. Thus it seemed to for the most part have minimal foot traffic behind us and very few people straggling to stand and watch the game. However, for several innings a photographer was annoyingly behind us using a monopod. It was quite annoying to have him standing right behind me do continuous shots when they could have been considerate and moved down just a little to where no one was sitting.

The view from the seats was pretty good, though. The bar in front was a little high, but it angles towards you at the top, so Mik could get up close and see quite well. Sitting in the permanent seat, though, the bar was in the way for me unless I say on the very edge of the seat because the seats are rather far back from the bar. One of our spots was one with a fold up chair, so I ended up switching with Dad and was able to get right up to the bar like Mik and then the view was unobstructed. We were up above home plate mostly looking over the backstop net, so the view of the whole field and scoreboard was great.

Overall the seats and accessibility turned out pretty good, especially since we left through a different exit than the rotunda. The view of the game and the seats having cup holders make the upper seats great, especially since they are raised enough above the row in front that seated it is always possible to see over people in front even if they are standing up. The decent accessibility, however, does not make up for the rather bland ballpark experience that lacks any atmosphere.

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