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.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Day 51: Shea Stadium

Shea Stadium is where the New York Mets played as recent as last year. The Stadium was originally opened in 1964. The Mets used it the whole time the Stadium existed, but it was not the only use of the stadium. The New York Jets used in from 1964 through 1983 and the New York Giants used it in 1975. Even the Yankees played here in 1974 and 1975 as their home stadium while the old Yankee Stadium was being renovated.

Unlike the old Yankee Stadium, which is slowly being demolished with a current timeline of being down by the end of 2010, Shea Stadium’s demolition went quickly. After giving only two weeks after the 2008 season ended for items to be salvaged for sale to collector’s, they began to demolish the stadium. The final demolition was finished in February 2009. Now the site is a parking lot for the new Citi Field. In the parking lot you can see plaques marking the spots for the home plate, bases, and pitching mound for were in Shea Stadium.

Day 43: Old Yankee Stadium

I am trying to catch up on posts about the last week or so and was about to do the post on the Mets old stadium when I realized I never did a Former MLB Ballparks post about the Old Yankee Stadium. We saw what is just the shell of the old stadium when we went to the new Yankee Stadium.

Old Yankee Stadium was first opened in 1923 and was often called the House That Ruth Built. The Stadium remained in use until the end of last season. This year the Yankees moved into their new stadium and the old Yankee Stadium is to be demolished. Honestly, I thought it would already be down when we visited. Instead, though, the shell of the stadium was still there.

It basically looks the same as it always has on the outside, but a few places you can glimpse into the park and notice that it has been completely stripped of seats and other mementos. At the game it becomes apparent how all these things that were stripped from the stadium are being dispersed, as there are a lot of ads on the video scoreboard telling fans to go to a website to own a piece of the Old Yankee Stadium.

I am not sure how long until the Old Yankee Stadium is to be completely gone, but I believe the plan is for the site to become a park. I assume they will end up putting some sort of plaque or plaques where the home plate and/or bases were originally located. I think the giant bat outside of it is to remain. I also think there is a movement to keep Gate 2 as part of the park.

Kj’s Baseball Collection: Citi Field Inaugural Season

The ball I got at the Mets game commemorates 2009 as the Inaugural Season for Citi Field. One the blue strip is the Citi Field 2009 Inaugural Season logo on one side and an orange NY logo on the other side. The other strip has a sun ray background design and says New York.

Mik’s Mini Bat Collection: Citi Field Inaugural Season

The mini bat Mik got at Ciit Field is light blue in color. It has an orange colored Mets logo on the end. Next to that is the Citi Field Inaugural Season logo.

Mik’s Food Scrapbook: Citi Field

At Citi Field Mik tried the tacos from the food court behind the outfield. Mik was very disappointed in them. They were so bad he did not even finish them. I think it was mostly because they were corn tortillas and it had a lot of cilantro, but it also did not seem like the normal ground meat he is used to in a taco.

Smashed Pennies: Citi Field

At Citi Field back on July 7, 2009, I got two different smashed penny designs and Mik got one design. One of the ones I got just says Citi Field Inaugural Season 2009 with two small NY logos. The design we both got has an image of Citi Field and says Citi Field Home of the NY Mets 2009.