"Through running I experience my own epiphany, a manifestation of the essential nature of who I am, the man I want to be." MATTHEW SHAFNER
It's a day off from work right? Gosh. I got up early anyways having a plan of attack for the day. I was to go to Yankee stadium, since the single season tickets went on sale this week on Tuesday, I was thinking they had to have some tickets, right?
So I headed up, while seeing other people go to work as I glided my way up 1st avenue where the 59th street bridge came down from Long Island City...that's the last 10 miles of the NYC marathon...crazy. It's such a huge difference from marathon sunday to a regular daily day throughout the whole year...I guess you notice it a whole lot differently when you are a marathon runner I guess...
Went across the willis bridge into the bronx and tried to find my way around...but got lost slightly. I had to ask a person for directions, but after that all was well.
As I made my way up towards the stadium, well...I saw that there was a line already...great! Ok, I saw that I was pretty close to the front...about 18 people ahead of me...not going to take long at all...
I call my sister to keep occupied, since I was suppose to go to dim sum with the family after I got the tickets...after I found out that each person took like 30 minutes each and there were only like 3 booths open...it sucked! Each person took so long trying to find tickets in pairs...no luck at all.
I finally got some (three(3)) tickets...2 of them random in the bleachers and one paired in the bleachers...all together I didn't break the bank (less than $100...)
So as I waited to get in, I brought clothes to change into, which was really reluctant since it was getting colder and colder.
I took the subway back. Missed the dim sum and packed my clothes up. Showered and was out the door for the family wedding weekend...
Although along the way towards the subway, I feel this weird twing in my foot. . It was along the upper toe region, which was weird, since I have never encountered this before...I thought it had to deal with the type of shoe I was wearing...although this could be part of a stress fracture....
As I was getting onto the bus though and ready to pay, the bus driver's cashier decided to not work, so therefore we had to wait for a mechanic and I had to stand there...I called my cousin, since the wedding rehearsal was at 4 and I wasn't sure it I was going to make it in time...
In the end...it's going to be quite the long family weekend...should be fun!
New stadiums for the Yankees and the Mets.
by Paul Goldberger
The Mets’ new home echoes the famous entrance of the Dodgers’ Ebbets Field. The new Yankee Stadium’s grandiosity is tempered by the energy of its urban setting.
In 1921, Colonel Jacob Ruppert, the co-owner of the New York Yankees, needed to get his team out from under the thumb of the New York Giants, his landlords at the Polo Grounds, in Harlem, and build his own stadium. Having looked at a plot occupied by an orphan asylum in upper Manhattan, some land in Long Island City, and an area on the West Side, over the Pennsylvania Railroad tracks, he settled on the Bronx. Just across the Harlem River from the Polo Grounds, he erected the largest and grandest stadium in baseball. Yankee Stadium, which opened in 1923, was a haughty structure designed to give the game a feeling of permanence lacking in earlier, scrappier ballparks, like Fenway Park, in Boston, Wrigley Field, in Chicago, and Ebbets Field, in Brooklyn. Unlike the builders of older ballparks, Ruppert didn’t have to contort the stadium to fit the lines of city streets. The stadium could spread out and lift high; it was the first ballpark to have three full tiers of seats. Nestled beside elevated subway tracks and across from the playgrounds and basketball courts of Macombs Dam Park, Yankee Stadium rose above its surroundings.
There is nothing so revolutionary in Yankee Stadium’s replacement, which opens just to the north, across 161st Street, on April 3rd, when the Yankees host the Chicago Cubs for an exhibition game. (The first regular-season game is on April 16th, against the Cleveland Indians.) The new Yankee Stadium, designed by the architectural firm HOK Sport, is effectively an attempt to atone for the brutal 1973 renovation of Ruppert’s building, which removed the historic ambience without adding much in the way of modern amenities. HOK has reincarnated the old stadium, but with clearer sight lines, luxury suites, plenty of places to eat, and, finally, sufficient bathroom facilities. It has tried hard, very hard, to make us think of its predecessor, with sumptuous architectural effects that have the self-important air of a new courthouse built to look as if it had been there since William Howard Taft was President. When you first go in, you find yourself in the so-called Great Hall, an enormous space covered with a translucent roof, and from there you move into the concourses and toward the seats. Lest you forget that you are there not only to watch a baseball game but also to soak up the stadium’s noble lineage, there’s a reproduction of the famous scalloped frieze that adorned the old stadium’s upper deck. Outside, there is a façade of limestone, granite, and cast stone, with high, narrow arched openings and entry portals that seem designed for the ceremonial arrival of the Pope, Queen Elizabeth, or at least George Steinbrenner.
Also about to open is the New York Mets’ new home—the first time that two major-league stadiums have opened in the same city at the same time. Citi Field, which people are already calling TARP Field, or Bailout Park, opens on March 29th, with a college game. (The Mets play an exhibition game there on April 3rd and their first regular-season game on April 13th.) Like the new Yankee Stadium, Citi Field is right next door to its predecessor and was designed by HOK Sport. The firm has pretty much cornered the market in sports facilities in recent years; in 1992, it designed the most influential ballpark of modern times, Baltimore’s Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Orioles insisted that the new park have the ambience of an old-fashioned one and feel connected to the city, and HOK, scrapping an earlier design, obliged. Camden Yards launched a generation of so-called retro-classic ballparks, a style to which both of New York’s new stadiums conform, even though they look vastly different from each other.
The previous home of the Mets, Shea Stadium, opened in 1964, at a time when architects seemed to think that their mission was to purge baseball fields of asymmetry, idiosyncrasy, and anything that seemed remotely related to a park’s surroundings, and to offer up instead gigantic doughnuts of concrete that looked like highway interchanges. (Other notable examples of the genre sprang up in Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Cincinnati, and St. Louis.) Citi Field is pleasanter in every way than the harsh stadium it replaces. The park has a casual feel, with warm red brick inside, lots of amenities, great sight lines, and a layout that’s easy to navigate. There are forty-two thousand seats, fifteen thousand fewer than Shea had, all a calm dark green and arranged in somewhat irregular tiers, bringing you much closer to the field than before. The complex has an energetic composition of brick façades, and dark-gray steel elements, which are said to have been designed with the great steel arch of Hell Gate Bridge in mind, and give the place a feel that is as much industrial as retro.
As for the retro-classic side of Citi Field, the Mets, having no ancient ballpark of their own to evoke, have appropriated someone else’s. The architects, whose Camden Yards design incorporated features of several historic ballparks, have here wrapped an imitation of the façade of the much mourned Ebbets Field around the southern corner of the new structure, and the old Brooklyn stadium likewise inspired the form of the entry rotunda. The Mets treat the National League’s New York history as if it were abandoned property, which, in a way, it is. But does that mean it is there for the taking? True, the identity of the Mets—whose colors combine the blue of the Dodgers and the orange of the Giants—has thrived on a magpie element, but there’s something a bit dishonest about naming the rotunda for Jackie Robinson, who never wore a Mets uniform. A pastiche of the Dodgers’ former field in Brooklyn pasted onto the façade of a different team’s twenty-first-century ballpark in Queens is less a historical tribute than it is an act of make-believe.
Historically, ballparks have been urban places, gardens in the middle of the city. The greatest of them—Wrigley, Ebbets, Fenway, Forbes Field, Shibe Park—emerged out of the form and shape of their cities. Fenway has the Green Monster, the thirty-seven-foot wall that compensates for the truncation of left field; at Griffith Stadium, in Washington, D.C., the center-field wall was notched inward because the owners of houses next to the stadium refused to sell. Ballparks weren’t the same because the urban places they belonged to weren’t the same. One football gridiron is identical to another, but a baseball field, once you get beyond the diamond, is not—which is part of the reason that even the ugliest ones are loved so fiercely by the fans and become such repositories of civic feeling. A baseball outfield, technically, has no outer limits, just as a baseball game has no set time to end. The outfield stops where the stadium’s builders decide it will stop. Urban ballparks had façades in front, to fit in with neighboring buildings, but were usually left low and open in the outfield, which had the effect of weaving the park into the neighborhood, so that, from the right place, you might catch an enticing glimpse of the green paradise within.
At the old Yankee Stadium, that place was from the elevated tracks of the Lexington Avenue subway, and one nice feature of the new stadium is that that, too, has been re-created. There is a break between the right-field stands and the scoreboard, and you can see the trains sliding by. The new stadium feels more tightly woven into the fabric of the city than the old one did. (It will feel even more so once a Metro-North station opens there, later this year, and once the city finally makes good on its obligation to replace the Macombs Dam Park facilities lost in construction of the new stadium with parkland on and around the site of the previous one.) If you approach it by driving along Jerome Avenue, you see a couple of the Bronx’s finest Art Deco apartment houses across the street from the west façade, and you get a hint of the subtle counterpoint that once existed between a baseball park and an urban setting. The stadium is bigger and more imposing than everything around it, of course, but it seems to grow out of its surroundings, and this somehow rescues the building from its own pomposity. In a way, the apartment houses on Jerome Avenue, the jumble of storefronts and bars under the elevated tracks on River Avenue, and the constant presence of street life shape the stadium as much as its designers have.
At Citi Field, conversely, the Ebbets Field façade, stuck in the middle of acres of parking (as Shea was), seems more like a theme park than it would if it were in the middle of the city. HOK has tried to make the stadium feel more urban by placing a long brick building, containing the Mets’ offices, just beyond right field, along 126th Street, where it faces a favela of auto-body shops in Willets Point. But, since the site is defined mainly by expressways and parking lots, the architects are fighting a losing battle. It’s a pity that the Mets didn’t build on the far West Side of Manhattan, where Colonel Ruppert first thought of putting Yankee Stadium, ninety years ago, and where the Jets recently tried to build a football stadium. A football stadium doesn’t need to be in the middle of a city, but a baseball park, smaller and used much more often, does.
A stadium is a stage set as sure as anything on Broadway, and it determines the tone of the dramas within. Citi Field suggests a team that wants to be liked, even to the point of claiming some history that isn’t its own. Yankee Stadium, however, reflects an organization that is in the business of being admired, and is built to serve as a backdrop for the image of the Yankees, at once connected to the city and rising grandly above it. ♦