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We were thinking about publishing an "unofficial, uncensored guide to the new Yankee Stadium," similar to what The Mets Police did prior to the home opener at Citi Field. Then, we realized that there is no way that we have gathered enough information from the two exhibition games in the new Yankee Stadium to put together an authoritative guide. Therefore, we have decided to pass along some tips to get you through your first trip to the stadium.
Yankees.com has info about arriving to the game via mass transit and provides driving directions. MTA.info has information about the new Metro North stop at Yankee Stadium. RiverAveBlues.com has more great info about the Metro North Station opening.
Tip: Avoid driving to the game at all costs, but if you must drive, head to baseball-parking.com and pre-purchase your parking to save a bit of time.
The Area Around The Stadium
The North side of the stadium is flanked by an area of the Bronx previously undiscovered by those only visiting for Yankee games. The area doesn't exactly make you feel safe, but there is a strong police presence and it certainly isn't as much of an eyesore as 126th street, next to the Mets new home in Flushing.
Tip: From inside of the stadium, there are actually some interesting views of the Bronx skyline when you are walking up the left field ramp. We never noticed before, but from inside of the stadium, the buildings that you see really make you realize that you are in a neighborhood steeped in history.
The "How May I Help You People"
There are people inside and out of the stadium holding "how may I help you" signs. They may be friendly, but they will offer you absolutely no information of value. In fact, they won't be able to lead you to a concession stand, and they will give you false information about game cancellations.
Tip: STAY AWAY FROM THEM AT ALL COSTS!
The new Yankee Stadium ticket windows are now located inside of a lobby, and away from the outdoor elements. Reports from the exhibition games were that the will call lines were disorganized and very frustrating. As for buying tickets, most of the affordable seats for the entire season are already sold out, so the best bet is the secondary market. Many of the early season games on Stubhub (aside from opening day) are selling for well below face value.
Tip: Don't bother trying to purchase standing room only tickets, at least initially. Many fans think of standing room only tickets as a great option for purchasing last minute tickets to sporting events. While the Yankees have mentioned previously that there will be SRO tickets, they haven't hashed out the details just yet. Our ticket rep had this to say regarding standing room only tickets at the new Yankee Stadium: "We have yet to sell any standing room tickets, I'm not sure what the story is. So I guess the answer is that as of now, [fans] can't buy them."
If you are buying tickets from Stubhub, try the following Stubhub Fan Code: EPP1050E257C (working as of June, 2009) - it will give you 10% off of your order.
This is excellent for the expensive seats, and it essentially saves you Stubhub's 10% service fee. Better than nothing!
Getting Into The Stadium
If you are arriving at the game via mass transit, expect to be herded like a cow through the biggest crosswalk you will ever see. This crosswalk will lead you directly into Babe Ruth Plaza, which is adjacent to the Gate 4 entrance to the stadium. If you enter through Gate 4, or Gate 6, you will find yourself in the Great Hall.
Before hurrying through the gates, do yourself a favor and take some time to remember Babe Ruth - even though there is no statue of the Great Bambino in the plaza bearing his name.
The Great Hall
The Great Hall is one of the more impressive features of the new Yankee Stadium. You truly feel like you are in some sort of museum or monument while walking through the hall. Of course, there are plenty of places to spend your money, including the now famous "retro beer" stand, where you can buy a 16 oz. can of Pabst Blue Ribbon for the low introductory price of $9. The huge, hi-def monitor high atop the hall, featuring a feed of the game, is attention-grabbing and makes your home television cry with jealousy.
Take the surprisingly efficient elevators, located between Gate 4 and Gate 6, if you plan on heading up to the Grandstand. They'll make you wonder how you ever dealt with the crappy escalators and ramps in the old Yankee Stadium.
Contrary to some reports, the Yankees have not completely forgotten their past in their move to the new Yankee Stadium. The storyboards on the light posts flanking Babe Ruth Plaza tell the Babe's story. The banners in the great hall highlight some of the great Yankees. Monument Park features the same monuments and plaques as before, and the Yankee Museum is a brand new addition to the stadium, giving a nod to all of the players who have ever put on a Yankee uniform.
Skip Monument Park on your first trip to the new Stadium and head right to the Yankee museum. If you enter the stadium through Gate 4, take the elevator that is attached to the Hard Rock Cafe, directly under the huge hi-def screen in the Great Hall. This elevator will take you directly into the Yankee Museum which will help you avoid the line that is bound to form outside. Don't miss the wall of baseballs featuring signatures from nearly every player to don the pinstripes, and of course, the great Thurman Munson's locker is on display to solemnly view.
The Field Level concourse is clearly the best place to roam around in the new Yankee Stadium. It is wide, it features great views of the field, and there is direct access to all of the new concessions that Yankee Stadium has to offer. Fans can circle the entire circumference of the seating bowl via this concourse, so it is good if you need to get your walking in.
Stand in front of the tacky, floor to ceiling windows of the Legends Suite Club, directly behind home plate, and make faces at the rich people eaiting their meals specially cooked by celebrity chefs such as Morimoto.
The security force at the new Yankee Stadium has been significantly expanded, meaning a lot of the security guards are brand new to their posts. That inexperience, combined with overwhelmingly strict policies by supervisors, results in frustration on the part of security and fans alike. The rigidity of the security guards will likely make you feel unwelcome during your first trip to the stadium, but try to understand that these security guards are underpaid, under-trained, and likely overworked.
- According to one security guard kind enough to comment anonymously to NSI, "at the old Stadium you could go from the foul pole to the outside of the net along the foul line to watch BP; this year I believe that's done. So yeah you can watch the Yankees take BP but can't get an autograph unless you sit in that particular section."
- Steer clear of "Shaq's shower curtain" directly behind home plate on the field level. Security is trained to swiftly remove fans from that area, and is unfriendly while doing so. Trying to snap a photo from there will get you yelled at, so it is probably best to sneak a sweet view from somewhere else on the field level concourse.
Covered extensively here.
The obstructions in the bleachers have been beaten to death by the mainstream media. We have also covered it in depth, in a guide to the obstructions at the new Yankee Stadium. Therefore, lets focus on the positive. The views from inside of and directly behind the right and left field bleachers are breathtaking. At $12, the bleachers are easily the best value in the stadium. If you can deal with not having a seat back, this is where you want to be.
If you somehow missed the news about the obstructed views, or you simply wanted the cheap $5 ticket and are seating in an obstructed section, your best bet is to ditch your seat and wander the field level concourse. Even with the rigid security, you are bound to find a better place to watch the game where half of the field isn't completely out of sight.
The Main Level (200's Sections)
Seats in the 200's are considerably more affordable, but still out of most people's price range. That being said, these seats, and the standing room behind them also offer some great views of the field. If you have a ticket in the cheap seats, the 200 level will probably offer you the best chance of finding a spot to stand behind the seating areas and get a great view of the game. We spoke to a security guard during the exhibition games who informed us that they have not been trained to shoo people away from standing room areas behind the Main Level seats. If this is the case during the regular season, and the Yankees haven't started selling standing room only tickets, there will be some great spots to stand and see the field.
If you are traveling from left field to right field, or vice-versa, avoid using the main level concourse. For whatever reason, the flow on this level is the worst in the stadium. The concourse is an improvement upon the old Yankee Stadium concourses, but still elicits bad memories when you are being rubbed up against from a fat guy walking behind you. It seems as though the concession stand lines are poorly organized, and completely stem the tide of people milling around.
The upper deck of the new Yankee Stadium is now referred to as the "Grandstand" (400's section) in the upper portion, and the "Terrace"(300's section) in the lower portion. If you have ever been to Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, the new Yankee Stadium upper deck is very similar. If you are purchasing Grandstand level tickets, note that once you head out toward the outfield in the mid 400's range, you are much further recessed from the action than you were in the old Yankee Stadium. You can see visual evidence here. For that reason, seats near the foul pole that were considered to be the worst in the house in the old Yankee Stadium might actually provide a better view than some seats "closer" to home plate. Many of the rows in the Grandstand are covered from the elements, which is good, but the entire upper level of the stadium is open air, so when the weather is bad, it offers little protection against the cold or rain.
Tip: The Carl's Cheesesteak line on the third base side of home plate, in the upper level was consistently long during the Cubs exhibition games. Since the upper level does not really offer any views of the field from the concourse, you are better off taking a trip down to the lower level and waiting on a line there. You will probably get your food faster, and miss less of the game while waiting.
Cellular and Wireless Connectivity
There were widespread reports of cell phone connectivity issues during the Cubs exhibition games at the beginning of April. Rob Iracane, former Deadspin.com "Combudsman" and creator of the great baseball blog Walkoff Walk, had this to say after his initial trip to the new Yankee Stadium: "There is no capacity for the AT&T or Sprint cellular networks. I couldn't send or receive text messages nor place a phone call on my AT&T phone and my friend couldn't do the same on his Sprint phone. I was under the assumption that the cell companies were going to increase capacity for the new place but it seems like only Verizon can handle the traffic." While trying to perform our Qik.com livestream, we noticed that Sprint had major issues and cell service was sporadic at best. Via the public forum of social networking site Twitter, a systems engineer at the new Yankee Stadium reported on the eve of the home opener that the issues from the initial games should be resolved, at least for AT&T "Speaking about AT&T service, yes, there was an issue. It has since been resolved." And more generally, "there were some sporadic issues with certain wireless carriers. At this moment at least they are resolved."
As for wireless service in the new stadium, while the place is wired for it, there is no public wi-fi. The Yankees plan this feature for the future, but it will likely be confined to specialized devices that are distributed within the stadium, and not for use on individual's wireless-combatible devices
If you bring a cell phone charger to the game, there are places to charge your delpleted battery. A surprisingly helpful guest services representative helped us find a power outlet when our Qik.com live stream drained the cell phone battery during the first exhibition. At the entrance to wheelchair accesible seating behind most seating sections, there is a small door that covers two power outlets. The security guard manning that spot should be trained to allow you to charge your phone. The only issue we ran into was that there was no place to rest our phone, except for a narrow railing. It was a bit stressful leaving it on the rail, but it was our only choice since the charging cable was not very long, and standing up next to the outlet and holding the device would block the entrance to the seating section, or the wheelchair seats. Still, it is very cool that the new Yankee Stadium offers piece of mind regarding a drained battery.
Food & Drink
There really is something for everyone when it comes to food and drink at the new Yankee Stadium. From frickles (fried pickles) to spicy tuna rolls, the Yankees have you covered. Prices are what you would expect from a baseball stadium. For those in the mood for $15 cocktails, the Tommy Bahama bar is open on the upper level of the Great Hall, between Gate 4 and Gate 6. Be on the lookout for the NSI guide to Yankee Stadium concession prices coming later this Spring, but for now, Serious Eats has you more than covered. Retail Anarchy had some pretty harsh words about the service that was provided by the concession stand workers during the exhibition games against the Cubs. Hopefully they will work out some of those kinks.
- If you’re looking to get something in your stomach before you start guzzling $9 PRBs, go with the $10 slider and fries combo at NY Grill. It’s a decent amount of food for $10 (3 sliders and maybe 20 fries), and if they’ve fixed the issue from the exhibition games, Buffalo Chicken sliders WILL be available.
- If you decide to get a Johnny Rockets milkshake, be sure to bring a thick straw along with you from home. The shakes are far too thick for the skinny straws that are provided at Yankee Stadium. To combat the problem, lids are not put on the shakes, and a spoon is placed inside of the cup. In our eyes, this defeats the purpose of the milshake. If someone wants soft ice cream, they can get a fun helmet cup from the carvel stand. It is probably best to save your $8 and the ridiculous amount of calories and skip the milk shake, as good as it sounds at the time.
Membership Only Clubs
The Mohegan Sun Sports Bar (the monstrosity that obstructs the view of over 1,000 bleacher seats), and the Audi Yankees Club are the two "membership only" clubs in the new Yankee Stadium. However, the team also sells individual game tickets in each of these clubs, allowing fans to experience them without splurging for an even more expensive membership price.
The Mohegan Sun Sports Bar membership is presently being offered to all Full, 41 20, 15, 12 and 11 Game Ticket Plan Licensees, subject to availability. The cost of membership is $750 for full season and is prorated down for the smaller plans. Individual game tickets in the front of the bar in assigned seats are $90 each, or $95 on game day.
The Audi Yankees club membership is open to all Yankee ticket plan licensees. The cost of membership is $975 for full season and is prorated down for the smaller plans. Individual game tickets in the front of the club in assigned seats are $140 each, or $150 on game day, and include a world class, all you can eat meal featuring action cooking stations. Regular Membership only permits access to the club and does not include food and beverages, the Audi Yankees Club ticketed seating area or admission to any games. For members, the all you can eat buffet costs $65.
The Mohegan Sun Sports bar is pretty useless. It is jam-packed, the impressive-looking menu features unimpressive food, and although you find yourself literally in the "batter's eye," you might as well be in ESPN Zone in Times Square because you are so removed from the action on the field. Don't be a sucker and pay for membership in this club. The Yankees should make a smart move and open up the bar to the public and charge a $20 cover. Those fans wouldn't have access to the rest of the stadium, but would be able to catch a glimpse of the game out the window, since all you get is a glimpse.
If you insist on spending money at one of these clubs, the Audi Yankees Club is the best option. The all you can eat buffet is actually really good and is worth the $65.
Be on the look out for Audi Yankees Club one-day membership passes on the secondary ticket market. The Yankees count on making their money back on their $65 all you can eat, high end buffet by collecting that $975 membership charge. If you are able to gain access to the club for cheap enough, and you can put food down with the best of them, you are bound to get your $65's worth, especially if they are serving lobster and filet mignon! Also, be on the lookout for Yankee ticket deals for the seating/eating combo, as they have been known to offer "e-savers."
Unlike Citi Field in Flushing, there are no designated smoking areas. According to the A-Z Guide on Yankees.com. "Smoking is prohibited in Yankee Stadium. In consideration for the comfort of all guests, the Yankees ask for your cooperation. There are no designated smoking areas inside Yankee Stadium, and re-entry is prohibited. The smoking policy is strictly enforced, and violators will be ejected from Yankee Stadium immediately."
During the exhibition games, we witnessed fans lighting up at any spot they could find with access to open air. It seems that the Yankees were so intent on training security guards to protect their sections as if their lives depended on it, that they forgot to assign security to some of the less travleled spots in the stadium. The footprint of the stadium is rather large, so there are plenty of areas that we affectionately referred to as "rapey" in our initial review. These would be the place where you could smoke, if lung cancer is your thing. We managed to make tongue-in-cheek references to rape and cancer in one sentence. Paging the P.C police!
Bathrooms are more plentiful at the new Yankee Stadium and seem to be designed better. As a man, you won't have to be worried about being splashed when using a urinal. The urinals are still manual, meaning that if you want to be considerate and flush for the next person, you will have to put personal hygiene on the back-burner. Bathrooms in the upper deck did not seem to have dividers between urinals, and there was no hot water in the sinks, while the bathrooms on the lower level had both. Those amenities are obviously only made for those who pay more for their tickets. We haven't checked yet if the bathrooms on the main level have room temperature water and some splash guards.
The men's bathoom on the field level concourse, right near the Gate 4 entrance to the stadium features dividers between urinals, and had warm water in the sinks. This was equivalent to luxury accomodations compared to the old Yankee Stadium, and even the upper deck. It probably isn't worth traveling down to that bathroom from the upper level, but if you are in the lower levels, it is the best bathroom around.
Hard Rock Cafe
The Hard Rock Cafe isn't anything groundbreaking, but it is actually a nice addition to the stadium. There are photographs lining the walls of famous musicians, all wearing Yankees gear. Great touch. As we mentioned in our initial review, the prices aren't much higher than typical Hard Rock Cafe prices, so you will be looking at around $15 for a burger. Considering that you get to sit down and be waited on, it isn't a terrible deal. Be aware that this particular Hard Rock Cafe has less seating than most, so you are likely to have to wait at least 30 minutes for sit down service.
If you want to warm up on a cold day, the Hard Rock Cafe (along with the Yankees Museum) is one of the few places that you can go to escape the elements. Most of the concourses, and the Great Hall are somewhat exposed to the elements, so on a raw April day, you don't have many options if you are with your girlfriend who is complaining about numb fingers. The Hard Rock Cafe is open to the public from outside of the stadium, but also allows entry from the seating areas, so it is an interesting place where the general public and ticketed fans can mingle.
Re-Entry To Yankee Stadium
The Yankees don't officially allow re-entry, but we think we have found a way.
If you go to Gate 6 via the Great Hall, you can wait in line to enter the Hard Rock Cafe, which is open to the public. Since it is open to the public, the Yankees have to stamp your ticket on the way in, allowing you re-entry to the stadium once you are done with your meal. We haven't personally tried this, but we see no reason why you wouldn't be able to utilize this loophole to leave the stadium completely, and then for re-enter. Sure, the line is likely to be a bit longer to exit via the Hard Rock Cafe, but isn't it a better option than rioting outside of the Stadium when they don't let you back in?
Exiting The Stadium
There are many more exits than there ever were before, but that didn't stop the Yankees from putting up strange barricades and causing some bottlenecking during the exhibition games. Hopefully they will streamline the exit routes for the regular season, as there is no reason that people should have any issues getting out quickly and efficiently.
The exit closest to the subway is the River Avenue exit behind center field (look for the Mohegan Sun Sports Bar, and you will see this exit). The exit closest to the new parking garage is at Gate 2.
Avoid the door (with an exit sign above it) next to the Lobel's butcher window on the Field Level Concourse down the left field line. There is likely a security guard posted at this location after our fiasco during the first exhibition game. For anyone who didn't read our review, here is what happened: Right after the Lobel's butcher window, there was a closed set of doors that had a large exit sign above them. There was no security guard blocking these doors, there was no sign on the door that prohibited anyone from going through them, and the doors were unlocked. We exited through the doors, thinking we could get out of the stadium, along with about 5-7 other people. That's when the nightmare began. We somehow found ourselves at the loading dock, near the players buses. Of course, the security in that area was not happy to see us. We asked them to direct us to the nearest exit of the stadium and they simply berated us, telling us that we were not allowed in the area. We tried to go back from where we came from, but we were locked in! It took 10 minutes of begging and convincing of the security guards/ policeman in the loading dock area to let us back out into the main part of the stadium. They refused to believe that we entered that area by legitimate means - even though there was 10 of us stuck in there like rats in a maze. Eventually someone came with a key and let us back out.
This information. all first-hand, should help to make your new Yankee Stadium experience extremely enjoyable. Just focus on the positive aspects during your first trip to the new stadium and it will be a much better for everyone involved. We are extremely critical of the out of touch executives in the Yankee front office, but perhaps we have been a bit unfair about the new structure itself. While we are certain that some great things about the old stadium will never return, we are also sure that this stadium will be the home to some great memories. Enjoy the game, and feel free to report back here with anything else you noticed that we might have missed.
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