Where Does The Old Man Take Place In Ny State Visiting Yankee Stadium (The "New" One)

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Visiting Yankee Stadium (The "New" One)

When I mention Yankee Stadium, I am often asked, “Have you been?” and “What did you think?” Of course, I have to make sure we are talking about the same place as I have been to both the original Yankee Stadium and the “new” or “newer” or “current” Yankee Stadium… or whatever folks are calling it. (They don’t have that problem in Boston.) Anyway, while I appreciate the historical significance of the original ballpark, and I have visited there many more times than the newer version, I’m pleased to say that the newer Yankee Stadium is 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 even though the structure is magnificent, the experience of attending a game is different than it was at the old Yankee Stadium and some aspects make me long for the old days.

The newer Yankee Stadium opened in April of 2009. I had my first experience there in June of that same year when my wife, Evelyn, took me there (and to the rest of NYC) for a significantly numbered birthday (which shall remain a mystery) celebration. She set the whole thing up: tickets, parking passes, hotel, etc.. It was an amazing gesture on her part since she’s not the biggest baseball fan (or lover of big cities) on the planet. As the day unfolded, I began to feel guilty and surprised when I learned what this Yankee Stadium experience cost Evelyn both in dollars and sanity.

We arrived at 10:45 for a 1:00 Thursday afternoon game. Evelyn prepaid a week earlier for parking at a garage on River Avenue. I could see Yankee Stadium! Great! All we had to do was go around the block to the other side and we’d be all set. Not so fast. When we attempted to turn up the one block necessary to get to the parking garage, 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 had to basically leave New York State to get back to our parking location which was right across the street from the stadium!

I started to recall how parking at the old Yankee Stadium was $8 for a long time and then $10 not so long ago and now it was $24 at the new place. I told my wife how tickets for seats in the front rows of the upper deck between third base and first were never more than $19. They were now $40 at the newer Yankee Stadium.

So we eventually parked and walked into the “New” Yankee Stadium. The Great Hall was impressive; a ton of space and very high ceiling made me feel tiny. Our seats were in the upper deck behind the visitor dugout and the view was magnificent. The weather was sunny and warm (but not hot) and everything was perfect. Then Evelyn got thirsty. Being a gentlemen, I made my way down the 999 steps and the hallway to the concession stand. I won’t carp about the price of a large drink and a bucket of popcorn even if it cost more than a decent steak dinner back home. Why? Because the drink came in a plastic Yankee tumbler and the popcorn came in a souvenir ice bucket with the Yankee emblem on it. I got to bring home a little part of the new Yankee Stadium that day. I still have both mementos in my kitchen. It doesn’t take much to make me happy.

Yes, leaving the stadium was difficult: foot and vehicle traffic gave 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 plan to go to Yankee Stadium, may I advise the following:

  1. Do not drive if possible. The traffic jams and parking fee will annoy you. Take a subway if you live where one is available. If you’re coming from out of town, get to the ballpark at least 5 hours ahead of game time… maybe 7. Or camp out overnight in the parking lot. (Do they allow that?) Hey, at least you’ll see the players arriving. (I have done that – not the camping part – the get-there-early part.)
  2. Find your tickets on a trusted internet site or get them from a friend. The high retail prices are one reason why attendance is down. I think $19 for an upper deck seat is a good price, don’t you?
  3. Eat and drink before you go… unless, of course, you want a Yankee Stadium souvenir ice bucket full of popcorn. Or an $8 bottle of beer.
  4. If you go on a warm, sunny day, apply sunscreen. Evelyn is of Irish descent and would have burnt to a crisp without it.

I hope you have a swell time at Yankee Stadium. I always have… at both versions. But the old Yankee Stadium gets my sentimental vote.

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