Citi Field – New York Mets
New York Citi
Citi Field is now in its tenth season as the home of the New York Mets, and in its brief history, it has seen a few memorable moments, including Johan Santana’s no-hitter and the final game of the 2015 World Series. Citi Field opened the same year as new Yankee Stadium, and both it and the team have been overshadowed by their Bronx brethren, which is unfortunate because the Queens ballpark has a lot to offer. Starting with the exterior that is modeled on Ebbets Field and leads to the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, the ballpark is a tribute to New York baseball as a whole (excluding those Yankees of course) and is certainly worth a visit to any baseball fan vacationing in the Big Apple.
Food & Beverage 5
As you might expect from a New York ballpark, the food options at Citi Field are varied and expensive, although many of them are available in the city as well, reducing their appeal somewhat. The best area for selection is behind center field in a large plaza, where you will find Shake Shack and its ridiculously long lines. Right next to this is Blue Smoke, whose pulled pork and brisket bring a taste of the south to the stadium.
Another popular area is around sections 102-105 in the right field corner where you can find Fuku’s famous spicy chicken sandwiches, hand-dipped corn dogs by Landmark, sushi by Daruma of Tokyo, and hero sandwiches by Mama’s of Corona. Upscale burger fans can try Bash Burger, whose Double Barrel includes 2 patties for $13.50. There are many other specialty concessions throughout, such as Two Boots Pizza, Lil’ Sweet Chick, and Baked Cheese Haus. If eating at Citi Field is important to you, get there early and wander around before deciding.
If you tend to try more typical ballpark fare, the permanent concessions along the concourses have all your favorites, such as Nathan’s hot dogs ($6.50), nachos ($7.75), peanuts, popcorn, and Cracker Jack ($5.75 each) and prime jerky ($9.50). Pat LaFrieda’s offers a Burger and Crinkle Cut Fries combo for $13.50. Dessert lovers will enjoy Wowfulls, which provides Hong Kong-style egg waffles, in the shape of cones. There are three flavorful options, each costing $12.
A wide variety of beers are available in both cans and on tap. Big Apple Brews in the center field plaza is the best place to find a good selection, with 30 beers to choose from and prices ranging from $11.25 for smaller cans to $14 for 25-ounces. Cantina is nearby offering frozen cocktails such as margaritas and daiquiris for $14. If you want draft beer, most permanent concessions have Budweiser products for $10.50. Coke products are available for those who don’t drink, but with a fountain soda going for $6.50 (bottled water saves you a buck), you should sign up for the designated driver program and get a free pop. The Mets program is one of the best out there as the free pop is the same size as the one that costs $6.50, so it is a no-brainer.
Most tickets at Citi Field come with access to one or more club areas, and you might want to explore yours for even more food options, as those on the lower levels each have some items that are not available to the general public. As well, there are a couple of sit down restaurants outside the ballpark next to the bullpen gate. Mikkeller Brewing is a Danish brewer and this is their sole location in the city. It opens three hours before the game and closes two hours after offering about 50 beers on tap. If you are in town while the Mets are away, Mikkeller is open for limited hours Wednesday through Sunday. Next to it is McFadden’s, a more typical sports bar that caters to Mets fans and also opens 3 hours before first pitch.
As you emerge from the 7 train, you will be greeted by the old Shea Stadium home run apple. Look up to see the Ebbets Field façade that is another iconic part of the stadium. Inside, the Jackie Robinson rotunda leads to the Hall of Fame as well as the team store. Note that this entrance is the busiest, though things move quickly enough. If you are in a rush, you can try the right field or bullpen gates.
The main concourse is a bit dark, and there are no views of the field from behind the plate, but as you move toward the outfield, it lightens up. All seats here are Kelly green and all come with cup holders. As you make your way around to center field, you will notice the much larger apple that is out of its hole during the pregame but will disappear inside, only to reappear should the Mets hit a home run.
There is a smaller concourse on the third level, though the club in the middle prevents those without tickets from circling around, while the 400 level concourse provides access to the 500 level seats as well. Elevators are small here, so take the stairs if you are able.
The in-game promotions include trivia, kids racing from the left field wall to third base to steal a base and then run back, with times recorded for the whole season, and appearances from Mr. and Mrs. Met. Out in the center field plaza, a miniature whiffle ballyard and a dunking booth with a speed gun provide further entertainment for youngsters. Every game sees a member of the military honored and presented with a flag that has flown over the ballpark.
Over the years the Mets have moved in the walls and the measurements are a bit odd now going 330, 375, 408, 358 and 335 from left to right. The foul poles are orange instead of the standard yellow in a nod to Shea Stadium.
During the game, snippets of music are blared after nearly every pitch, something I find annoying as I am often sitting right underneath a speaker. I realize that sports are mostly about distracting fans from the breaks during the game, but there is nothing wrong with peace and quiet while there is action on the field.
Citi Field is located in the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park area of Queens and is right next to the Billie Jean King Tennis Center, which is used for the U.S. Open. The 1964 World’s Fair was held here and there are still some attractions worth visiting, such as the Unisphere. Other than that though, there is little within walking distance. You can take the 7 train one stop farther to Main Street and explore a smaller version of Chinatown. If you return to Manhattan, stop at Woodside instead and explore the borough of Queens, with several bars and eateries, such as Donovan’s, which is famous for its burgers. Another option is to take the train all the way back to Grand Central and enjoy everything that Manhattan has to offer.
Mets fans are a special breed and much more realistic than their crosstown counterparts. With only two World Series compared to 27 for the Yankees, they might have an inferiority complex, but they are most definitely not front-runners. There are a few special fans such as Pin Man and Cowbell Man, while the 7 Line Army, named for the train that takes most fans to the stadium, is a group of traveling fans that sometimes occupies the center field seats next to the Apple. Clad in orange t-shirts, they can be heard after every opposing strikeout, mimicking a call from Stadium Journey friend Mike Casiano.
Citi Field is best reached by the 7 train from Manhattan. If you are attending a weeknight game, take the express (the one with the diamond) and you will save 10-15 minutes. There is usually an express train back to Manhattan after night games as well, but not day games as the express tracks are being used the other way. The Long Island Rail Road also has a station here, though it makes little sense to use it from Manhattan unless you are in a rush, as the 15-minute ride during peak hours costs $8.75, $6 more than the subway.
The ballpark is close to the Grand Central Parkway and Whitestone Expressway as well, and parking is $25, though there are nearby lots that do charge less.
Inside, concourses can be crowded when there is a strong turnout, and you can expect lines at most concession stands and restrooms if you visit during inning breaks.
Return on Investment 3
The Mets have a variety of ticket prices and game types that would take far too long to enumerate here. Generally, prices start at $15 for the nosebleeds for the least appealing games and go up from there. Getting close will be expensive, with the secondary market a better bet usually. When you combine the cost of food, which can be quite high, this is a slightly above average ballpark in terms of cost.
The extras start with the old Shea Stadium Home Run Apple that can be found just outside the subway entrance. Of course, inside is the new, larger apple that appears whenever a Met hits a dinger.
Along the path between the main entrance and the right field gate is the Fanwalk where you can see bricks purchased by fans surrounding Mets historic moments. Proceeds are donated to the Mets Foundation that supports area charities. The exterior wall of the ballpark are banners for Mets Hall of Famers from Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Doc Gooden, Keith Hernandez, and Darryl Strawberry.
Just inside the main entrance, to the right of the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, is the Mets Hall of Fame, which includes their two World Series trophies and other memorabilia. Also, note the large 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson.
As you make your way up the stairs or escalator to the main concourse, check out the Mets lineup in the form of Topps baseball cards.
On the main concourse behind right field is the Shea Bridge, a tribute to William A. Shea, who was instrumental in getting the Mets and for whom Shea Stadium was named.
On the 300 level concourse, you can see inside the broadcast room, where the scoreboard and game broadcasts are controlled.
Citi Field may not have the history that is stored at New Yankee Stadium, but it has a lot to see on its own merits. If you are planning a trip to New York during the summer, check the Mets schedule and time your visit so you can see what is happening at Citi Field.
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Latest Crowd Reviews
I miss Shea and I am not sure if Citi Field distinguishes itself better than the copious amounts of ballparks built this century. I enjoy the Ebbets Field-inspired rotunda, but there should be more Mets-influence themes, statues of all-time Mets greats, more retired numbers, and the team colors need to shine brighter. I would like to see club develop the area with retail, living, and restaurant space.
Being a Yankees fan, I wish the new Yankee Stadium, was more like Citi Field. The stadium has great seating views with intimate seating,easy access to and from the stadium. Food and Beverage,for the basic fan, although still New York City prices. Citi Field was done correctly and the Mets fans have a great ballpark.
Citi Field was easily accessible from Manhattan and I enjoyed my visit, but wouldn&#039t consider it outstanding. I did like the way they&#039ve tried to incorporate history into the park, but I was a little underwhelmed by the Hall of Fame / Museum.