Yankee Stadium – New York Yankees
Only In New York
The Yankees have made a lot of adjustments to Yankee Stadium…most notably to make it affordable for the riff raff.
When the new monument to the Yankees dynasty opened in 2009, it was like everything else Yankees…huge, majestic, and expensive. The designers of the new Yankee Stadium did it smart: they understood that the most successful team in sports history should have a larger, museum style stadium dedicated to the team’s history. It’s kind of difficult to look at the sheer size of it all and call Yankee Stadium a ballpark.
But whoa, those prices. Say what you will about George Steinbrenner, he was willing to spend whatever it took to put a champion on the field. But that money has to come from somewhere. So the new stadium features a lot of really expensive seats…in fact, for most games, unless you’re in the bleachers, you’re very often looking at close to triple digits just for a ticket anywhere on the field level. If you want to sit in between the bases, you could be paying three bills.
For years the best seats at Yankee Stadium were so expensive that not even New Yorkers would pay it…which takes some doing…leaving many of these seats empty even during playoff games. With those seats being separated by a “moat” from the rest of the crowd, Yankee Stadium completely lacked the intimidation factor of its predecessor. After a Yankees defeat at the hands of the Tigers in the playoff, Detroit outfielder Quintin Berry declared it “a very easy place to play.”
That changed in 2017. When a Yankees team featuring names like Aaron Judge, Didi Gregorius and Gary Sanchez got a year ahead of a rebuild and found themselves challenging for another World Series title, the fans returned…loudly…and intimidated both the Astros and Indians into road defeats, by the Astros’ own admission.
It took some time for the Yankees to get there though. There was plenty of groaning from the Joe Average fans, who found themselves priced out of decent seats and placed in the distant bleachers or in the towering grandstands, far from the action. The low point came when the Yankees even eliminated printable tickets and refused to deal with StubHub, with a team representative literally saying out loud that too many of the great unwashed were getting cheap tickets and sitting with the Yankees’ wealthy donors.
In fairness, the Yankees have made many of the seats much more affordable, including $10 grandstand seats and some $5 tickets to low demand games. They’ve even made peace with StubHub, once they agreed to a resale price floor.
But it’s still a pretty expensive place to see a ballgame. And with the Yankees’ fortunes improving on the field, don’t expect that situation to get better soon.
Food & Beverage 5
Yankee Stadium has it all for any kind of appetite. Before or after a game you can enjoy a meal in any of three restaurants…the Hard Rock Café and NYY Steak sit down eateries attached to the stadium, or the Audi Club with its fine view of the field. A full menu of fancy stuff is available at each joint, and NYY Steak is surprisingly affordable at least by NYC steakhouse standards.
Inside the concourses there’s plenty for every taste too. Nathan’s is the official hot dog provider, and their hot dogs are available at any of the generic stands like NY Grill. But hot dogs are hardly the go-to food item here…in fact Yankee Stadium is far more appealing to burger lovers. You can get an El Matador bison burger at Bareburger, go with the popular Johnny Rockets burger, or a prime burger from Lobel’s. Speaking of Lobel’s they’re a pretty fine provider of beef in NYC, and lines can get long at their stand selling steak sandwiches and such.
There’s so many other choices though. Mighty Quinn’s BBQ has a terrific burnt ends sandwich, Philly-style steak sandwiches from Jersey Mike’s…including a two-footer…are available, you can get some truly amazing garlic fries that you can smell for miles, and there’s a noodle bowl and sushi stand that offers decent value for a ballpark. There’s even chicken and waffles, with the Yankee logo imprinted on each waffle. For dessert, get some classic Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.
The Yankees, in keeping with their “bigger than everyone else” thing, have some truly intimidating sandwiches that are easily enough for two. Try the Barnyard Wedding…a burger topped with a slab of fried chicken, cheddar, and a hash brown. Or the G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time) burger…beef with bacon, pastrami, American cheese and G.O.A.T. sauce. Bring an appetite for these.
The Yankees have also added a bunch of standing bar areas, with various extremely expensive mixed drinks, especially in the standing room space in center field. Budweiser is the official beer, and the craft brew selection isn’t great, but the Yankees are working on it.
Finally, if you don’t have the budget for the cool selections inside the stadium, there are plenty of spots on 161st where you can fill up a goody bag. The Court Deli and the Bullpen Deli are two of my favorites. If you’d like an alternative to Papa John’s pizza inside the ballpark, there is Suma on 161st and Pizza NYC on River Avenue. But there are lots of places, and you can get your grub on cheaply before or after the game.
Yankee Stadium isn’t a place for fans looking to pinch pennies, and often those fans are the most dedicated. If you don’t have $100 to spend on a ticket, you can likely expect to be in the distant outfield or in the very high grandstand. Meanwhile you’ll look down and see more empty seats than full ones in that Legends section.
That’s not to say a game at Yankee Stadium can’t be exciting and loud; it does hold a large number of folks that can make their presence known with the best of them. But Yankee Stadium, more so than any other ballpark I’ve visited, makes its caste system very clear. There are places where people with private jets sit…probably too many of them…and there are spots where middle class families who just want to cheer their team are placed. And they’re nowhere near each other. The Yankees make very clear the type of fan they’re looking to attract: the corporate rep who can write off the huge expense.
The Bronx is a crowded, extremely urban place. It’s big city New York, without the glitz and glamour of Manhattan. It can sometimes be depressing to look at, and it’s not a place where people who are apprehensive about going into a big city to begin with are going to feel any better. If you’re planning a visit, it’s probably a good idea to stay in Manhattan or elsewhere. It’s not that the neighborhood is bad…before and after games it’s filled with Yankee fans and perfectly safe. But you probably wouldn’t want to be there at night without a game going on.
That said, there are some things going for it. There’s a nice park for kids to run around in right there at the stadium, and there are a multitude of takeout eateries where fans can get sustenance far cheaper than inside the venue. There are sports bars nearby for most income levels, including the popular Yankee Tavern, which is well worth a visit. It can be a cool place to be on game day, especially for Yankees fans.
Difficult as it may be for, say, an Orioles fan to do, you have to give the Yankees fans some credit. They’ve been showing up in pretty big numbers for a fan base that the team has openly insulted in recent years. They’re like any baseball fan base but more so…when the team is winning they show up and do their best to intimidate the opposition, and when the team isn’t good they’re largely absent, especially when ticket prices don’t reflect the quality of the play on the field.
Fortunately for the Yankees, the wins have returned and so have the fans. Yankee Stadium is now as raucous as the old stadium (well maybe not that much, but it’s pretty loud), and it’s become an intimidating place for opponents again. But this place has a bit more leg room.
And of course, there are the Bleacher Creatures in right field, who execute their nightly “roll call,” chanting each player’s name until the player acknowledges them. And added to that is the new “Judge’s Chambers” a section in right field dedicated to the Yankees slugging right fielder.
It’s not that Yankee Stadium is all that difficult to get to, but you’re going to deal with some sort of inconvenience doing so. Traffic isn’t too bad if you drive and park your car, since most fans use the MTA, but you’ll likely pay a nice chunk of change to park near the stadium, which you’ll want to do in the Bronx. There are enough parking garages to easily handle the number of cars, but part of the reason for that is the high price of parking at the stadium.
Most fans use the MTA and Metro-North trains to get to there. The B, D, and 4 trains on the MTA map all stop across the street from Yankee Stadium, but if you’re using the B or D you have to choose the right one. I’m still shaky about it and I’ve written a book about it, but my understanding is that it’s the B during rush hour on weekdays and the D any other time. If you’re confused, just follow the group of folks wearing Yankees gear. The 4 train is my favorite of the three to use, because it emerges above the ground just before it arrives and you get a cool moment of the stadium coming into view. Sit on the left side of the train.
Fans coming from the northern NYC suburbs have the nicer option of the Metro-North commuter rail trains, which stop at a shiny new station built just for the new stadium. Metro-North trains are much more comfortable, usually have seating available, and offer a nice view of the scenery getting there. Coming from the northern suburbs this is probably the best option, especially for families. The station is very convenient and has a great view of the stadium.
The public transit is by far the cheapest mode of travel to get there; if you’re driving it’s probably best to book your parking beforehand just so you know exactly where to go.
Get there as early as you can, because for some reason the Yankees don’t have quick moving lines. Try using another entrance besides the Gate 6 entrance closest to the station; I’ve had the easiest time entering at Gate 2 on the opposite side.
Return On Investment 2
It is possible to enjoy an affordable outing at Yankee Stadium, even with a family, but you need to know a lot of tricks…like when the Yankees offer specials on tickets, finding affordable parking, bringing in food from outside, etc. Yankee Stadium being where it is, you have a lot of options.
For the most part, though, strictly from a value standpoint, you’ll be paying more for seats and parking at Yankee Stadium than for equivalent seats at just about any other venue, save perhaps for Fenway Park or Wrigley Field. For the very best seats, the amount you’ll be paying is almost exponentially more than you would anywhere else.
If you’re a Yankees fan proud of your team’s 27 championships, maybe that’s worth it. The Yankees do have a storied history that their new venue doesn’t let you forget, with the Great Hall, the Babe Ruth Plaza and the Yankees Museum with its statues of Don Larsen throwing a pitch to Yogi Berra. But if you’re a visitor, you’d do well to plan ahead and do some research, because the Yankees are very much counting on you not doing that and paying face price for everything.
The new Yankee Stadium is great for baseball history buffs. There is a Great Hall starting at the Gate 6 entrance with larger than life photos of Yankee greats from every era. The Yankees Museum is also a must see, with newspaper ads featuring Babe Ruth, a beautiful model of the new stadium, trophies from the Derek Jeter era and Thurman Munson’s locker. And of course there’s Monument Park and its busts from a team full of some of baseball’s greatest, from Ruth to Gehrig to DiMaggio to…Steinbrenner? Yes, the Boss’s is the biggest bust of all, overlooking all of them. And maybe that’s as it should be.
Yankee Stadium also has something many new venues don’t have…some great souvenir shops right across the street. There are several stores where you can pick up perfectly nice caps, T-shirts, and memorabilia for a very nice price compared to the souvenir shop inside the stadium. Again, something you should know if you’re trying to do it on the cheap.
You’re definitely better off and will save a lot of money planning ahead for a visit to Yankee Stadium, but definitely do it. The new stadium is built exactly as it should be, and it’s a great destination both for Yankees fans and baseball historians. And the food is excellent.
Kurt Smith is the author of the Yankee Stadium E-Guide, a complete fan’s guide to all things Yankee Stadium, from picking the best seat to finding the best route to get there. You can see more of Kurt’s E-Guides at www.BallparkEGuides.com.
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Latest Crowd Reviews
Yankee Stadium is a beautiful infrastructure, with wide concourses,and plenty of lighting,especially compare to the old stadium. However, it doesn&#039t compare to feeling of the old Yankee Stadium. The 2009 World Series Championship was a nice way to start history at the new stadium but it still lacks the historic presence that could be felt at the old. The new stadium is sterile, over-priced from food to the seating areas. The must see when going to the Yankee Stadium for any baseball is Monument Park, otherwise the stadium is average among the MLB Ballparks.
To be honest I found the experience Yankee Stadium too much for my personal tastes. Everything is crowded and expensive, and traffic surrounding the stadium was a nightmare. Having said that, I did get an excellent view of an exciting game on my visit.
I&#039m not a Yankee fan, so perhaps that&#039s why I may be in the minority in thinking that the &quotnew&quot Yankee Stadium is a huge improvement over the old one. Is it a great ballpark? By no means. But it is a clean and comfortable place to see a game, even if it is on the expensive side. The food selection is quite good, though as can be expected in NY, the prices are high. My biggest problem with the ballpark is that it just feels sterile and boring. It just seems to be lacking a &quotWow&quot factor. But in New York, the fans only care about winning, so perhaps the team didn&#039t even feel the need to cater to casual fans.