A Day at the Old Fashioned Ballpark

I happened to have liked Shea Stadium (as I wrote here), which happened to be probably the first, and last, baseball stadium that was also a work of modern architecture. Shea is gone now -- so gone, in fact, that yesterday at Citifield, I parked in a space between what had been second base and the pitcher's rubber at Shea (both are clearly marked on the blacktop).

Architecturally Citifield is a fraud, of course. It's built to look like it is part of a city neighborhood, built to look old. But it's incongruous, and even a bit ridiculous, in the middle of parking lots and hemmed in by highways on two sides.

However I don't go to baseball games for the architecture. I go to watch the game, and Citifield was a good place for that. We had good seats (my son won them in a raffle at his elementary school, in December) close to the field and could see and hear everything beautifully. The staff at Citifield was shockingly friendly and accommodating. The inside of the park (not the field but under the stands) looked more like a hotel lobby than what I think of as a ballpark. We ate decent food. There were plenty of vendors but they were quiet -- no great New Yawk voices shouting out, "Beah heah," for example (always a source of amusement at Shea). The seats were wide and cushioned (and hot in the bright son). When the game was over, no one rushed us out; in fact people were allowed to come down near the field to take pictures.

We didn't pay for the tickets ($140 each) or the parking ($18). If we had, and after you add in the $10 tolls on the Whitestone Bridge and the modest amount of food we bought (but not the four or so gallons of gas it took the get there), the day would have cost me $349.

I guess for that kind of money the place better be clean and the staff friendly. Luckily the Mets won and we had a terrific afternoon, and I'm sure few people among the 40,000 even questioned the architectural authenticity. -- ta

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