Zac’s note: I did not take an entire “tour” of the new Meadowlands Stadium nor did I take any notes while at the Giants-Jets game. These are just some random thoughts from myself and West Side Eric of Zac’s Backs fame.
West Side Eric and I made our first trip to the Meadowlands on Monday afternoon for the New York Giants vs. at the New York Jets preseason game. A Jets fan with season tickets, Eric invited me to his eight-times-a-season Jets tailgate for food, drinks and getting soaked by rain. For convenience/economic purposes, we chose to take the train to the Meadowlands en route to the pre-game tailgate. The train is a quick 15 minute (approximate) ride from Hoboken to the stadium and puts you right at the main gate for the new stadium. Awesome for the non-tailgating crowd.
Navigating around the parking lot was a nightmare for every person I spoke with at the tailgate and inside the stadium. People (the PSL crowd, especially) couldn’t locate the right lot to park in. One person said it took him about 30 minutes to park upon entering the Meadowlands lot. The Meadowlands staff was as helpful as possible, but the overabundance of pedestrians and cars had everybody inside of the parking lot overwhelmed. I can’t imagine how things will be once there is actually a full house during a regular season NFL game.
The inside of the new Meadowlands Stadium is, well, it’s huge. If you’re a veteran of the old Giants Stadium or other similar football stadiums, you might get a little confused on the location of your seat if you don’t go into the specific gate for your section. This didn’t really bother us as we got in about 40 minutes before kickoff and wanted to see the stadium, anyway. It was also raining so being under any roof was a win in our book.
The first thumbs down the new Meadowlands Stadium gets from us and several fans in our section is the seats. No stadium should have cushioned recliner seats, but the seats at the Meadowlands Stadium are uncomfortable and offer little in the way of leg room. I’m hardly the tallest guy among my friends and even I found myself repositioning throughout the first quarter of the Jets-Giants game.
The seats are also the blandest gray you’ll ever see, a reminder that this isn’t Giants or Jets Stadium; just random Generic Stadium 101. You can put all of the green or blue lights (depending on which team is playing at the Meadowlands at the time) you want on the inside or outside of the stadium. Nothing about the Meadowlands Stadium feels like home, and that’s coming from both a Giants fan and a Jets fan.
Ironically (and with all apologies to Mike Francessa), when you’re sitting at your seat, you do feel like you’re at the old Giants Stadium. The interior has a Giants Stadium feel to it. The field looks like the turf at Giants Stadium. The surroundings, of course, are the same as at the old Giants Stadium. It didn’t sound like Giants Stadium on Monday night, but it was also a preseason game. Myself and most people around me stopped caring about the game after the halftime ceremony.
Meadowlands Stadium has TVs everywhere. Literally everywhere. At the concession stands. In every walkway. There are even mini-scoreboard TVs on the outside of the stadium. You have to try to miss a second of the action while in the stadium. The four humongous scoreboard monitors on the interior of the stadium are perfect for replays. Now, if only Meadowlands officials would have actually showed each replay we wanted to see. I guess it’s preseason for them too.
Speaking of those in charge at Meadowlands Stadium, somebody had better fix the PA system before the first meaningful NFL game. Announcements were mumbled when they could be heard at all, and it certainly wasn’t due to a raucous crowd inside the Meadowlands. However, the Meadowlands crew gets a thumbs up from this guy regarding the playing surface. The field was a little slippery, but that was due to rain, not the potentially hazardous turf we’ve been reading about all summer.
Concessions and bathrooms everywhere ensure that you can travel to and from your seat before Braylon Edwards drops his next pass. Granted, the stadium was (at least) half empty after halftime, but I never saw a line longer than a few people throughout the evening. This includes the 20 minutes we spent walking around the lower and middle concourses during the third and fourth quarter. $15.50 for a corned beef sandwich, though? Yeah, that’s why we tailgate before entering the stadium.
Want to know about the restaurants and suites at the new Meadowlands Stadium? Ask somebody else. We were too busy spending our time inside of the incredibly green Jets team store. The green lights are a nice touch, but it took both of us a couple of minutes to readjust after leaving the store. We both demand that Hard Knocks be playing inside the store at all times. That’d be a win for everybody.
In the end, the new Meadowlands Stadium is a generic sports stadium that opened in 2010 and looks like pretty much any other stadium would. You could set the Meadowlands Stadium down in Cleveland, Kansas City or San Jose and it wouldn’t be out of place. That’s just how these corporate stadiums are meant to be in the modern era of sports. Gone are the days of home field advantage actually having to do with the home stadium. The Meadowlands Stadium is a fine place to watch a football game. Home of the Giants and Jets? Certainly not yet.
Potentially not ever.
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