A(nother) First Look at Citi Field from the St. Johns Game.
First it’s come a long way, and it was beautiful.
I was getting butterflies driving towards it as I saw the first signs mentioning it, and as I looked for a spot. The parking lot (the main, Shea, General/Prepaid) that I parked in is still only partially done, so hopefully it’ll provide more exiting opportunities. I left at 2:30, but had I left a regular Mets game at the end with everyone else it might have been a mess.
I got there at 11:35, and figured rather than go to LF and go right in, I’d wait at the Rotunda to enter there at 11:40. I’m glad I did. The Rotunda, and the area around it, are terrific. Even the dwindling pile of Shea is beautiful in it’s own way, and people were indeed taking pictures with it. I crossed into the building, and the Rotunda is amazing. Still plenty to be done, but still amazing. I was confronting with the urge to be 18 places at once and running all over. Seeing as that was impossible, we started with probably the most mundane, the team store.
Team store’s a big step up from the one at Shea. And there are more of them too. There is also Alyssa Milano’s first female boutique shop in right field. I bought a Citi Field inaugural season shirt, and a shot glass, and moved on.
The views are great from everywhere. Sure there are more cut off corners, and a handful of overhangs in the way in a couple of places, but they definitely tried to minimize those (except for the overhang, which even if you miss the plays at the wall in RF, is still pretty cool). I didn’t find a seat that I flat out said, “I wouldn’t want to sit here”. Top rows of the Outfield Promenade Reserve aren’t great, but they’re better than UR section 36 Row N, which is what they were going for.
Another subject that’s important to me, Beer and food. While they retained some of the ‘generic’ staples like Nathans, preliminary reports suggest that at least the food will be served properly, hot and fresh. The concessions are quicker and more orderly, and hopefully they’re properly set up to be well stocked. The real story is the rest of the stuff. Prices are better than at Shea from what I could tell, and they have a billion more options. Much has been made about Blue Smoke and Shake Shack and Box Frites and tacos and catch of the day and on and on. I can’t wait to try them all, but Shake Shack was as good in the Citi as it is in the City.
Beer. I can be a bit of a beer snob, and I rarely drank at Shea because it was a struggle to find anything worthwhile. (Although they did have Killians and Blue Moon last year) I wasn’t paying $8 for a crappy Bud. This year there are dozens of options, all over the place, and local ones. All the outfield concessions have specialty beers, that appear to have been designed exclusively for the venue. That the beer was actually designed with the food you’re eating with it in mind is thrilling to me. Shack Shack has their exclusive Shackmeister Ale, and Blue Smoke has it’s Blue Smoke Blend, all from Brooklyn Brewery. There was some Queens Ale at the Box Frites place which I can’t remember the name of, but I can find no indication of a beer with Queens in the title from Brooklyn Brewery, which lends to the idea that it’s exclusive to that location. It’s going to be hard for me to not try all four of these beers on Saturday against the Red Sox, I only have to remind myself that they aren’t going anywhere.
I wandered all around and didn’t see everything. Much of every trip to the place for a while will be a new experience, which is great. New seats, new views. Every game is an adventure. I’ve got tickets to three regular season games already, and I’m sure I’ll be to at least two dozen more.
The ping of the aluminum bat felt so wrong.
Seeing the Mets on the out of town scoreboard was a unique experience, and pretty cool.
There some glitches and errors. Many will be fixed I’m sure. Some escalators weren’t working right, some water still pooled in some areas. Some TVs weren’t hooked up. The smoke from the BBQ place can/did drift past the scoreboard (depending on the wind) so you can see it in the outfield. No big deal really.
All you really need to know is that you need to get there at your first opportunity. You won’t be disappointed.