Admittedly, the New York Mets have been mediocre (technically: worse than mediocre, actually), since their state-of-the-art stadium, Citi Field, celebrated its first Opening Day in 2009, trudging along at below-.500 clip through all four seasons in their new home.
But Citi Field itself? A total champ! Seriously, I went out to the still-seemingly-spanking-new ballpark the other night for the first time (I know… I know… totally late on this, but whatever), and had such a blast wandering around with my buddy, chatting with long-suffering fans, checking out all of the fancy, family-friendly distractions and amenities, eating tons of stunningly first-rate food (LONG gone are the days of bad overpriced dogs and stale crackerjacks); watching the game from many different angles and, I guess I should report, seeing the Mets lose, badly, to the Florida Marlins.
Anyway, I highly recommend anyone with easy access to the 7 train to grab some friends, or your kids, and head on out to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park and spend a few hours goofing around and watching a game. We sat in the $25 Promenade seats, which were totally fine, and the even-cheaper $20 “Promenade Outfield” would have been equally fine.
Because here’s the thing about Citi Field and it’s excellent design: there’s almost no obstructions between the action on the field and the outer promenade of the structure, which circles the entire field and is accessible to all, so you can walk around and stop and watch the game from any number of awesome vantage points (the Shea Bridge is a particularly nice spot). And since the Mets are not doing particularly well, it’s not like there are huge crowds to contend with.
And even if you don’t care at all about baseball, there’s still plenty to do at Citi Field. For instance: eating. Now, I’ve read about all of the well-known vendors who have set up shop at Citi Field, but it’s a different story altogether once you’re at the ballpark, and all of the food stands are spread around the spacious picnic areas. Heck, it’s like Smorgasburg here!
We hit up Danny Meyer’s Blue Smoke for a terrific pulled pork sandwich and an equally terrific pile of smoky, spicy chicken wings, both under $10. There’s also an (always mobbed) Shack Shack, a couple of Two Boots pizza joints, huge Italian sandwiches (and just-as-huge cannolis) at Mama’s of Corona, and Dave Pasternack’s Catch of the Day, featuring grilled shrimp po’boys and fried flounder sandwiches.
Late season bonus: meat maestro Pat LaFrieda’s just moved into Citi Field this week, slinging $15 black angus filet mignon sandwiches, smothered in jack cheese and caramelized onions.
On the fun-for-the-whole-restless-family front, Citi Field offers a T-ball home-run derby in a little mini stadium, a dunking booth, photo-ops with Mr. Met, various Mets Hall-of-Fame museums and memorabilia, and even, somewhat bizarrely, baseball video games. And there are seemingly THOUSANDS of TVs and jumbo-trons and such throughout Citi Field, so even if you’re away from the field, you don’t have to miss a pitch.
And because the whole thing feels very unlike the New York City ballfields of yore, it’s almost like going on a mini-vacation to some theme park. For ticket info and everything else, see the Citi Field website.
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