by Kaylyn Thornal, Founder – Fanzooloo & Diehard Red Sox Fan
Photos by Natasha Bedu, Co-Founder & Temporary Mets Fan
Let’s just start by saying there is no easy way to get to Citi Field from lower Manhattan. The only piece of advice I can give you is to leave early – very early and avoid rush hour traffic whichever way you decide to go – by car or by train. We left Chelsea at 4 and arrived at 5:30. Take that for what it is.
The neighborhood surrounding the stadium isn’t the most fan friendly unless you’re in the market for a muffler or rims, but walk a few blocks (or many blocks) in any direction and you’re in for some incredible food and neighborhood bar experiences. (see Fanzooloo app or our Citi Field page for more info)
There is, however, some great tailgating in the surrounding lot and both Yankees and Mets fans were in full on grill mode. This was as serious as any football game we’ve seen – giant Viking grills capable of 50 burgers length-wise. We passed up a couple of invitations and headed into the park early in an attempt to get our ball signed again.
But on the way in, we ran into this dog.
She smokes a pipe and will love you for a $1. By the front gate near the giant apple (moved here from Shea Stadium), you can tip this pipe smoking bitch a buck and she will shake your hand and put her head on your shoulder. Cheap immediate gratification. It’s the best kind. Someone tried to put a Yankees cap on her head and like a good girl, she immediately shook it off.
And now, here’s our 5 most memorable moments of Citi Field:
1. Shake Shack burgers and the half-hour line. The only other time I’ve stood in a line this long was opening day this year at Dodger’s Stadium, and that wasn’t worth it. The Shake Shack line however intimidating it may be, is definitely worth the wait.
Everyone in line was salivating and talking about how amazing these burgers are. It’s no lie. Hands down the best burger I’ve tasted at a ballpark. Think In & Out, but with better meat, creamier cheese and nicer servers. Oh, and better fries. I mean, the fries alone nearly win the best fries in all of baseball award.
2. Lots of food variety and vegetarian selections. We tried the veggie quesadillas from El Verano made with mushrooms, zucchini, corn and cheese and then grilled and served with sour cream. Really delicious and cheesy. So good we had to make ourselves stop eating it so we could try other food.
3. As we circled the park, you’ll see the Shea Bridge Terrace exemplifying (according to the Mets’ website) “the Mets’ connection to New York’s five boroughs while also symbolically linking the team’s storied tradition to its future”.
That’s where we met this dude, and our official Fanzooloo Fan of the Day: Vernon “The Cooler.” Sadly, this volunteer fire fighter couldn’t put out the flames on the Bronx Bombers who dominated this subway series yet again.
4. Delicious Mets colored sprinkle-covered cannolis from Mama’s of Corona. Just what the doctor ordered while watching the Yankees win, again. It takes a lot of sugar and alcohol to watch a great team be this great year after year, decade after decade after decade.
5. This guy seemed completely disinterested however. I love him for two reasons, 1.) he came dressed for a ho-down in these terrific overalls (which he wore quite well), and 2.) that he actually napped here. Well done!
6. One of the only complaints – and it’s kind of a biggie – about Citi Field was the total clusterf**k that it took to get out of the park. First, there aren’t enough exits. They cattle herded us down stairs, then ramps, then more ramps. It took a good 20 minutes from seat to street. And that’s not the worst part. Once in the car (and we parked right by the entrance/exit) it took another hour to get out of the parking lot. The guys directing traffic were bewildered and lost as droves of cars swarmed and honked. Yes, I took it upon myself to help direct traffic, until I thought I might get thrown in jail. I did get several hi-fives and one JDate request, however. I’m not Jewish, but fine.
Stay tuned for our next stop: DEATH STAR (Yankees Stadium)
Stop # 5 in Philly was rained out, but read our blog on Stop #4 – PNC Park if you missed it.