The thing I have discovered about visiting all of these different ballparks is that football stadiums have nowhere near the character that baseball parks do.
I guess because the football stadiums are intended more for multiple uses, while the ballparks are primarily used for baseball, with the occasional concert mixed in.
Still, a home for the Jets is a home for the Jets - and that alone makes the New Meadowlands Stadium unique.
The talk leading up to the opening of the stadium was how 'drab' it looked, because everything was so gray and neutral to accommodate the fact that the Giants and Jets shared the field. First of all, I don't mind the gray seats. Secondly, it doesn't matter what color the seats are when there are people sitting in them.
And despite the ticket prices and the personal seat licenses, people will be sitting in those seats. Even at a preseason game, you could tell there is a huge amount of excitement about this Jets team. (And the way the Jets' starters played backed that excitement up...but that's a story for another day.) This stadium, with the seats almost on top of the field and the closed end zones, will get loud.
The elements came to play Monday night as well, as there was some pretty steady rain leading up to game time. Of course, in the upper bowl, where I was, you get rained on. The concourses underneath are fairly dry, but this is funny - there are certain spots where the sky looks in on the concourse, and it rained right down on the concourse. And there were some concession stands that just got drenched. I wonder if those are permanent concession stands in those wet spots, or if they can move to different places. Because I'm thinking about the cold and the snow, and those are not very desirable spots for stands...even if it is, oh I don't know, the first cold-weather outdoor Super Bowl.
Other than exposure to the elements, the concourses are pretty good. There are different-looking beer stands, set up like a huge rectangular bar (there's a picture in the album below). There are tons of food stands - from the traditional burgers and hot dogs and sausages to more unique options like peppers and eggs and pork and gyro. Great souvenir cup, which is becoming harder to find these days. Some of the prices are out of this world - $9.75 for beer, $10 for a cheesesteak (granted, it is a huge cheesesteak) - but I was able to get a cheeseburger, fries, and a bottled water for $17.75, which is about normal for a stadium these days.
The one flaw I saw with the new stadium was the staircases, particularly in the upper bowl (I didn't walk on any stairs in the lower sections). They were so narrow - as people were coming and going to get out of the rain before the game, it was difficult to get two-way traffic on there. And there was a 90-degree turn, which was also narrow and tough to navigate. The thing about it is those stairs are concrete and permanent - there's no fixing them. I don't understand how something like that happens, especially when you consider the....um....girth of a good number of folks who attend professional football games.
Overall, though, this wasn't your normal preseason game - and it was exciting to sit at a game and know that it was the Jets' stadium. (All signage throughout the stadium was 'Jets' - from banners in the concourses to signs out front to the Team Stores, where I overheard two of the workers talking and one said, "No, everything has to be Jets. It has to be all Jets," when they were wondering if there was any Giants merchandise to be sold. [It was a Jets home game.])
I'm already looking forward to checking out a regular season game...and maybe even a playoff game or two.