New York City: Day 3 – From the Bird’s Nest
I’ve been to Yankee Stadium.
The old Yankee Stadium.
Not the one that was refurbished in the mid-70’s that the Yankees played in until the new one was built.
The OLD Yankee Stadium. The original one. With the right field foul pole only 297 feet from home plate. The Yankee Stadium where the monuments were in play, some 460 feet from home plate. The Yankee Stadium that Babe, Gehrig, Dimaggio, Berra, Ford and Mantle played in.
I never saw the Yankee Stadium Ron Guidry pitched in. The one that Billy Martin got tossed from. The one that housed Thurman and Reggie. Same building, but much different after the refurbishing.
Now I was going to the NEW Yankee Stadium.
We left the hotel just after ten to walk to the train station. We caught an express (that’s a subway with fewer stops) out to the Bronx. The train dropped us off at the Stadium.
And what a structure it is.
I’ve said before…I’m not a Yankees fan. But it’s Yankee Freaking Stadium and if you’re a baseball fan, this should definitely be on your bucket list. We walked around the stadium for just a bit and, although we got to the stadium almost two hours before game time, the line to Monument Park was already closed. We were bummed out by that, but the Yankee Museum was open and we took advantage of that opportunity.
The museum has several cases featuring some of the great Yankees teams of the past with a story about that particular season. They change out the exhibits so the museum remains fresh for visitors. There’s a wall with lots, and I mean lots of autographed baseballs. It doesn’t take that long to go through it, but it’s full of memories. And, as a baseball history buff, this was right up my alley.
Then it was time to find our seats. Now, you’ve heard stories about the price of tickets to Yankees games and it’s certainly not a cheap ticket unless you’re sitting in the outfield bleachers or the upper deck down both lines in fair territory. My suggestion is, if you’re going to go to see a game, you check the Yankee Ticket Exchange on their website. Sometimes tickets are sold for above face value, so you need to check to see how much tickets in that area usually run. But the closer you get to game day, the better chance you have of finding tickets at a reduced price. By waiting until the day before we left for New York, I saved about forty bucks on each ticket. We sat in the second level on the first base side, closer to home plate than first base. We were very happy with our seats. The photo of Derek Jeter you see were from folks who were in our travel party who had r-e-a-l-l-y good seats and I don’t even want to think about what they paid for them.
Of course, one of the things that made a trip to the Stadium so special this year is it’s the last year we will see one of the all-time great players in baseball history on the field. Derek Jeter has moved up to seventh on the all-time hit list. He passed Carl Yastrzemski recently.
I remember when Mickey Mantle announced he would retire. Every time he came out of the Yankees dugout, whether it was in pre game or any other time, he got a huge ovation. The same is happening with Jeter. He just went out to take a few ground balls and the crowd roared its approval. Derek Jeter shirts are EVERYWHERE in New York City.
Nothing is cheap at the Stadium. I got a foot long hot dog with sauerkraut (6.00). A 16 ounce beer was 11.00. A 12 oz. was 9.50 (They had Yuengling, but I had to look for it.)
I really didn’t care much who won the game. But I found myself pretty excited when Jeter got hits in his first two at bats. Toronto wound up winning the game 6-4, which put a damper on that year long Jeter celebration for a day.
We had bought tickets to take a double decker bus tour of parts of the city. It just so happened at Yankee Stadium was one of their stops. We saw a bit of the Bronx, went through Harlem and the upper east side, the wealthiest area of New York. We got off the bus at Central Park and hung out there for a bit. It was getting close to dinnertime so we hailed a cab and headed to Chinatown.
The cab ride took us through the East Village, SoHo and LIttle Italy. I had looked earlier and saw there was a good selection of restaurant choices in one certain area and we had the cabbie let us off there. We walked down the street and I have to say there was a lot of energy. Open air markets with all sorts of fresh vegetables and in some cases, fish in plastic bags. (For some reason, that wasn’t very appetizing to me.)
We got to a place where there were restaurants on both sides of the road. David suggested one that was kind of a hole in the wall. The Shanghai Deluxe Cafe was pretty small and they don’t take credit cards. They turn over tables pretty quickly. We were able to get a table almost immediately (we found in NYC if it’s a party of two you’ve got a better shot) and got our menus. And, a good Chinese restaurant is one where you have to ask for silverware. We had a spoon and chopsticks at our table.
We ordered spring rolls, lo mein, fried rice and a shrimp and scallops combination. Our waiter brought out several platters of food that barely fit onto the table. A party sitting next to us remarked “You guys must be hungry.” Evidently we were because we pretty much demolished everything in sight. When it was obvious we were finished, we were presented with our check immediately (you done? Get out. We need the table).
The check? Four platters of food? That’ll be $39.00 please.
The food was great. I read later in a restaurant guide that we chose well: it was one of the higher rated restaurants in Chinatown. Good job, David.
We took a cab back to the hotel and called it quits a little early, especially for a Saturday night in New York. But we needed to pack and get ready for the next day. Our car was showing up at 7:30am to take us back to the airport in Jersey.
The Hall of Fame was waiting for us.