On Friday night, when the 6 train came out of the tunnel at 161st street into the misty evening and you saw the old Yankee Stadium, the first thing you noticed was how run-down it looked. In the gray rain, it looked uncared-for. Dilapidated. Then when the train fully pulled into the 161st street station, the new stadium came up from behind the old one and seemingly dwarfed it. Huge, with a blue light seeping out, it looked otherworldly.
The new Yankee Stadium overwhelms from the minute you walk in. Part Yankee museum, part shopping mall, the Stadium tries hard at every level to provide the Yankee fan with every conceivable comfort and entertainment possible. The walkways are huge, the bathrooms are seemingly every 30 feet. And seriously, any food you can think of, they have it in the ballpark. My wife liked the fact that calories were printed out next to every food and drink.
The stadium itself is also well thought-out and built for convenience. The stairs are wider than the older stadium, and beer and food stands were right at the top of the stairs. And the stadium is open to the walkways, so you can still see and hear the game while you're buying your food or heading back from the bathroom. In the seats, the sightlines were very good, and the centerfield video screen—well let's just say that pictures don't do it justice. It is absolutely enormous.
Overall, the Stadium definitely gets the upgrade it needed. The Yankees designed the new palace to impress and to provide, and on those fronts it succeeds. The only complaint might be that the new palace is "too much." That the Great Hall is too palatial, the walkway has too many stores—like a mall—and that there are too many Yankee images and memorabilia. Overall, just too much.
And while that may be the case; there certainly is a great deal of...everything...around the Stadium; all that everything is on point. It remains all about the Yankees. There isn't a swimming pool in the outfield or a Ferris Wheel right outside, and the Stadium hasn't been turned into a amusement park. And yes, while the Great Hall is a huge Louvre-style museum, it's a museum for the Yankees. The gigantic video screen, the plentiful food and bathrooms, the larger walkways—they are for the benefit of the fans, so they can watch the game in great comfort. None of these things are bad or gratuitous. Overwhelming, maybe, but focused on baseball, the fan and the Yankees.
The new Yankee Stadium, trumps the old one in almost every way as to comfort and luxury; however, the real question remains, will the new Stadium ever provide the mystique & aura the old one did? Lurking just across the street, one gets the feeling, that even after they tear it down, it still will cast a long, long shadow.