Here we are less than a week away until the Jets open up the 2010 season in their new home. They face the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football as the first game of a double header at 7 PM. Every Jets fan is on pins and needles to see Gang Green for the first time in a regular season game in the new Meadowlands Stadium. While some will be watching from home for the first time, opting out of returning as a season ticket holder. Monday begins a new era for everyone. Some even are season ticket holders for the first time. It will be an interesting first season in the new stadium for Jets and Giants fans alike.
I have a few things I would like to go over so this will cover a different topics. Do not have the time to write 2-3 articles with Rosh Hashanah beginning tonight for my Hebrews and Shebrews. Have dinner with family tomorrow and not sure about Friday. So I will sum up a few things here tonight. Things from the food at the new stadium to filming during tailgating to people I have interviewed in the past.
Ryan Sutton, the food critic for Bloomberg NY, recently reviewed the food at the new Meadowlands Stadium. His article, New Meadowlands Has Horrible Edibles; Go With Deli, goes in depeth not just about the food, but about the stadium, drinks, and sight-lines from the Coaches Club section. He talks about how expensive anything to drink there is. $12 cocktails, $18 rum and cokes, $4.75 bottles of water are just crazy prices. One does not even get the cap to the water as they worry fans would toss them at players. Even one of the lounges is named after Captain Morgan. Wonder how much sponsorship dollars that brought in.
Here are some of Ryan’s quotes about the food:
“The pizza’s free but so bad I almost yearned for a Domino’s slice. Miserable Manhattans, poured into a plastic cup with neither shaking nor stirring still help you forget about the turnpike-quality concessions and pricing on par with tuition at New York University.”
“Food is included in the Coaches Club ticket price; the David Rockwell-designed buffet dished out overcooked penne a la vodka, rubbery kosher chicken nuggets and mushy cannoli. There are medium-rare skirt steaks, succulent beef tenderloins, juicy stuffed turkey and spicy chili.”
Grilled filet mignon, turkey roulade and honey-glazed pit ham at New Meadowlands stadium. It’s the same type of fare one might find in any hotel buffet, anywhere in the country. Photographer: Ryan Sutton/Bloomberg
“The fare at best is generic and utterly boring. The opposite is true at our other new stadiums: At Citi Field for example, Mets fans can snack on New York’s best local fast food, including burgers from Danny Meyer’s Shake Shack, crispy fries from Box Frites, great tacos at El Verano Taqueria and David Pasternack’s fresh, meaty lobster rolls.”
“The Coaches Club, in contrast, embarrasses our country’s culinary capital with retrograde, flavorless Tex-Mex chicken tortillas, tuna fish-like lobster rolls and soggy fries. A “custom grind” Brooklyn Burger from the Mezzanine Club tastes nothing like the good sliders I’ve had in Kings County. Other sports complexes hire well-known regional chefs and restaurateurs; the Meadowlands picked the mass-market Food Network to provide $11 short rib hot dogs.”
“instead, have the deep-fried franks for $6.00. Or gorge on the least crowded and most authentic vendors in the general concessions area — the bridge-and-tunnel Italian deli stands.”
Fans stand behind the Giants bench at the Coaches Club private on-field patio. Personal seat licenses cost $20,000 each for the club. Photographer: Ryan Sutton/Bloomberg
Ryan is right on the ball. Other stadiums across the country put more into the food served, even into the vendors brought in. They go with local far and local vendors to run their own stands. The Meadowlands still dishes out the same pre made slop. Seems they put more into the building that what goes into the food. I have watched specials on Food Network and The Travel Channel that spotlight stadiums & arenas across the country. I see so many stadiums with such mouth watering goodies. The Orioles have hand made crab cakes. The Royals has BBQ right in the place. MEadowlands could not even give us NYC deli favorites or anything regional.
This is why many people tailgate. One can cook better food than they could buy inside the stadium. Then again, one could buy a six pack of beer cheaper than one inside the stadium. It is cost effective for many to do it in the lot. That is one of the best things about filming during tailgating, seeing all the food and smelling all the great barbecue. I love to catch people on camera enjoying time with friends and family before the game eating and drinking. Filming people in the parking lot makes for an enjoyable time. Everyone is a big family and people invite you into their tailgate. It is a very warming experience.
When I went to game with my father, we never tailgated. We went right o the game, that was it. When it is just the two of us there was no reason. Plus, we did not know many other Jets fans. These days, you can find tailgates that charge to eat their food so you can tailgate anywhere really. Sal and Carmine charge but it is worth it for the food and drinks they provide. So these days, you do not need to have a set up to tailgate. You can join someone’s. Just bring friends and enjoy the party.
When I go out filming, people offer myself and the crew some good stuff. We have had some unbelievable food. Chicken vodka Parmesan sandwiches, homemade pizza, ribs, quesadillas, chicken, and so much more. Of course, who can forget the beer. I just talk to everyone like they are friends and get their stories of being a fan. In return, they share their food. Like a community of neighbors sharing dishes during a block party. I have met some great people while filming. I expect this season to be no different. It is best to interview people in a comfortable atmosphere so they are relaxed and able to talk openly. For some, talking after a few drinks makes it easier too.
Some I have interviewed in the past have set up their last tailgate and will not be back. Guys like Steve Kern, Ken Pikowski, John Allen, and some of the Jets Pack who have been coming to games since 1967. What some would have spent on PSL’s have been spent on large screen TV’s. Not everyone went for a PSL. Some of the Jets Nuts did, Sal and Carmine, Mary Lou Wilson kept hers after her husband Tommy had passed away. Even their son Tommy Jr. keeps going. I had written about Tommy Wilson on here & XtraPointFootball.com before. I am hoping to find more fans like him this season.
I want to find people who not just have stories of the past to tell, but new tailgaters. People who are new to it all starting their traditions. It makes for a great story, and a great game experience. I will be going back to those I have talked to before. Hoping to add to their stories and see if their tailgating futures will ever be the same. Let’s face it, with some friends and family not able to be at game anymore it changes the dynamic of the tailgate and game time experience for some. This is a new era for many. Will have more for everyone next week. Until then, are you ready for some football?