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The Basics For Tailgating At MetLife Stadium

Recently I was contacted by a cable television series.  They are about to do their first episode on tailgating.  They saw my article on Football Reporters Online and the work I have done at Jets games, filming my documentary.  The producer wanted to know what they needed to do to shoot there and the best location to park.  I helped him along as best I could as they are going to a Giants game.  Same parking lot, different surroundings.  Seems everyone wants to know the best location not just for tailgating, but for filming at the stadium.

Now before and after finding the best tailgating location there is other work to be done.  Deciding on what to bring and what kind of set up a tailgate will have.  Now depending on the size of your tailgate, this can either be easy or complicated.  Some tailgaters do not bother with logistics.  They just bring a grill, cooler, chairs, and maybe a radio for other games and that’s it.  Others go above and beyond, creating a small dwelling or village to satisfy the masses they bring to their tailgate.

Last time I talked about location.  One can set up anywhere.  The concrete dividers and islands can obviously hold any size tailgate.  I have seen buses unload to grand set ups down to two guys with a grill and some chairs.  Any size tailgate works there.  If setting up in the lot itself, one needs to have a tighter and organized set up.  Cramming everything into one spot, maybe two could make it very cramped.  Depending on what you bring will determine where you should set up.

Every tailgate should have certain essentials.  Items that go beyond a grill and cooler.  These days, a pop up canopy tent is becoming a necessity.  Why?  For several reasons.  Provides great shade on hot days.  On rainy days, not only does it protect you but it also covers the grill so those steaks and burgers can cook evenly.  With side coverings, one has protection during windy rain and snow days.  The side panels cost extra, but are worth it during the bad elements.  When tailgating in groups, having tents side by side provide more space and room for all to be dry.   Some tents cost under $65, but it may be flimsy.  Better quality ones start around $100 providing sturdier covers.

When dealing with coolers, always have more than one.  Food & beverages should be packed separately.  Never know if prepared foods, meats, or anything that leaks may get over other items.  Cleaning items  off may be an easy way around it.  But reaching in for a drink and grabbing a chicken leg may not satisfy that thirst.  Being able to lift the lid and see the varieties of beer, soda, wine, water, it a lot easier than moving a leaking steak off the bottle tops.  Plus the bigger coolers can be used as extra seats.  Never know who may stop by.

Some seem to go above and beyond, bringing their whole living room to the game.  I have seen couches lined up on top of rugs with coffee tables.  Many will bring their flat screens and hook them into cable TV dishes to watch all the games.  Some will bring whatever amenities from home to make their tailgate a little more comfortable and pleasing to the eye.  If you are one of the very lucky few to have a Winnebago or trailer, some manage to have a luxury home on wheels to tailgate with.  Many just have the necessities in their trailer: small cooking area, place to sit, tv, refrigerator, Jets memorabilia, & maybe a small bathroom.

 

 

 

 

 

One of the most important decisions one will make is what type of grill to bring and how many.  Many regular tailgaters invest in the Thermos Grill-2-Go by Char-Broil.  Easy to travel with, large cooking surface, easy to clean, and compact design make it an ideal tailgate companion.  Abel to pack it into a trunk or back seat and open wide to cook anything you can think of.  The old staple will always be charcoal grills.  There are places to dispose of the coals, but many opt to let them cool off on the ground in the parking lot.

The Grill2Go in action

Some tailgates will have more than one grill depending on the size of the crew.  Others opt to bring grills or BBQ pits large enough to cook a Fred Flintstone brontosaurus style steak.  Many cook their food at different intervals.  Know what you want to cook when.  Start with the burgers and dogs and then work on the items that take longer like steaks, chops, chicken legs, kabobs, and whatever else one deems worthy.  Give yourself enough time to clean the grill and cool it down so one does not miss kick off.

This are a plethora of other options to make your tailgate better.  I just provide some of the basics.  I could write about countless other options, perhaps I will in the near future.  There  should be enough of a basis to build your tailgate on.  These options will come in handy for those attending Sunday’s match up between the Jets and San Diego Chargers.  This is LT’s first game against his former team so it will be entertaining.  Get there around 8 AM when the gates open to give yourself maximum tailgating time to make the whole day entertaining.

Prime Tailgating Locations Identified At MetLife Stadium

When I started LevysBakeryProductions.com I wanted to keep people and Jets fans informed about my documentary, Gang Greed and other projects.  I soon began writing about more than that.  About my experiences while filming both Jets games and NFL alternatives.  Focusing on Jets fans and tailgating before and after games.  It seemed that the more I did at the stadium, the more I was learning about what it takes to have a successful and entertaining tailgate.

It seemed no matter how much I tried to focus on the Jets and how their decisions affect their fans, the more tailgating became a focus at many points.  Yes many would like to be season ticket holders and attend the game.  But many of those fans also want to tailgate to have a true football experience.  Tailgating has become just as important as attending the games to many.  Some do it small with just themselves while others go above and beyond to create a lavish affair.

Everyday people come to my website to look for the best places to park, how to get parking passes, what tailgating foods people prepare, where Fireman Ed’s seats are, and other topics related to Jets tailgating.  All of those searches let me know how my website has become a destination for those looking to tailgate at Jets home games .

I have journeyed over the blacktop landscape at the stadium.  So today I will start with three things that will hopefully make your tailgating experience at, ugh, MetLife Stadium that much better.  Location, location, location.  Now here we have a map of the MetLife stadium parking.  Now depending on what color parking pass you have will determine where one might think they will have a great location to tailgate.Now many feel the best areas to tailgate are the concrete or dirt borders that surround each parking area.  I happen to agree.  It gives you space to put your grill, tent, and other tailgating items.  It also provided room for those groups that have mass tailgaters.  But one must arrive before they open the gates and wait on line, this happens five hours before kick off.  This will ensure you get a prime spot on the outlying border.
Many of those with Winnebago’s, trailers, campers, smokers, will set up along borders.  The key is to find the spots before they do or get into the mix.  The tailgating security will not tell you how to set up your tailgate in these areas hence why many go for it off the bat.  If you have a lot of people coming or a lot of gear, get there as early as possible.  If not, expect to wait on long lines, maybe over an hour.

Now, if you are not one of the lucky few to get a spot on the outskirts, I suggest setting up next to the lot markers.  The lot markers are easy to find, they are also the night parking lights.  Easy to find your car after the game and if you get a few cars parked in a row there it makes a group tailgate easier to set up.  Many do this in the yellow parking lots.  The green ones fill in closer to game time as those fans seem to care more about the game than tailgating.

In some lots, at the end of each parking aisle is a small blocked off section.  Nothing big, but small areas outlines for non parking use.  Some take the end spots so they can have this small area to enhance their tailgate.  I have seen some good set ups within this space and their parking area.  These are mainly in the Yellow lots and very few in the green.  The further away one parks from the stadium the easier it is to get away with certain tailgating set ups.

Parking lot D in the yellow section provides a good combination of both.  There are only four rows/two lanes of parking so the tailgating there seems to be more compact and easy to set up.  Bathrooms are close and if you get a lucky enough spot, you could park under the bridge from the stadium to the Izod Center for shelter from rain.  There is even a dirt section close to Route 120 where one can set up a tailgate well.  It may be tight over there, but there are good spots for setting up your tailgate.

I have yet to make it over to the NON PSL parking.  From what I understand, one can not tailgate in the garage.  If one does decide to tailgate over by the Izod Center, you need to make it quick.  The time it takes you to pack up and walk over the stadium is not a hop, skip, and jump.  Only in Lot B is tailgating easy for NON PSL holders.  In the numbered parking, same rules apply as if you parked in the PSL parking.  One just needs to have a quick set up to ensure making it over by kickoff.

It does not matter where you park, the stadium has employees walking around making sure people keep their tailgate limited to only one spot.  Keep any grill or tent close to your vehicle and do not stick out far into the driving area.  They will tell you to move it.  That is why people tailgate in groups or find areas they can set up that does not fall in designated parking areas.  Groups like L7 Tailgate, L5 Tailgate, Frank Conway and his friends, and others always tailgate in big numbers.  They know with more space comes better room to have fun before any game.

Some friends and family look forward to tailgating before every home game.  Sometimes more than the game.  It gives people a chance to catch up, reminisce, and for others, a chance to meet someone new.  I know of a couple who met during Jets tailgating and several years later, went to a Jets game  the same day they were married.  So always choose your spot wisely when deciding where to set up to tailgate.  It may determine not just how big your tailgate can be, but the kinds of memories it will create. 

Jets Visit Ground Zero, 9/11 Opener Means More To All

In less than ten days the New York Jets will have their season and home opener in the newly named MetLife Stadium.  Rex Ryan is primed and ready to make another run towards the playoffs and the Jets first Super Bowl appearance in more than 40 years.

On a day where the team and its fans should be screaming from the roof tops may see it just a little quieter that Sunday.  Where some will be shouting with joy, others will be a little more somber for remembrance on the tenth anniversary of the September 11th tragedy.

The New York Jets took a visit to the World Trade Center site yesterday, showing their respect to the site and appreciation to the workers that are rebuilding the hallowed ground.  They visited the site after their annual luncheon at Ciprini on Wall Street to get a first-hand look at the rebuilding of a site where many lost their lives.

All players, coaches and front office visited the site, where they surprised workers during lunch.  A trip like this for the Jets should give enough motivation and fill them with pride that they will represent New York on September 11th.

“It was a great morale boost for the thousands of construction workers that are there around the clock and our police officers and security workers,” PA spokeswoman Jamie Loftus said.

Dustin Keller was quoted as saying “Everyone was just kinda in awe”.

Asked why the Jets took the team to Ground Zero, Keller said: “9/11 is a huge part of the history of New York City. We’re the New York Jets, and we should know our history.”  Several of Keller’s teammates Tweeted their experience after the visit on Twitter.

“It was really cool just to see — obviously, it’s been a while since 9/11 — the towers get back up,” tight end Dustin Keller said. “It’s hard to explain — so many people here lost family members or friends, or knew somebody. It’s kinda touching when you think about it, all the lives lost, and to get the building back up there … it’s awesome.

“Very humbling experience,” tweeted cornerback Antonio Cromartie. “Just walked out to see Ground Zero. A really heart felt experience God Bless everyone.”  Many of the Tweets reflected heart felt emotions by the team.

It shows how powerful a took Twitter can be.  Where one can express deep heart felt emotion and convey it instantly to thousands to feel for themselves.  The teams emotions could be felt not just by those who read their tweets, but to the workers and other staff on site.

“When you think about the fact that 3,000 people got up that morning and all they wanted to do was go to work — they weren’t doing anything reckless, they weren’t taking any chances — they just wanted to go to work and they lost their lives. When you think about that, it’s hard not be moved,” Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum said.

The quotes above come courtesy of Brian Costello & Steve Serby’s article in the NY Post.  The full article has more from the Jets and their visit to Ground Zero.  Reading it may me wish I was there to experience it with them.  I have seen the site before so I can understand their emotion in seeing it for the first time.

Sometimes the grimmest of tragedies and experiences make us hold our heads higher for the future.  Perhaps it is good that the Jets will be home on Sunday, September 11th.  After visiting the site, the workers, looking at photographs, and soaking it all into their hearts, perhaps they will play with a confidence and emotion they need to start the season.

The team must take pride in knowing they play for New York & New Jersey.  They represent fans of New York and New Jersey.  They represent those who not just bled green and white, but gave it all on that fateful day.  To the fans in memory who watch from above and have the best seats in the house.

The fans at the game and watching on tv will not just be cheering their team, but cheering with pride.  Remembering what that day means to all parties involved and to those family and friends each of us lost.  Ten years may have gone by, but to some, it still feels like yesterday.

As I walk around the tailgating faithful, I am sure I will feel a different vibe amongst everyone.  Many ready for the Jets to defeat the Cowboys, and others remembering the tragedies of that day.  It will be a home game like no other.  The feeling amongst fans will be a mixed bag.  Some may not know how to react, if they should be cheerful or not.  But all will be thankful they are together at a New York Jets game to share it with everyone.

So this September 11th, do not cheer just for your favorite team, remember those who lost their lives.  The Jets will take with them their visit to Ground Zero next Sunday.  Those emotions, thoughts, and feelings will be with them on the field, before the opening kick off and when the game is over.  Sports has an uncanny way of bringing us together through tragedy.  The past three years have seen many go through tragedy.  Maybe Sunday’s remembrance is what we need as Americans to bring us all together again.

New York Jets, Met Life Revel in Last Week’s Accomplishments

With MetLife purchasing the naming rights to New Meadowlands Stadium, the Jets got the first win in “The House That Snoopy Built” on Monday night, a 17-3 preseason win over the Giants.
Deemed the “MetLife Bowl,” the insurance company presented the Jets a trophy with Snoopy in leatherhead gear, holding a football in a Heisman pose.

Ryan grinned awkwardly, trying to look poised as he held a trophy for a preseason win.  It was a rare moment in the life of Rex Ryan. The Jets head coach didn’t know what to say.  Not too often Rex is at a loss for words.  Perhaps he is rehearsing in case he gets to hold the Lombardi trophy.  Then again, holding that trophy may not keep him quiet.

Now the Jets and Giants can take part in a Bowl, exclusive only to them, to battle for New York bragging rights.  The MetLife bowl sounds more suited for college than the NFL.  To some players, this could be the only bowl they get to play in.
This past Friday, players from the New York Giants and New York Jets rushed Manhattan’s Bryant Park in an unprecedented event that brought both teams together to celebrate MetLife Stadium with fans of all ages. The event was hosted by 1050 ESPN’s Mike Golic and numerous New York Jets and New York Giants were in attendance.

The New York Giants were represented by Head Coach Tom Coughlin with Eli Manning, Antrel Rolle, Brandon Jacobs, Chris Smee, Ahmad Bradshaw, Hakeem Nicks, Corey Webster, Aaron Ross, David Diehl, Kenny Phillips, Jason-Pierre-Paul, and Will Beatty.
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New York Jets had as their contingent Head Coach Rex Ryan, with Mark Sanchez, Darrelle Revis, LaDainian Tomlinson, Nick Mangold, Shonn Greene, Santonio Holmes, Dustin Keller, Bart Scott, D’Brickshaw Ferguson, Eric Smith, Sione Pouha, and David Harris

The event was held to commemorate the signing of a 25-year deal with the Jets and  Giants to name the East Rutherford, N.J. sports and entertainment complex. Game tickets and MetLife Stadium-branded hats, t-shirts and mini-footballs were distributed to the loyal and passionate fans who attended the event.  They did have green and blue shirts so fans from both sides felt equal.

The MetLife bowl was not just about a trophy, the Giants and Jets also battled for charity in their annual preseason game. The winning team received the MetLife Trophy as well as $40,000 for the charity of their choice, while the other team will be awarded $10,000. The Jets donated their share to The Trust for Public Land and the Giants donated their proceeds to KaBOOM!

“We had a great time bringing the fans and teams together in Bryant Park,” said Beth Hirschhorn, chief marketing officer of MetLife. “This is just one example of the exciting opportunities coming for fans in the months ahead, and we look forward to welcoming them at the new MetLife Stadium.”

At the event, New York and New Jersey fans interacted with active and retired Giants and Jets players and had multiple autograph opportunities. Vinny Testaverde, Wayne Chrebet, & oe Klecko were the veteran contingent for Gang Green.   Otis Anderson, Carl Banks, and Armani Toomer were there for the Giants.

Kids had a chance to participate in a “football handoff” from  Jets RB Shonn Greene or Giants RB Ahmad Bradshaw, and had their very own Kids’ Zone where they could get close to players, have autographs signed and interact with the Peanuts gang.  It was a kids dream come true where there were no lines to wait on and all their favorite players around them. 

To those fans in attendance who could only stand by and watch the festivities, the players walked the perimeter and signed autographs for anyone who wanted.  The merchandise MetLife handed out proved to be great for capturing autographs.

Nick Mangold, who is a die hard fan of the fast casual chain Chipotle, was asked to comment on how great the food is.  His response was they already have enough positive attention and he did not need to add to it.

Through the naming rights sponsorship, MetLife plans to significantly expand the unique experiences available to fans, including tickets to big games, the opportunity to play on MetLife Stadium turf, face-to-face meetings with star players, field passes, trips to away games, signed memorabilia and much more.

Even though Monday nights win over the Giants was sloppy, it was a win.  Both teams will meet on December 24th during the regular season.  It will be a different story then.  No preseason bowl.  Just two teams looking to make a run at the playoffs and a true battle for New York supremacy.

If this past Monday night;s game is a precursor of how the teams will look this season, there is still a lot of work to be done.  With the regular season just 11 days away, both teams need to make big strides on both sides of the ball.  Even with MetLife on the new stadium, the Jets and Giants are in no ways insured they will be going to the Super Bowl.