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No Monopoly On Free Parking Around MetLife Stadium

Ever since I gave up my season tickets I have not been able to park by the stadium when I film my documentary.  One needs to obtain a parking pass to park on the premises.  For a PSL or season ticket holder, the offer is there when you buy your tickets.  Those who buy tickets for single games can buy a parking pass on Stub Hub, Craigslist, NFL Ticket Exchange, or other areas.  You may have to pay a little more than the season ticket holder but at least you get to park at the stadium.  For someone like me who is trying to save a couple bucks, trying to find a close place to park for free is not that easy.  Now it is almost impossible.

Last year I did some scouting of nearby locations and found one.  The Sheraton hotel right across Route 3.  It was close enough and provided free parking.  The one problem was the walk across Route 3.  It reminded me of the Activision game Freeway for the Atari 2600.  I was glad there was an overpass to use to walk right onto the stadium lot to make that rip easy.  Still had to watch out for cars, but it was a good walk.  Sometimes good things do not last long.

The second game of the season saw Stub Hub control the parking at the Sheraton.  They were charging $25 per vehicle to park there plus an additional cost for transportation to and from the stadium.  I told the attendant I was only going to the hotel.  He let me in so I was able to park for free.  That was the only time last season Stub Hub controlled the parking at the Sheraton.

Stub Hub Rates At The Sheraton

Other businesses around the stadium were charging for parking at various point during the season.  So those who tried to do what I did had no choice but to pay for parking wherever they parked.

The rest of the season no one controlled the parking at the Sheraton.  It was really the only place one could park close by for free and get over to the stadium.  I didn’t see too many other Jets fans there.  It made going to the game easy and hassle free.  The only issue was a long walk.  I did not mind that.  I thought I could rely on using the Sheraton parking as the place to park close for free in the future.  Was I wrong.

This season it appears every local business is charging for off site parking.  Stub Hub still charges $25 per vehicle at the Sheraton.  They also charge $5 to get over to the stadium and $5 to get back to the Sheraton per person.  Nice little program they have.  Homestead Suites next door charges $30 per vehicle.  It seems $25-$30 is the going rate for non stadium parking.  Many provide transportation but few still do not.

It seems every local business is that has a parking lot is trying to make extra money off the fans.  What seemed to be a way to keep some cash in the pocket is now a business venture for those looking to take that cash back out of the fans pocket.

From Redd’s Restaurant on Route 120 to others on Paterson Plank Rd, it seems many are off site parking for Jets and Giants fans.  If one has a residence close enough to MetLife Stadium, that individual could even charge for parking.  How could someone with a home do this? Easily.

Just do what the rest of the businesses do.  Apply for a permit through your town to provide the parking.  Albeit you should have sufficient space & offer transportation to and from the facility, but it can be done.  That is all these other businesses do.  They get a permit from the NJMC to be able to have permission to charge for parking.

To find out some of this information was not hard at all.  But I felt I was being deceived.  Last Sunday I was told from a Carlstadt officer to talk to a representative in the Parking & Concessions department at MetLife Stadium and a Lieutenant in the NJ State Police.   The officer said these people would have the information I was looking for.

So I started out by calling MetLife Stadium and instantly found the individual I was looking for.  The representative was very candid and spoke off the record so I will not be giving their name.  They said the stadium has no dealings or business with any outside party looking to charge or provide off-site parking for Jets or Giants games.  These parties have to go through the Meadowlands C Commission to get permission to charge for parking.

The Meadowlands Commission serves and the zoning and planning agency for a 30.4 square mile area along the Hackensack River covering parts of 14 municipalities in Bergen and Hudson Counties.

The New Jersey Meadowlands Commission (NJMC) issues a Certificate of Approval for an Outdoor Event (The outdoor event in this case is off-site parking for patrons attending events at NJSEA facilities).  The NJMC does not charge an application fee.

An application for an outdoor event is submitted to the NJMC for review with one copy of a site plan indicating the location of event areas.  The application is accompanied by copies of notification letters to Municipal Police and Fire Departments.  The NJMC must receive approval letters from both the Police and Fire Departments before issuing any approval.  Outdoor events shall not exceed a total of 14 days per property per year.

Applications must be submitted a minimum of 15 business days prior to the event. So far ten applications have been approved this year.  The NJMC only deals with the property management companies and not the business tenants.

Due to safety concerns regarding pedestrian traffic between the off-site parking locations and the NJSEA facilities, the municipal police departments require that pedestrians and vehicles be directed in a safe and orderly manner and that shuttle buses be provided continuously throughout the course of the events to prevent pedestrians from walking between the site and the NJSEA facilities.

The MetLife Stadium official endorses the use of shuttles from off-site parking facilities.  They do not wish to see people walking over Route 3 or other major highways to get to the stadium.  They also encourage the use of public transportation.  They prefer fans take buses or trains from the Secaucus Junction to get to the stadium.

So in the case of Stub Hub, they deal with the Sheraton directly.  The cost for their shuttle is optional as some opt to walk over to the stadium.  So one could drive to see what businesses are not charging for p[parking.  But one would have to consider their car might be ticketed or towed for parking illegally.  But some fans will take that risk just to save a couple bucks.

If you are one of many who purchase single game tickets and prefer to drive, look into a parking permit first.  You might end up paying face value for it of a few dollars more  It is better than the other options of giving your money to an off site lot and risk having a shuttle or not.  In my opinion, get the parking permit.  Parking at the stadium is more fun as it enables you to be able to tailgate.  Do not be the chicken who crossed the road.

Who Do Sports Writer’s, Blogs, & Reporters Actually Write For?

A few weeks ago I talked with Bruce Speight from the Jets organization.  I told him I was going to be filming during tailgating again this year.  New stadium, new parking, and many fans will have new or old faces at their tailgates.  He asked me to send him an e mail stating what I wanted to do and when.  So I did that.  I call him back last week to follow up on the e mail, I left a message.  I did the same thing this week.  He called me back on Thursday telling me he did not open the e mail so to let him know what was in it.  Bruce tells me to send him something and he does not even bother to read it.  I guess I am that insignificant to them.  If I paid them, then I would be on their radar.

Maybe it is because I do not have the money to film or I am not giving them any money to film.  Seems I am a fly speck to them, insignificant.  That what I am doing with my documentary about Jets fans does not matter to them.  When you underestimate someone you let your guard down and anything can happen.  Maybe if I was HBO, Fox, ABC, Paramount, MGM, or a film company that has major money behind them then maybe they would take me seriously.  But instead, I feel like I am treated like what I am doing for their fans does not matter.

Plus I am not a writer like Rich Cimini, Manish Mehta, Jane McManus or anyone else from a major news publication.  Not even one of the Jets blogs who report only on the team and team happenings.  Seems majority of the Jets fan blogs write only positive articles about players & events.  Have yet to find one that truly gives opinions, positive and negative.  But since I report to myself, do my own editing and reporting why would they take someone like me serious.  I report on what is actually going on, no sugar coating it.

I do not play up to the organization just to get on their good side.  Maybe if I did, they would appreciate what I did more like the other blogs who do the “rah rah” stuff for them.   Maybe a small mention or paragraph about things is done, but no editorial or opinion piece about it all. I know of a few that do write for the Post, Times, and other news sources that do report on everything, good and bad.  Like the obstructed view of seats in the new stadium, the way fans have been treated by the organizations, and how PSLs were priced too high.  But those writers are not beat writers who do not cover the teams on a daily basis.

Maybe the ones who do cover it daily have an editor or boss does not want to create waves in the organization so they can keep getting access to the locker room and field.  If one makes too many waves, then no more access to players, the team, the field, or anything else closed to the general public.  Not good business for that paper, network or website.  Seems the teams make the rules on what to report about in some cases like interviews.

I just feel a lot of Jets blogs just cover the field and players.  Some will cover charity events and other activities the players take part in.  They should cover everything Jets, even the stuff that is not good that affects what happens off the field.  Do not see too many blogs or Jets beat writers focus on the stadium issues too much, or the PSL and ticket sales.  Do their readers feel that is not newsworthy?  The beat writers have to always beat the other out on team information and work hard at what they do.  Maybe information on off the field events could help.  Some Jets blogs come down on you hard if you go against their opinion.  They think you are not really a Jets fan if you do not think things their way.  Would like to see more blogs focus on everything Jets, not just Hard Knocks, the games, and what a player is doing off the field.

The only ones I see writing opinion pieces or editorials are ones who do not follow the Jets or write about them on a daily basis.  The ones who are not sports writers for major news sources or Jets beat writers for the NY Post, NY Times, ESPN, and other major news sources.  I read a great piece by Tom Dowd on SiLive.com about the new stadium, Jets, and Giants.  It is article’s like this I wish more had the urge to write.  He gives his honest opinion about the new stadium and others in the New York area.  Other New York area reporters talked about the new stadium, but many focus more on the pros than the cons.  He is some of what Tom had to say:

“The transformation of the New York sporting experience — also known as the exile of thousands of life-long, die-hard fans — is almost complete.

In two weeks, the Giants and Jets will play their first regular-season games at their new, $1.6 billion palace in the swamps of Jersey. The Yankees and Mets are in year two of their Shake Shacked, Hard Rocked monuments to excess. The renovation that will radically recreate Madison Square Garden — and likely its already oppressive ticket prices as well — has already begun…”

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The Giants practice at the new Meaadowlands Stadium during a June minicamp.

“And legions of fans deciding that a giant hi-def flat screen is a better deal than the prices on their old season tickets that have rocketed into the stratosphere.

This won’t hurt any franchise’s bottom line. Most of the tickets will still sell to somebody, and at a higher price than before.

It’s the final triumph of the free market and the end of shame in sports ownership.

Owners and commissioners still love their little sound bites, claiming their concern for the fans, but they only manage to set new marks for disingenuousness.

It’s an amazing ability to tell a lie that you know nobody will believe anyway.

Maybe they did think about the fans, just a little bit, once upon a time. Maybe there was a line, off in the distance, and beyond it lay excess that just seemed over the top. But that’s over.

What changed it? Try the explosion of the secondary ticket market on the Internet in the last decade.

On StubHub and Ebay and Craigslist, tickets were everywhere. People bought them, at prices far above face value. Sports owners — and concert promoters — saw this, and got angry. Because this was their product, and they weren’t getting a cut.

Now they knew, or so they thought, how much people were really willing to pay.

But they overreached. They confused the one-game-at-a-time high end ticket buyer with the faithful, steady season ticket holder. So the new buildings went up with their exclusive sponsored clubs and walled off premium seating areas.

It’s all very impressive, as long as your primary reason for going to a game has nothing to do with actually watching the game. Or if you’ve been dreaming of a $15 pastrami sandwich washed down by some fine spirits at the wine bar.”

“How much does the best seat in sports cost? Just $700 a seat each game — plus the personal seat license — although the alleged value lies in getting up out of that seat to mill around at the edge of the field behind the Jets bench, where the view tends to be obscured by 40 or so very large men. You could also wander underneath the stands to get a drink at the bar, grab a few shrimp cocktails from the buffet or pose at the lectern where Rex Ryan will deliver his postgame press conference in a glass-walled media room.

It turned out to be a harder sell than expected. The Yankees ended up cutting the prices of their most expensive tickets behind the plate – all the way down to $1,600 for one seat to a game.

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The Jets made the halfway sensible move of selling upper deck season tickets without a PSL, then watched fans flee field level when they couldn’t afford their old tickets. They cut some of their mid-level PSLs and ticket prices in half, but less than a month before their Monday night opener against the Ravens on Sept. 13, the Jets were still cold-calling upper level season ticket holders asking them to upgrade to lower level seats with PSLs attached that hadn’t been sold yet.

And if you went on Ticketmaster.com this week, you would have found that the New York Giants, only one of the toughest tickets in sports for decades, had single game tickets still available.

Of course, they would cost you $725.

For that kind of cash, I’ve got my eye on a nice 50-inch plasma screen.”

I could be wrong in my assumption, but you can find any post or article on the internet these days.  What I see is what I find.  And what I see is just news reporting on trades, training camp, players, and anything else team related.  Not too much Jets organization related.  They do a great job telling these news sources what to report about.  Guess that is why my documentary will cover everything, nothing held back about the stadium, ticket sales, PSL’s, or even the fans.  Stuff covered slightly by sports press I will go into more detail about.  I am not the liberal media & will not write just to make everyone happy, I write on what everyone sees & knows no matter how honest it is.

If i had the money, I know I would have more footage and coverage from the Jets.  But since I don’t, I am on the outside looking in.  If I was a Jets beat reporter, I would have better news and access to stories to add to the documentary.  But once again, I am on the outside looking in.  I may not have the right degree or work history to land myself a career in the media or broadcasting field.  But that does not mean I am not dedicated to what I am doing to get myself there.  I did not write for years on small papers or stations, have the right internship, or know the right people to get me a foot in the door with any employer.  But I do have the persistence, intelligence, and a fast learner to possibly help me get a foot in somewhere.  Filming this documentary and writing for my website and others has taught me a lot.

I will have more a little later about the Jets offering upper deck seats on a game y game basis.  Once again, Woody Johnson takes two steps back.  He did say they would not offer seats on a game by game basis.  Then again, he could say he meant PSL seats, not non PSL seats.  When you are privately held company, you can say whatever you want, no stockholders to answer to.  In this case, you have the fans to answer to.

Giants Stadium Demolition: Stairway To Heaven

I guess this is the last week to take pictures of the Giants Stadium demolition.  All that seems to be left are half the spirals and escalators from Gate C and little from Gate D.  I went over on Monday June 28th and today July 1st.  There was only one section remaining Monday in front of gate C.  Funny how my seats were right in that section too, Section 226.  As soon as you went up the Mezzanine escalators it was to the slight right.  Took the Section 226/227 entrance to get to Row 8, Seats 7 and 8.  Kind of a strange feeling knowing the section I was in was the last section to go.  Yes the seats and floors were taken out but the structure was there.

My father Gerald Levy passed in August of 2002.  He died at the age of 67 from complications related to smoking, emphysema. Eventually, an aortic aneurysm got him.  He may have done better if he was n better health.  That is why I hate to see people my age, kids, or anyone for that matter smoking.  I know what it can do to someone.  It may take pressure off, relax you, but it can also shorten your life.  If you are a mother or a father just know what you are doing to your kids.  May tell me to F off but I know first hand what smoking can do to someone.  I was my father’s caretaker in the end.  I did not live with him.  But I took him to the doctor’s, hospital, dealt with the doctor’s, his prescriptions, and more.  He carried a small oxygen tank with him towards the end.  He died two months after I was married.  He carried the oxygen tank with him as he and my mother Susan brought me down the aisle.

It is hard not to think about going to games at Giants Stadium without thinking about my father.  It has been close to eight years and it still feels like yesterday.  I do not think I am over his loss still.  I was not prepared for him to go yet.  I still have a lot of things I want to talk to him about.  As I write this I am fighting the urge to cry.  It pains me and makes me so upset to think of his death.  I was so not ready to let him go.  I miss him so much.  I may not get along with my mother all the time but I want her to be around for as long as possible.  I can’t fight the tears.  Even grown men have to cry now and then, it cleanses the soul.

So many of us have memories of going to any sporting events with our father, or mother depending on your situation.  My brother and I split games to go to with my dad every season.  We always fought over the Miami Dolphins game, New England Patriots was second.  When my brother Ean started driving then he and I would go to games.  When I wrestled as a kid in independent tournaments, it was my dad who drove me to them and did what he could coaching from the edge of the mat.  He may not have known very much, but it was that encouragement that made me want to keep entering them.  It was time like that that made our relationship special.  Going to the football games was the same really.  Talking about the players, hearing him try to coach all the way up in our section.  Every game I would get a new banner to put up on my wall.  Tried to collect all the teams.

I am dedicating my documentary to his memory.  Without him, the Jets would never have been the only team I have truly loved to watch.  Al Toon will always remain my all time favorite player.  Took me until high school to get his 88 jersey.  I always think of the games we went to.  Every time I have gone back to take pictures of Giants Stadium I think of him.  I know he would love every second of what I am doing now.  He would have been in the car with me several times when I was up and close.  He would have tried to talk to the Skanska guys if he was there to get me out of trouble.  He would have BS’d for me, he was good at that.  He would have taken the heat or anything else to get the situation resolved.  Then would would laugh about it in the car after we left.

I have a couple shirts from Belmar, NJ, where my dad was from.  I wore them a lot when I would go over to the stadium.  My mom is from Queen’s NY.  No shirts from there.  They met on Fire Island.  My brother and I have joked and said the bar must have been dark.  That is our family’s sense of humor.  When they were married, my father had both New York Jets and New York Rangers season tickets.  He was going to keep only one set and asked my mother which ones he should keep  He was trying to be fair.  My mother says she was a hockey fan and wanted the Rangers tickets.  He Kept the Jets tickets instead.  One decision I stand behind to this day.

Many of us had the parental figure or are that figure to someone we went to our early games with.  In football, the memories stand out if you are a season ticket holder .  There are only eight games, 10 with preseason.  Easier to remember specific memories to me.  Every game was an adventure.  We didn’t tailgate but there was the drive from Parsippany I can remember.  When an ADP was where Clifton Commons on Route 3 in Clifton is now was standing, traffic was always back to there.  I can recall a car of about five guys parking out from by these huge bushes.  The place was feet from Route 3.  All five in less than a minute were out of the car and self watering the bushes.  Hoses attached. We never laughed so hard and anything before.  My brother was there too, we went to the 1985 AFC Wild Card game against the Patriots that day.

My father was a great friend to me.  We had those father/son moments that I remember like they were yesterday.  I do have memories about my mother too.  One’s from summer camp, trips to NYC, Holidays, and countless other memorable moments.  But those football games was male bonding, a sacred ground to guys.  Guess when I saw a piece of the stadium come down each time more memories came back and got harder to see it go. Anyone can pick their own stadium that brings back memories for them.  My father and I shared Giants Stadium.  Seeing it go just just brings back memories of my dad.

Below are what remains of the old stadium.  Best angles I could get.  Glad I had the times I did with my dad there.  Made being a New York Jets fan that much better.  Something we shared for a long time.  With everything the team has gone through after he passed it would have made for great conversation.  Glad I have those memories to look back on.  Going to seem weird to not see anything of the old stadium remaining.  Have some great first time and last times memories there.  See if I get some in the new stadium.  Not looking forward to paying, even on Stub Hub.

June 28
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July1
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