Mets fans get first look at Citi Field
Fans file into Citi Field through the Jackie Robinson Rotunda Sunday. AP photo
BY JASON FINK AND ANDREW BREINER
Mets fans got their first peak of the Amazins' new $800 million home Sunday, and many say the team finally hit one out of the park.
It makes you proud to be a Mets fan. said Daniel Gershburg, 28, of Brooklyn. It's beautiful.
A crowd of 22,000 packed into Citi Field on a rainy afternoon not to watch Jose Reyes steal bases or David Wright hit home runs but to see St. John's University lose 6-4 to the Georgetown Hoyas in the first game played at the new park.The stands, about half full, were filled with Mets fans eager to roam the unfamiliar concourses and check out the stadiums unique offerings, like the fifth-floor bar.
Everything is fresh and new, said Jose Bisono, 21, of Brooklyn. They definitely did a good job.
Fans raved about the clear sight lines from the stands, the majestic rotunda entrance dedicated to Jackie Robinson and the expanded food selection, which includes a Shake Shack branch in center field.
It reminds me of Ebbets when I was a kid, said Leo Magno, 71, of Maspeth, referring to the former home of the Brooklyn Dodgers, whose brick faÃ§ade the designers of Citi Field emulated.
The game was sold out, though perhaps the weather kept many of the 42,000 at home. At $5, the tickets were far cheaper than most of what will be available once the stadium opens for real on April 13.
There is still some last-minute work to be done, like putting distance markers on the outfield walls and putting up the teams championship banners and retired numbers.
Fans gave Citi Field high marks compared with the drab Shea Stadium, a concrete behemoth built in 1964, now nothing more than a pile of rubble in the parking lot.
It's unbelievable, all the amenities they have, said Mike Castella, 63, of Sunnyside. Big hero sandwiches, real pizza instead of from a box, real leather lounge chairs in the bar area. They have soap and paper towels in the bathroom. After 1970, there was no soap at Shea.
Of course there were some critics, like Alan Caufman, 51, of Forest Hills, who said he did not like the fact that the stadium is named for Citigroup, which is paying $20 million a year for the naming rights.
Still, Caufman, like many others, said what's most important is not the building but what happens on the field.
I'm hoping for a good year from the team, he said.