Monday, April 6, 2009

The Clouds Parted and the Angels Sang . . Part 2

What does this posting have to do with cake, you might ask? Well nothing, but I made that tasty beast yesterday and she was so sexy, I had to photograph her. OK, food-porn interlude over. Back to Yankee Stadium.

If you haven't read part 1, go back to the prior post and catch up. Go ahead. I'll wait.

When we left our dynamic duo they were approaching the hulking monolith that is the new Yankee Stadium. . .

Dave and I approached the building slowly, pausing to inspect details in the facade and in the ornate Victorian style streetlamps that ringed the perimeter. We were going to take a lap around the building's exterior, but were lured inside by a short security line. After the requisite grope for weaponry we entered the cavernous outer ring of the stadium. It was a soaring space, lit up by a giant tv screen and a blinking advertising screen that flashed a rotation of colorful promotions like a manic Light Brite. The height of the interior space seemed to be at least three stories from floor to ceiling. Magnificent pictures of players past soared over head like giant kites. Looking down the line there were at least a dozen great players honored, in rapid succession - Reggie, Winfield, Mattingly and on and on. We could not get over the sheer volume of things to see.

Here is a partial list of the the attraction and food possibilities available in the New Yankee Stadium. The ones that we visited are marked with a star (*):

*Nathans' Hot Dogs (Staff - cranky. Hotdog - tepid. Gastrointestinal distress - priceless.
3 Locations)
Familglia Pizza (5 Locations)
*Martini Bar (Tommy Bahamas)
Beers of the World
Latin Corner
Garlic Fries (2 locations - woe is me, I wanted these badly, but they were not conveniently
Philly Cheesesteak (only one of these, hence OBSCENE lines)
Premio Sausage (2 locations plus multiple mobile carts)
Jimmy's BBQ
Carvel (everywhere you looked)
Arthur Avenue Deli
Boars Head Deli
A fruit stand (wtf?)
Monument Park
*Mohegan Sun Bar
* Yankee Store (3 of them!)
* Peter Max Gallery (window shopped)
Hard Rock Cafe

After about a half an hour of exploring, we found ourselves in the Mohegan Sun Bar. The bar sits smack in the middle of center field, snuggled right between two sections of bleachers. The view from the bar is pretty impressive as you look out a wall of glass right on to the field. There are two bars, one at either end of the room, which is intended to cut the lines and make it easy to get your drink on, even if the doltish customers don't know not to pool up and chat in the way of the drink line. Hello? People wanna drink here. Go trade loser secrets someplace else. We loved the atmosphere in the bar, but there were a couple of major disappointments that I need to point out, one of which was not any fault of the Yankees:

1) We learned that after exhibition day this bar would require a membership in order to enter.

2) Thirteen dollar Cosmopolitans served in a plastic cup. Don't get me wrong, I fully expected
them to cost that much but I did not expect to be served in a urine collection cup. I must say,
that was a very down-market vessel for an such uptown joint. Double bummer!

3) I learned that I just missed my awesome friend Vincenzo by a few minutes at the same place. I was hoping to meet up with him at some point but it didn't work out. :( Bummiest of all.

Luckily, one really spectacular thing happened while we were in the Mohegan Sun bar. As I mentioned in the prior posting, we had been fighting the weather all day, hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. It was an ugly shade of grey outside while we were in the bar and the robotic grounds crew (not real robots, but highly syncopated gardeners in matching polyester) were busy making origami folds with the tarp. Dave and I had been on a photo snapping tear, so I asked him to line up in front of the wall o'glass so that I could get his picture with all of Yankee Statium laid out behind him. Just as I was about to snap the shot, he opened up his jacket to show the tee shirt that he was wearing, which included a picture of his dad and our son at a game at the old stadium. Just as he revealed the shirt, the sun burst through a bank of dark grey clouds and shone into the bar like an orange fireball. Dave started laughing and said "thanks Dad", which started me crying. It was a sad, beautiful moment. Dave's dad would have loved to have seen the new stadium, but sadly, he died in 2008. I think we can say that he was with us "in spirit".

All in all , we loved the new stadium. It offers ample room for 50,ooo people to spread out in. It never felt claustrophobic or tight in any way. Other than my minor bitchings about the bar above, there was one other thing that bothered me about the stadium. There were huge photographs all over different locations of the stadium. Most of them were nostalgic and quaint, but a couple of them were just flat out wrong. Here is a list of my least favorites:

1) Joe Dimaggio eating spaghetti (cliche)

2) Yogi Bera eating spaghetti (Really? Again? Are these the only photos they had? We don't all eat spaghetti, you know. It just so happens that I am making, uh, oh, forget it. I forgot we're having spaghetti and meatballs tonight. Damn!)

3) Best of the worst, pictured above of Micky Mantle. This photo hangs over the deli in the food court, directly above the sliced meat and across from the Nathans hot dog concession. I won't say a word. Take a look for your self. Comment if you like. The art department clearly hates The Mick! Having a photo of Jeter pouring mike and looking on with bemusement only adds to my belief that this arrangement was a prank. OK Ashton, ha ha. We get it.

Dave and the kids are going back to the stadium on May 3rd. I am curious to see if the photo of the Mick goes (ahem) I mean comes down.