I’m not much of a drinker and never have been very good at it. In the past my only claim to booze fame was winning a few games of quarters, mostly by being a good shot, playing smart and thinking up imaginative rules, which I would then enforce mercilessly until someone vomited. That was among the least embarrassing things I have done when drinking. I suppose this is why I don’t have trouble aging. My youth showcased a great deal of stupidity. And also why I don’t often have more than one or two drinks in a social situation.
I’m also a big guy, six foot four and 250 pounds soaking wet. So it takes more than one drink for me to feel any kind of buzz. So forget drinking at the ballgame. I’m not paying $15 for two Budweisers. (And neither should you.)
But McFadden’s at Citi Field has a special going on that was so ridiculous that I had to e-mail them and find out what the catch was.
Listen to this: A VIP Package at McFadden’s Citi Field includes: one hour of open bar, an order of chicken wings, a ticket for a free drink after the game, and a ticket to the game–and not just a ticket but a ticket to the 100 or 300 level! All for somewhere between $30 and $60, generally depending on whom the Mets are playing.
Buying directly from the Mets, a 100 or 300 level ticket alone costs more than that. At $60 this is a total steal, at $30, well, you start to think like me…wondering what the catch is.
I e-mailed McFadden’s and asked them if the tickets needed to be bought in bulk, or whatever, because this seemed like just too good of a deal to be true. In response, Stephanie Collins, the Marketing and Events Manager, sent me this reply:
“It’s all true! Buy! Buy! Buy! Before they are sold out!”
I just visited Citi Field recently without knowing this and am kicking myself. I would like to have a beer or two at a ballgame and have a little buzz going, but it just costs too much. Had I known… (sounds of me repeatedly kicking myself in the ***). Now, if I go again, I have to find someone to drive me.
I’m very often amazed at what I find when I look.
McFadden’s at Citi Field website: http://www.mcfaddensballparkny.com/
“Imagine having to take the 7 Train to the ballpark looking like you’re riding through Beirut next to some kid with purple hair, next to some ***** with AIDS, right next to some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time, right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids.”
After those words, John Rocker will always be associated with the 7 train.
For those of you too young to remember, John Rocker was a star closer for the Atlanta Braves, who in 2000 gave an interview to Sports Illustrated that produced the unforgettable quote above. He immediately became Public Enemy #1 at Mets games, which, he claimed, proved his point about New Yorkers being degenerates.
Rocker may have been a certified nutcase in need of professional help–a real life Adam Sandler sort of character–but read some comments on the 7 train sometime and you’ll see he’s not the only one who feels that way. Even today he is sometimes quoted in diatribes about the Flushing Line. The 7 has been called the “International Express” for all of the different ethnic neighborhoods it passes through in Queens, and some don’t see that as a compliment.
One of the funniest jokes in the movie “Coming To America” is when Eddie Murphy declares that when he comes to America to find his bride, he will look for her in a place called “Queens”. Queens isn’t what people think about when the glamour of New York City is trumpeted. It’s full of low income folks of all nationalities. And yes, more crime than Manhattan.
I’ve ridden the 7 to a Mets game from Times Square. And truth be told, it isn’t the most pleasant of train rides. The trains are old and rickety and loud. Open seats are rare. Its riders do lack some of the social graces of Manhattan train riders (or, say, John Rocker). For miles every building is covered with graffiti, and it isn’t the elaborate kind where you at least respect the artistry of it.
But on the whole the 7 isn’t as bad as Rocker says. It’s simply a less affluent part of New York City, so not everyone is going to be wearing a suit or a pocket protector. And in truth, even a less comfortable train ride that drops you practically at the doorstep of Citi Field is still easier and cheaper than getting there and parking. The Brooklyn-Queens Expressway is loaded with traffic and is in less than ideal shape.
If you’re riding the express 7 train (marked by the purple diamond rather than the purple circle) out to Citi for the game, there will be plenty of Mets fans on the train, so normal wariness of your surroundings should be sufficient to stay safe. After Mets games, MTA runs “Mets Express” 7 trains back to Manhattan, so the ride is quicker, and these are also full of ballgame goers.
So don’t worry about taking the 7, at least no more than you would be concerned enough to make yourself aware of your surroundings. It gets you to the game, and that’s all you really need.
Hey readers, sorry for the delay in posting…wrapped up in Frontstretch work and in my Tropicana Field chapter…almost done!
But anyway today’s tip is for Citi Field, home of the Mets.
As you know, parking at ballgames is becoming more expensive, and parking in New York City at all is going to cost you. But I did find a way to save quite a few dollars parking at Citi Field. (There are places to park for free a few blocks away, but I’m not giving up that one.)
In 2001 I went on a baseball road trip, and one of the stops was Comerica Park in Detroit. I didn’t want to park in the satellite lots for $5, being in Detroit and whatnot, so I parked in the venue lot for a teeth-grinding $20. I was right there at the gate, but still. Comerica Park is so gorgeous that I made a return trip in 2002. I got to the park early in the afternoon, because I wanted to explore the city a little on the monorail and then just leave from the game. I parked in a garage across the street, and because it was before 3:00 PM, I was charged exactly two dollars for the entire night.
I’ll wait around for a few hours for a 90% discount on parking.
Similarly in Flushing, thanks to outraged locals, one can exploit the parking rates on game days in the Southfield lot just south of Citi Field, along Roosevelt Avenue. This lot is generally for commuters using the 7 train to get to Manhattan, but it also serves as a Mets lot on game days. The Mets game day parking price is currently $18 (which they proudly announced that you can use your credit card to pay, as if making fans go into debt just to park were something to be proud of) and this applies to the Southfield lot as well.
But local commuters justifiably threw a fit when this lot started charging $18 to park there on game days, since they suddenly saw a 400% increase in their parking rate. And the owners of the lot agreed that this wasn’t right, and adjusted their game rate.
Now if you arrive at the Southfield lot before 9:00 AM for day games, or before noon for night games, the game rate will not yet apply, and you will pay a sharply discounted price for parking, $4 last time I checked. $4 to park at a Mets game? Sold.
All of this was confirmed to me when I e-mailed the owners of the lot, but it took them a while to respond, so I wonder if they were being cautious about sharing such information. Can’t blame them, but they did say I was correct, so I applaud them for that. And keep this to yourself.
The only question with all of this is what to do for a few hours in Flushing before you can enter the ballpark. No problem. You can spend some time in nearby Flushing Meadows Park, or visit the Hall of Science a few blocks away. Or you can jump on a 7 train to Manhattan and have a great deli lunch…even with a round trip on an MTA train you’ll still be ahead.
If you’re driving to Citi Field, try this option. You’ll save enough for a Shackburger and a Shackmeister Ale, items not to be missed at a Mets game.
The Shake Shack must make some kind of burger. In my first visit to see a Mets game at Citi Field, the line for the Shack was so long I didn’t bother getting in line, but I didn’t think too much of it. Just thought it was normal pregame hunger on the part of a lot of Mets fans.
Well, hell, that was before I started writing about this stuff. I know better now.
Most fans will tell you that a Shackburger is assuredly worth the sometimes 30-minute wait in the center field concourse at Citi Field. Hey, a half hour is nothing compared to how long you’ll wait at SS’s other locations in the city. It’s almost worth buying a ticket to a Mets game, kind of like how people pay an extra $10 to be able to cut in lines at the amusement park. And you get a Mets game thrown in.
The Shake Shack originated in Madison Square Park in 2004; since then they have added locations in several other places around the city…and they’re building one in Kuwait City (yes, the one in Kuwait, not the one in Ohio). Their location in Citi Field is out in the center field concourse area. Just look for the big lines.
What makes the Shackburger special? Not sure exactly; some claim they add butter to the burger before cooking it, some say it’s the secret “Shack Sauce”, others say it’s the way it’s squished while it’s cooked. But almost everyone agrees it’s an amazing burger.
If you’re the type who doesn’t consider it a bit on the profane side to opt for a burger rather than a dog at the game, you should elect to wait in line at the Shack in center field rather than buy a Brooklyn Burger, which, by most accounts, is dry and chewy. (The Mets won’t stop with the paeans to Brooklyn, by the way, calling the Brooklyn Burger the “Official Burger of the New York Mets”, who last I checked played in Queens.) If you’d rather stay on the side of baseball rightness, you can get the “Shack-cago Dog”, which comes Chicago-style “dragged through the garden” (meaning lots of ingredients piled on).
Either way, the Shake Shack serves up the Shackmeister beer, a local Brooklyn based (sigh) beer. Nice alternative to Budweiser, and it really is a local brew, unlike the ones at the deceptively named “Big Apple Brews” area. More on that in another post. And don’t forget the name of the place. The shakes are described as thick as mud. Outstanding.
So don’t be intimidated by the long lines at the Shake Shack. If you’re a burger lover, they’re worth it.