Yes, it feels a bit like Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park, and PNC Park in Pittsburgh, but all three are HOK-designed buildings so this is understandable. Here’s the thing, though, not once during the two-hour tour did I think of Shea Stadium.
For starters, Jeff Wilpon told reporters that the old Home-Run Apple from Shea Stadium will be on display in back of the concourse in center field, which was good to hear. However, a new Apple will pop up from a concrete cannister beneath the center-field scoreboard.
There are nearly 10,000 less seats in Citi Field than Shea, but it certainly doesn’t feel like it. Seriously, there are seats every place you look, it is jam packed with places to sit, on all different angles, different levels, and with each and every seat positioned so we’ll be facing home plate.
Also, the seats in Field Level, behind home plate, first and third, are all padded, which is nice.
Speaking of seats, they are dark green – all of them. Unfortunately, it feels a bit generic and cold. Like most fans I have talked with, I wish they were blue and orange instead. That said, it does look more clean and consistent the way it is, and it will be the last thing we notice when the place is sold out.
The other dominant color is the dark, deep gray from the building's structure. According to the team, the color is inspired by the Hells Gate Bridge and other bridge work around New York City. The color gives the building a strong, industrial vibe – it is powerful, which I like.
I did hear a rumor, which I believe is false, that the dark, dark grey could eventually replace the modern black in the team’s uniform color scheme – or, could be removing the black altogether. Also, they may switch to a deeper blue, instead of the royal-blue of the last few decades. However, while this could happen in the future, I do not think it will be next season. Also, I’ll believe it when I see it, though I like the idea and hope it will eventually be true.
Speaking of color, etc., I did not notice any sort of ‘Mets cultural vibe. There is the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, the throw-back to Ebbets, the bridge, and so on, but that is all reference Brooklyn. So far, there is nothing that screams, ‘Mets.’ I guess The Apple counts, but that is more Shea. Of course, the building is only 85 percent complete, and missing decoration, such as banners, flags, retired numbers, and so on, and I assume it is from these additions that such a vibe will develop. I hope.
The left-field wall is tall…very, very tall. Citi Field was windy on the day of the tour, which is not to suggest it will be a hitter’s park, but it’s nice to know the home-run wall favors pitching for now. This can always be adjusted, I would think.
The short porch in right field is intriguing. I do not envy the right fielder – Ryan Church, good luck with that. The view from these seats are pretty cool, actually, so much so that Jeff Wilpon told reporters he purchased season tickets for this section. I don’t blame him. I guarantee it will be a fun time up there.
The thing I like most is the 360–degree concourse, because I can never sit still and I like to pace and walk around during games. The concourse runs around the perimeter of the building, with a footbridge in right-center that home runs will occasionally bang in to. There will be tons of food and drink options out there, including Beer Island, a taco stand, Beer Island, Blue Smoke, Shake Shack and Beer Island, and plenty of places to stop, meet up and watch the game.
Lastly, despite the size, Citi Field is actually intimate, thanks to the lack of foul territory. In a big game, at night, with the lights on, in the bottom of the ninth, etc., and the all of us so close to and above the action, I bet an exciting, electric relationship will occur between the fans and players, even more than there was in Shea Stadium – and I look forward to it.
In case you missed it…
To read Ted Berg’s review of the tour and Citi, go to SNY.tv.