Giants Stadium Demolition Is No More…For Me

Well, it looks like I have pressed my luck at Giants Stadium. I went back today around 5 PM and I was certainly being watched. Had a Skanska employee come up to me in a car and said no more pictures. His supervisor said no more pictures are to be taken at all. I went to a different lot to take some pictures and the Supervisor came up on his ATV, snapped some pictures of my car and said “We warned you three times so I hope it was worth it” and drove off. So now they have my car and license plate on record. Looks like I am not going back to take any more pictures.

For the life of me I can not understand why they do not want pictures being taken. Do they want that much control, is it a safety issue, or do they plan on selling pictures and copies themselves. I guess I went there too often and took too many pictures of it. Who knows. I will not know the true reason. All know is I do not want to get fined or into any heavy trouble so I am not going back. Not worth the headache after today. Fans drive by everyday and stop by on the weekends to take pictures. If I want to find shots I will not be taking myself, I will be able to find them.

I never wanted to get into any trouble over this. Weeks ago a security guy even had me go to one of the security trailers to get permission. I was told as long as I stayed outside of the fence I was OK to take them. I guess they changed their mind once they saw how much was out there. Well, I have enough pictures. I just will not have the ones when it is completely gone. Do not want to have any State Police or NJSEA security coming up to me and holding me. I do not want to call my wife and tell her I need bail money. Not worth the hassle anymore

Update 11:00 PM

My wife thinks I obsess over certain things too much. That I rehash the same event over and over and does not understand why. Thee was just something bothering me about earlier. I know there is something more than “too many pictures on the internet”. Then it finally hit me. I have been thinking about a book or DVD that focuses on the stadium. It is more than that. More that just pictures. But parts of the stadium, goal posts, signs, locker room pieces, and the seats?
Too many pictures means not enough money on all the fallen Giants Stadium merchandise. They framed pictures of all sizes. Ones with autographs. The book about its history. Pictures that you could get from Steiner Sports along with your seat. They are cutting the rest with chainsaws. Some workers even took a few seats. One car dealership even purchased the goals posts. You can hear the commercials on WFAN talking about his new “40 foot erection”. With too many pictures on the internet no one will want to buy something they can do themselves. So what! Let the fans have just one thing and not have to pay to get it.
Does everything have to have a price tag on it? I know I will not get the truth. I do not have the credentials to go that far. But I would hope someone knows and is willing to share the info. Sometimes you have to look at a situation from all angles to gain every perspective. My mind just likes to see if there is more to what is on the surface. Guess I should have used my phone last time as the camera, then I would have blended in with everyone else. Seems those are the only pictures they allow taking. I was using a Sony so I was the obvious one. I just want to see the little guy win over big business for once.

Fans Not Allowed to Take Pictures of Giants Stadium

I was hoping to come on here finally and have some good news only. But, that is not going to happen tonight. Everything started over a week ago. I have gotten friendly with a certain group of workers over at Giants Stadium. Not going to say who as these guys have done me some wonderful favors. Not going to get them in trouble or lose work. They said to come back last week during a nice day. So I went back the day of the demolition, Wednesday May 19th. Little did I know what that day and the next two days had in store for me. Not to mention the rest of the Jets and Giants fans who take pictures.

I gt to the stadium in the early afternoon on Wednesday. I meet up with one of the workers who had some safety gear and a vest around. I put it on and was brought onto a section of the work area. From the view I had, I had a perfect shot into many areas one can not see from the parking lot. Even in the tunnel that goes under the stadium there is still a huge Jets helmet on the wall. Seats over-piled and hanging on for life. They are cutting them with chainsaws so they can not be sold or taken by anyone. Was able to snap some shots of Section 226, my old section. That was pretty much what I wanted. A final shot of what my seat looked like, even if it was not there.

DSC05175

I thought my day had ended. Around 4 PM I get a call from one of the workers. He tells me they are bringing down the Press Box at 8 PM. I get a second call from another worker around 7 PM. I head over with an associate around 7:15. I park close and was approached by some security. I was asked if I had credentials. I said I was freelance and I was asked to move by the Timex building. I looked at them like they were nuts. No way I was moving that far back. They said they had to keep bystanders at a safe distance. Those with credentials like Channel 4, 7, FOX, News 12 all had close positions. NBC was running late. They drove over a median and sped though the parking lot to get into position. Credentials are the free pass.

I ended up just driving to the back of the lot by the old Gate D. Other bystanders were by us. Many others were able to park close. They either did not get approached or were friends and family of crew. Even at this little function there was a separation of fans. I understand insurance issues since I was in insurance. The safety distance should have been in effect for all the people who did not have credentials, even if they were friends of people who worked there. Not sure about the story on that one. I managed to get some good video footage which you have seen already on this site. I waited for everyone to leave then approached the fallen box to get pictures. Asked once again for credentials and asked to leave. I made it a plan to go back early the next day.

I get there early Friday morning, around 9:30. I get some nice shots of what is left of the fallen press box. I finish off in the area by the old Gate B, next to the new stadium. I am approached by a construction foreman in a ATV. He tells me I can not do that. By that he means take pictures of the old stadium. Apparently, they do not want people coming and taking pictures of the old stadium coming down. Said the organizations feel there are too many pictures on the internet. Mentioned that if I was caught taking pictures or someone saw me I would be asked to leave immediately. I found this puzzling, then I left. Too many pictures on the internet? Once again, here comes control over what fans can and can not do.

They may have thought there would not be much of it out there. But now that there are pictures everywhere they want to halt fans from taking anymore pictures. Do they want to put a collection of it together for a DVD or book so they can make a buck off the fans once again? If there is too much on the internet, it makes that impossible. It is just a thought, but a good one. I decide to press my luck and I went back on Friday morning. I manage to snap a few quick shots. I tell two other fans who were there taking pictures as well what happened to me yesterday. They go their way and I headed for my car. The same foremen on the ATV sees me once again. I thought I would be in and out and not see him. He drives past me and then drives back around as I am in my car. Guess he did not see the other fans, just me because he warned me already. I headed off after seeing this.

They can not be there 24 hours a day. Was over there today and not much has changed since Thursday. The fans have a right to see it come down and take their pictures. If they do plan to put out a book or DVD and try to make fans pay for something they could have taken with their own cameras for free, shame on them. When will it be enough and just once give back to the fans and not charge them. Is the word “free” not allowed in big business? Or just like another four letter work that begins with F and should be kept silent?

It was not my intention to keep coming back and speak like this about a team I have loved since I was born. But the current management just keeps digging themselves deeper. I do not have to paint the New York Jets in a bad light regarding my documentary. They make their own press. I am just going to report truth and not cover anything up. I do not have to lie about anything. People read the press and are angry with them already. They really need some good damage control. I want them to win a Super Bowl. Just make sure you thank the fans first, even the ones who did not buy a PSL.

[flickrslideshow acct_name="LBProd" id="72157624101777526"]

[flickrslideshow acct_name="LBProd" id="72157623977513685"]

[flickrslideshow acct_name="LBProd" id="72157624123741672"]

DSC05376

DSC05151

DSC05152

DSC05190

DSC05200

DSC05412

DSC05428

DSC05458

Meadowlands Stadium Is Woody Johnson’s Country Club

It seems the closer it gets to the 2010 season the more the Jets do to lose their trusted fan base.  I am reading articles on NJ.com, Newsday, The Jets Report, ESPNNewYork.com, and so many other websites.  Woody Johnson promises all PSLs will be sold by the home opener.  Fans outraged by not just parking prices, but a hierarchy in parking as well.  Ben Gray, a 20-year season ticket holder of the team, reached his breaking point this week when he learned that the hierarchy in PSL class will be busting up his tailgate party.

As Steve Politi of the Newark Star-Ledger explains it, “Gray and his friends have been tailgating in lot 13-B for years.  Just like The Jets Pack, Sal & Carmine, Frank Conway, & others do in other sections around the stadium.  And as anyone who regularly attends NFL or college football games knows, the tailgating can even become bigger than the game itself, with carefully crafted menus and a unique brand of human bonding.  But because some of Gray’s friends didn’t buy PSLs, they can’t park in lot 13-B, which is reserved for those who paid for the right to pay for their tickets.

“We just feel like we’ve been taken to the woodshed again and again,” Gray said. “Going to a football game should be something you enjoy, but these guys just see dollars.”

But for Gray, his upgraded experience includes breaking up the group with which he had spent years tailgating.  And it’s possible that Gray has had enough.

“This was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” Gray said. “I keep wondering, ‘How are they going to get us next?’”

Muke Florio of ProFootballTalk on NBCSports.com reports:

“Though the Jets have a plausible explanation, fans who have a Rain Man-style obsession with their game-day routines don’t care about “plausible.”  They want things to stay the way they were.

“For those people who committed to the PSLs and the luxury suites, we want to do whatever we can to provide a much better experience,” Jets executive vice president for stadium development Thad Sheely told Politi.  “I don’t see it as a restriction,” Sheely said. “I see it as an upgraded experience for people who have paid for an upgraded experience.”

They consider it an upgraded experience.  Many consider it robbery.  I would love to know if any of the New York Jets employees personal family or friends have thought about opting into the PSLs.  Did the Jets employees try to use the corporate rhetoric on them to get them to purchase them or were they sympathetic if there were cost issues?  If they talked their family or friends into it then they should be ashamed to even be a business.  Thad Sheely is a paid employee of the Jets so of course he would defend the PSLs and those who bought them.  Get him alone away from the press and see if he changes his answer, as long as none of the Jets Management is around.

I know the Jets want everyone to think the more you pay, the more benefits you get.  But when does the New York jets Country Club stop basing membership on how much money someone should spend?  Do they only want those who will spend or those or just want tow atch a football game then leave?  They can not have it both ways.  They have turned off so many fans and have attracted so much bad press how much damage control can they do?  If prices keep going up and get too costly, who will afford to keep going?  Do they really expect their long time blue collar fan base or families to keep going to their games?  This season, take a good look at who will be sitting in those PSL seats.  You will see a younger crowd, less families, and those who made out on Wall Street while others lost their jobs or house.  The Jets do not care about those fans, just the paying ones.  They know even those at home will still buy merchandise.

The New York Jets are a private company and do not have to tell anyone how many PSLs are left.  All they want to do is sell every one, have sold one games, and make a profit every time.  That is it.  They can say they are sympathetic to the fans and want to give those who paid an upgraded experience.  Look at the NFL Draft Day party they had there.  If that is any indication of how they treat their loyal paying fans then the PSL holders are the only ones they care about.  The non PSL holders to them are basic peasants.  Charging $9 beers while Giants PSL and non PSL holders get everything for free.  It shows the New York Jets do not care about the non PSL paying fans, only their checkbook.  I am sure if they wanted to upgrade to a PSL seat then they would care.

I know I am ranting here but it gets me angry to see loyal fans for so many years get shafted only because they do not want to pay for a PSL.  It is like gambling at a casino.  The casino takes care of their high rollers while everyone else gets a free drink while they play.  But if the average Joe spends more and made more from them, then he gets taken care of.  They only care about the dollar coming in and keeping you there to spend hat you have.  Just like the new Meadowlands Stadium.  The Jets organization have better spin doctors working for them than the government.  They will try to make any bad situation into a good one just to sell seats.  But the fans know better.

I have had some in the Jets organization ask me to change the title of my documentary, “Gang Greed”.  They think I will paint them in a bad light.  I do not have to do any of that.  They create their own press and how much of it has been good for the Jets?  Not much.  Even Fireman Ed quoted that term when talking about the Jets organization.  They write their own story.  If they wanted to be seen is a positive light then they are the ones who need to change their image.  Change it with the fans and understand they are the ones who support them, not sponsors or celebrities.  The gang is greedy and how much is enough?  Only time will tell.

I hope Woody Johnson is proud of what he did to a loyal fan base who stood by the team for over 45 years.  At least Leon Hess had Hess oil as an advertiser and supported the fans.  I never saw a Johnson & Johnson ad or sponsorship for the Jets.  Maybe he should come out of his box once in a while and sit where they loyal fans are to really get to know what the fans want.   Not just walk around the parking lot during tailgating for a photo op to show fans that “he cares”.  Even in Rich Cimini’s interview he skirted around the PSL issue.  He knows they are in trouble and does not want to admit it.  Not a good poker face Woody.

I think that is enough for tonight.  The more that comes out the more I will have to say about this issue.  I am glad more fans are coming out and talking about their issues with the Jets.  We will not go quietly into the night.  More fans need to speak up about this.  Show you have a voice that will not be silenced.  The Jets will say the PSLs were a great idea, fans are on board, the economy is not affecting the sales(which they later detracted), and whatever it takes to get them sold.  I will finish with this.  In September of 2008, Woody Johnson was quoted by News 12 New jersey that if the Jets charged more for the PSLs, the fans would pay it.  I hope he likes how his foot tastes.  Here is what remains of the Jets former home.

[flickrslideshow acct_name="LBProd" id="72157624076139870"]

[flickrslideshow acct_name="LBProd" id="72157623951841975"]

DSC04930

DSC04892

Giants Stadium Demolition: Inside & Above The Destructoion

Made it over to Giants Stadium everyday so far since Sunday.  Things are really happening fast over there.  Complete sections coming down in a few days rather than a week.  Now that they have the area cleared around the new stadium the destruction is moving along.  A complete section with the NJ Lottery, Budweiser, and Verizon ads came down that included the large  video screen.  When I went yesterday in the fog and rain it looked like a war zone.  What I mean is, in that bad weather it looks worse than it does.  Feel even worse for the workers out there in that mess.  Hope the pay is worth it to those who have to work in those elements.

Today though was a much better day.  Sun shining, comfortable out, and getting a birds eye view above the destruction zone.  I start off in my usual place by Gate A and D.  I head over to the other side when everyone was taking their lunch.  I park, over to the area where you can see in inside and start to snap some shots.  I then hear a voice behind me say “I am about to make your day”.  I spin around not knowing who was behind me or what was going to happen.  My mind was thinking 100 situations at once.  Next thing i know one of the construction workers hands me a hard hat, harness, and takes me up in one of the crane lifts.

I do not want to give away his name.  Not looking to put someone’s job in jeopardy.  It was a great opportunity to be there at the right moment like that.  This worker, let’s call him Brian, was gracious enough to get me in position to get some of the best pictures I have taken there.  The ones that show the inside bowl, the former playing surface.  I did not take any tours there or attend any events so far where one could easily take pictures from the new stadium.  This really was my only opportunity.  If an opportunity is presented, do not hesitate.  The minute you think about it too long is the minute you can lose that opportunity.

Read reports today the Jets still have about 10,000 PSL’s left to sell.  Woody Johnson will not confirm that number but others rumor it to be there.  First time Jets home games could be blacked out since 1977.  O a, sure Woody can go into his collection of phone numbers and call some friends.  I mean, it is Woody’s Clubhouse.  I read a fan’s account of the Jets Draft Day party and was surprised by the Jets attitude towards their fans.  He has no right to force fans to buy PSL’s and threaten blackouts of games.  You are the one who put the fans into this mess and you should be the one to get them out.  Better yet, dig into your own pockets to cover the fans.  I am sure you can do it several times over.

Do the Jets hate their fans more than any other team? It is seeming like that.  I really hate to say it.  We are Jets fans but they make it hard for us to cheer them.  I always say I root for the team, not always the organization that owns them.  Tough to do these days.  The PSL situation should be investigated. For now I look at the remains of an era, gone but not forgotten.  An era where the focus was on the field, the players, the game.  Not the new Country Club, VIP’s, the owner, & the mistreating of it’s fans.  The team was followed first and foremost by the blue collar worker.  The only blue collars affording the best seats are worn under suit jackets and ties.

[flickrslideshow acct_name="LBProd" id="72157623926170283"]

[flickrslideshow acct_name="LBProd" id="72157623932148493"]

Taken May 11
DSC04673

DSC04648

Taken May 12
DSC04682

DSC04745

Taken May 13
DSC04816

DSC04851

DSC04856

DSC04861

Giants Stadium Security & A Revolution in Football?

The past week has been kind of a blur.  I mean a lot has happened and it all went by so fast.  Let me start with last Thursday.  I had the opportunity to have Matt Nackson work with me on an interview.  I met Matt through Twitter (@MattNack) as he is a recent film school graduate and wanted to help me in filming my documentary.  He had the opportunity to use his Cannon t2i as we interviewed Assemblyman Anthony Chiappone of Bayonne.  Assemblyman Chiappone is also running for Mayor of Bayonne.  The Assemblyman along with two other Assemblyman are sponsoring a bill before the NJ Legislature which is a “Personal Set Holder’s Bill of Rights”.  The Bill comes at a time when the teams are already willing to make deals and other concessions to fans.

Saturday night was my first time seeing an indoor football game.  I was at Mennen Arena in Morristown to see the New Jersey Revolution face the Reading Express.  I was there to film the game and the NJ Revolutions.  I acted as their “NFL Films” or “Hard Knocks” for the day.  I want to show there are alternatives to the NFL.  It may not be at the same peak level, but there are alternatives where the guys play just as hard.  Rob Tester who is GM and majority owner of the NJ Revs has bent over backwards to have me there.  I want to thank Rob and everyone at the Revs for their time and hospitality.  Rob, Coach Al, Coach Chris, the team, the Rev It Up Girls, all practice hard and give the crowd what they came to see,great football action & fun family entertainment.

For the first time I was filming a football event and had to cover the entire game from so many locations.  I stood in the stands, with the players, the opposing team, the cheerleaders, and anywhere else I thought I could get a prime shot.  My boom operator Sixto was right behind me as johnny on the spot and was a great help.  Covered them in the locker room meetings, practice, and the coaches reactions.  Ton of F bombs were dropped so I guess it will be rated R for language.  Definitely need a second cameraman there.  Too much to cover and could use some reverse angles the next game.  This is the still I am learning as I go, but it is fun learning.  Will be going back on May 29th so now I know what to look for.

I will have more about the NJ Revolution in future posts.  I see potential there.  A lot of the players have a ton of passion and heart.  A few of them can go to the UFL or a NFL tryout.  Past couple of days I went over the Giants Stadium.  Went to my usual spots and took pictures.  Sunday was a perfect day to go, Mother’s Day, no one was there.  Between today and yesterday a new section has been ripped into the side and part of the Spirals at Gate A are gone.  Most of the concrete from the inside has been removed to leave a shell to tear down.  Matt Nackson came with me after interviewing Assemblyman Chiappone last Thursday to take pictures.  Felt good to have someone along for the ride.

Had a security guard stop me over b y Gate A today.  HE recognized me from last Thursday and called one of the offices.  Told me to go to the security trailer to get permission to take pictures.  Even though I knew it was a waste of time I went as he was only doing his job.  A worker in the trailer he sent me too said not to worry.  Even the worker takes pictures inside and had no issues with me.  Different would we live in today.  But it is not like I am going to blow up the old stadium.  Already done.  Just a matter of time before the land is all one big parking lot.  Just another faded memory for some.

[flickrslideshow acct_name="LBProd" id="72157623908327201"]

[flickrslideshow acct_name="LBProd" id="72157623919248959"]

[flickrslideshow acct_name="LBProd" id="72157624043612762"]

Taken May 9
DSC04514

DSC04445

Taken May 10
DSC04581

Taken May 11
DSC04648

DSC04673

DSC04657

Giants Stadium Demolition: Budweiser/NJ Lottery Get Free Advertising

What a week it has been over at Giants Stadium.  Seems every 4-5 days a major section comes down.  When I was there last week, the 2nd in the four spirals was to come down.  I was told it was going to be done either today or tomorrow.  I ask today about it and I was told it would be done once the stadium was down completely.  I think the Skanska guys know more than they let on.  I was then told by an associate at the NY Post that they signed forms not to talk about it to the press.  Well, since I am not the press I have been able to get small amounts of information.

As it turns out there are many crews working in so many areas.  A few guys got to NJ yesterday from Chicago to work on the old stadium.  The spirals from what I was told could come down anytime and plans change.  One of the workers informed me they mainly bring down the huge sections after 5 PM.  The wrecking ball drops through the sections where the seats were to get rid of the concrete.  They then knock it down inward into the old stadium.  They then clear it all just to do it again.  I am hoping to get shots of them tearing down sections or spirals.

Last Friday, the construction foreman told me he wished he could get me into the new stadium high enough to get some overhead shots.  He then told me to wait and see if he could get me closer but did not return.  I do the best I can given the parameters around the old stadium.  One of the crew that is working on the parking lots informed me that the seats from the stadium are being destroyed.  Seems only very few were saved for sale.  The rest were left in the stadium and either destroyed or dumped into garbage bins.  He let me know that they cut out sections shaped like a “V” in the back of each seat so no one could take a seat or sell it.  Not air if you ask me.

I was there for about two hours today.  Walking around and surrounded by cranes, dump trucks, wrecking balls, and other equipment I should have a hard hat for.  Seems many come by to take pictures, but I am the only one documentating its fall.  One of the crew asked if I wanted a rock.  I asked for a seat instead.  Didn’t get it, obviously.  These guys are working 12-14 hour days just to get this thing down.  Can tell some do not care about what info they talk about.  To them this is just another job.  Below are pictures taken over the past week.  You will be able to see the changes by the old Gate A that have happened.

The new stadium plays host to a soccer game this Friday night.  Kiosk workers and others were going through orientation and training tonight.  Also, more Jets fans were visiting to check their seats out.  Construction crews were finishing up away from the new stadium.  I did not get any shots when I went back over.  Camera issues.  But I will be back and hopefully get those shots.  Only so many places to stand and snap pictures anyway.  Not many good angles.

Thursday I will be sitting down with Bayonne Assemblyman Anthony Chiappone.  The Assemblyman and some colleagues are behind a Bill that would provide a PSL holder a “Bill of Rights”.  Hoping to give PSL holders more options than the team will allow.  After that, it is off to Mennen Arena in Morristown, NJ for the New Jersey Revolutions practice.  The New Jersey Revolution of the American Indoor Football Association (AIFA) will face the Reading Revolution on Saturday May, 8th at 7PM.  At least I will be getting some football footage for the documentary.

Funny note.  As I was headed to Giants Stadium today, 101.9 WRXP played John Cougar Meloncamp’s  “And The Walls, Came Tumbling Down”.

[flickrslideshow acct_name="LBProd" id="72157623991958486"]

[flickrslideshow acct_name="LBProd" id="72157623867766677"]

[flickrslideshow acct_name="LBProd" id="72157623994233828"]

[flickrslideshow acct_name="LBProd" id="72157623994261842"]

Taken April 28

DSC03947

DSC04006

Taken April 30

DSC04056

DSC04101

May 3

DSC04133

DSC04166

May 4

DSC04200

DSC04256

DSC04239