The Jet Nuts: A Breed Apart From Other Jets Tailgating Groups

This past Sunday I had the pleasure of watching the Jets face the Eagles at the home of Steve Renner.  Steve is one of the founders of the Jet Nuts tailgating group.  You could always spot them from their bus and Jet Nuts logos.  Now the game may not have been the best, but the afternoon with the Nuts was very enjoyable.  It was easy to see why many enjoyed tailgating with the Jet Nuts for over 20 years.

The core group of the Nuts were there for the game.  Even the eldest, Bill Borm who had been attending games since the then Titans of New York.  The Nuts are a warm, friendly bunch who have been attending games together even before the Jet Nuts name came about.  Always willing to welcome others, they all treated me as if I had been a Jet Nut for years.

The Jets/Cowboys game was the only game they brought their bus to this season.  With a drop off in participation, they were losing money and not covering their costs.  They ended up selling the bus to a Jets fan group in Virgina.  They use the bus for whatever games the Jets go to in Washington, Baltimore, and other surrounding NFL cities the Jets travel to.

They do have a plethora of memorabilia to remind them of their days as Jets Nuts.  From pictures and parking passes to the original Jet Nuts sign they had on their first bus.  Many autographs, stickers, shirts, and other merchandise with the Jet Nuts logo on it remains with them all.  Steve even has his original seat back from Giants Stadium.  How he got them, I can not tell.  They even have a wall size Jets banner from the stadium lot.  That story will be left for the documentary.  Let’s just say Steve’s wife acted fast and got it down before any security noticed.

One of the Jets Nuts did not want to keep his tickets past the first season at the new MetLife Stadium.  He felt zig-zagging up several escalators was a hassle, waiting on long lines at the bathroom, and dealing with obnoxious Jets ticket reps was just the tip of the iceberg for him.  The fact he had his seats since 1972 and “records were lost” making him a ticket holder since 1977 was an insult.

He said Steve had to wait on line for the bathroom for about 45 minutes.  One can miss a lot of the game just waiting on line for the bathroom.  I have heard this from several fans.  There was also a complaint about less port-a-pottys in the non PSL parking section.  It is a hard job to keep distance between a man, his beer, and the bathroom.

This Jet Nut even showed me his season ticket billing statement from 1983.  At that time, p[purchasing preseason tickets were optional.  Also, it was optional to purchase parking.  His total bill came to $208 for two seats.  I can remember in 1985 looking at our season tickets with a price of $25 on each ticket.  It seem professional football has skyrocketed in price and inflation over the years.  Professional football tickets have seen inflation and cost skyrocket over the years.

The elder statesman of the Jet Nuts, Bill Bohm, seems content on watching games at home now. Bill began attending games at the Polo Grounds watching the then Titans of New York to watching the Jets play on TV aboard the Jet Nuts bus last season.  As Bill’s knees got worse, he could not walk into the stadium.  Bill seemed pleased just attending the games with the rest of the crew and remaining on the bus to watch the Jets play.  Someone would always stay behind with Bill as everyone else ventured into the stadium.  Bill never stepped foot into the new MetLife Stadium.

Steve and a handful of the Jet Nuts are happy setting up their small grills and tailgating on a small patch of grass.  Steve now prefers buying better cuts of meat for less than in bulk for about 50.  They still enjoy what they do but with less people around.  Steve and the others had hoped the younger generation would have taken over the bus and the festivities, but that never happened.

Steve was given a trophy by the Jet Nuts for attending his 100th consecutive game.  That is over 12 years of attending games without missing one.  I am sure others may have done this, but I do not think their friends would give them a trophy for that feat.  I do not think any players can say they have ever missed a game.  I know in hockey they give out “iron man” awards for those who have gone long stretches without missing a game.  It goes to show how a concentrated group of Jets fans not only care about each other, but acknowledge accomplishments for being a fan.

The Jet Nuts are that rare breed of Jets fan.  They remind of the Jet Pack who I have written about before.  A bunch of friends who decided to get a bus and create something bigger for other Jets fans.  Not only did they include their friends, but whoever wanted to come over and enjoy the party with them.  For over 20 years many have celebrated with them and wanted to be a part of them.  Unfortunately, some things have to come to an end.  Many Jets fans have realized this over the past few seasons.

There are many other tailgating groups still around.  Sal & Carmine still have their usual set up, Dave and the guys in L5, the Flagman Frank Conway over by the Racetrack, the L7 Tailgate which was founded on Twitter, and many others all across the parking landscape.  But the big groups that started at Shea seem to be dwindling.  Even though the Jet Nuts had their first bus 20 years ago does not mean that was when they started as a group.  That was just when the bus attracted enough attention for others to join them for years to come.

We covered other issues this past Sunday.  I do have to save some of it for the documentary, you know.  Not giviving it all away right now.  I was glad To meet Steve, Bill, and the rest of the Jet Nuts back in 2008 and even happier they allowed me to share a game with them at Steve’s house.  Hanging with them did not feel like I was with one of the typical tailgating groups I mentioned before.  With the Jet Nuts, one feels more like family.  That is how they treat each other.  Even though they had their ups and downs dealing the the Jets, PSL’s, and tailgating, the Jet Nuts will always remain Jets fans no matter where they watch a game or or how many of them set a grill up at the stadium.

Non PSL Parking Preferred By Some At MetLife Stadium

Sunday’s Jets romp over Kansas City was the last Jets home game I will be filming at for my documentary.  Since August 2008, I have attended as many home games as I could to to tell countless fan stories.  Some long time season ticket holders watch the games from home while others still attend with fewer friends beside them.  There have been a few season ticket holders I have talked to who have passed away, leaving voids amongst friends and family at the games.

This last game I ventured over to the Izod Center and the non PSL parking.  I had not heard any perspective from those ticket holders yet and I needed to.  It seemed the consensus was the same from everyone I talked to.

Many non PSL holders seem to prefer parking over by the Izod.  They say it is easier to park and one does not have to wait on long lines to leave the lots.  There is easy access to any main roadway where ever you are going.  One can find a great spot for tailgating with plenty of space and not be disturbed.

Many say the walk over to the stadium takes about 15-20 minutes.  No one seems to mind the walk.  They would rather have that walk over rather than park close and fight others just to get out of the parking lot.  The non PSL lots do fill up closer to kick off as many single game ticket holders park over there.  It seems the more casual fan can find a good spot amongst the tailgaters but may have to arrive early depending on who the Jets are facing.

Even though there is a little walk, some PSL holders will park in the non PSL section.  Why?  To be able to tailgate with friends.  They prefer to keep their tailgate group together rather than break it up because the Jets say they can not park together.

Funny thing about some of these non PSL parking permits.  Some are paying $15 per game where others are paying $20 per game to park there.  I head different stories from several on different prices.  I believe the PSL holders who chose to park there pay the higher rate where the non PSL holders pay a lower ate.  I find that quite interesting.

It just seems no matter where season ticket holders park, there will always be mixed feelings on the situation.  There are pros and cons with everything.  But the bottom line here is everyone has at least one negative comment to say about the organization.  I have yet to meet one person that will say everything positive.

For many years, there was always one constant when it came to tailgating.  That constant were the Jet Nuts.  You could always tell where they were by their bus in the bus parking lot.  When I talked with Steve and the guys last season, they were not sure if they were coming back for the 2011 season.  As it turned out, they didn’t.  The costs did not warrant them to come back with the bus.  They came back in a small group and did casual tailgating, but that was it.

Steve and the guys were putting out more than they were seeing.  When you take that into account with others not purchasing a PSL or any type of season ticket there was less money to rely on.  Like other tailgating groups, they saw a decline in numbers that made it harder to keep a long standing group together.  The Jet Nuts had been together as a group since Shea Stadium.  But when an organization decides to make a change, it does not always benefit everyone.

I will be visiting with Steve and some of the other Jet Nuts before the Eagles game this Sunday.  I am sure the Nuts will have a lot to say about past and current tailgating affairs.  I already know their famed bus will not be there.  Steve sold the bus to a Jets group in Virginia.  So without the bus, a true era for the Jet Nuts has ended.

As more time passes, the long standing committed Jets season ticket holder seems to be fading out of the tailgating scene.  Being replaced by a younger, rowdier, eager to spend season ticket holder.

The make up has changed at Jets games.  The veteran fans see it.  They see less of their friends and fresher faces around.  The changing of the guard has happened.  The Jets have officially lost a seasoned, dedicated group that stuck with them for 40 years for a contingent that seems to care more about spending and  status.

If you do not believe me, check out Twitter and Facebook.

Why Is New Jersey Ignored By Its Own Professional Football Teams?

Long ago, the Jets and Giants once played in New York.  Not anymore.

They play in New Jersey. Their training facilities are in New Jersey.  Their offices are also located in New Jersey.

If the Jets or Giants don’t want to acknowledge New Jersey in their names, then they should combine their efforts once again and move back to the Big Apple. The West Side Stadium project was a bust so the Jets had no choice but to partner with the Giants.  There is no team that plays in one state with the name of another in front of their name.

After the Giants won Super Bowl XLII, co-owner Steve Tisch proclaimed, “We play for the City of New York.”  Needless to say, that did not go over well with many people in New Jersey.  The past two seasons the Jets made the playoffs.  They held post season rallies in New York both years.  Why not hold those in New Jersey at the stadium they play in?

When the Giants won the Super Bowl, the parade is in New York City.  The Philadelphia Phillies didn’t have a parade in Trenton where many Philly fans reside.

Both the Jets and Giants play in New Jersey, a good percentage of their players live in New Jersey and many of their fans come from New Jersey.

They get subsidies and benefits from New Jersey.  The money made at MetLife Stadium benefits New Jersey, not New York.  The players have events and functions in New York more often than n New Jersey.

The Giants have have called New Jersey home for 36 years. The Jets, who don’t even have their own stadium, have been in New Jersey since 1984.  New Jersey is the second wealthiest state in the country.

Some of the most affluent people in the United States live here.  You don’t really think those millionaire athletes from New York, or Philadelphia live in those places, do you?  Maybe if you play for the Yankees, Mets, or Knicks.

I realize most people in the country don’t care. I don’t blame you, but you are not looked upon as New York’s little brother. Additionally, in obscurity and the misrepresentation that shows like “Jersey Shore”, “Real Housewives of New Jersey”, and “Jerseylicious” cast on us.

For someone who has lived in New Jersey all their life, I would like the state to be looked on favorably as two top NFL teams make their home here even though their name doesn’t show it.

The Giants have a rich tradition and history. The Jets, not so much.

New Jersey gave both teams the best deal, the best tax breaks and the worst possible method of getting to a stadium imaginable. At least along with the new stadium, and $15,000 PSL, they built a train station.

In 2012, the New Jersey Nets are moving to Brooklyn. Something tells me they will not keep the New Jersey Nets name.  When the Devils came to New Jersey in the early 80’s, they did not keep the Colorado Avalanche name.

Look back at any sport and every professional sports team.  There has never been a team that kept their original place of origin as their name.  Even the Oakland Raiders changed to the Los Angeles Raiders when they moved.  They did not become the California Raiders just because they remained in the same state.

Lastly, the Statue of Liberty? It’s in New Jersey, not New York.

Jets Stock Under Performing; Shareholders Fear Another Decline

Last year I wrote an article about the Jets and their stock price.  It seems not much has really changed in one year.  Sure the Jets made it to the AFC Championship game last season, but their stock still underperformed according to analysts.  This season, their stock seems to be sliding amongst fans.  Some are ready to dump their stock while others will stay invested.

The question usually asked is “What stock do the Jets have?”.  The PSL’s and season tickets are the stock.  Season ticket holders invest their money in the team in hopes the Jets (the stock) perform to their expectations.  This season has been one of fluctuations.  After this past weekend, analysts are not hopeful on post season performance.  The Jets and some however, will remain hopeful and release reports that state such.

Joe Namath who is probably the Jets biggest analyst has mentioned the same comments two seasons in a row on the Michael Kat Show on ESPN Radio.  He said the Jets are not as great as they think they are.  For two season Joe Namath has seen the Jets stock under perform and overvalued.  Some investors (PSL/season ticket holders) feel the same way.  They are waiting for the day the Jets stock is worth the price they are paying and finally see a return on their investment.

There are some stockholders who could care less.  They will invest as much as they can for years even if the stock constantly declines.  They will invest in tickets, PSL’s, merchandise, and anything else that has the Jets name attached.  These investors will tell those who either stop investing or do not invest as much that they are not as invested as they are.  Because they invest more that they are a bigger shareholder.  It does not matter how much you spend on your stock, all Jets shareholders are equal.  Unless you actually own the team or work in their offices.

The Jets need to win just about every game to ensure they can get a Wild Card spot.  December has proven to be a hard month for the Jets to win in previous seasons.  This is a hurdle they need to overcome and prove they can increase the value of their stock before the postseason.  If the Jets fall short of their goal, some might continue to ponder if the Jets stock will ever be worth more than what the team says it is worth.  Many investors feel they were over charged for an undervalued stock.

As it stands now, there will be no rally for Jets fans to get their team ready for the postseason.  If the Jets look like the team many remember, there may not be a postseason.  The dividend many PSL and season ticket holders hope for are home playoff tickets.  Many wait for that opportunity.  But it is up to the Jets to make sure they play at home as opposed to on the road.  Many fans have gotten accustomed to seeing he Jets on the road in the playoffs.  Sometimes, the tickets are cheaper at other stadiums rather than seeing them play at MetLife Stadium.  With no home game, no dividend.

With the Jets win over Buffalo today they are now 6-5.  Even though they are in the wild card hunt, a lot still needs to happen.  There are still too many unforeseen factors to see if they Jets will make the postseason.  Even if they do, they need the New England Patriots to perform miserably if the Jets have a chance at winning the division and securing at least one home playoff game.  Just like the stock market, no one can predict what the future holds for the Jets and their investors.

Even modest gains and spikes do not mean a stock is a safe bet.  Same goes in football.  The Jets need to do more than just win a game here and there.  They need to outperform the other teams.  If a stock wants to look attractive, it needs to out perform competitors and show gains to a potential investor.  Otherwise, that investor might invest in the competitor.  In the Jets case, the only other team locally are the Giants.  There have been some ticket holders who went from the Jets to the Giants and vice versa.  I have spoken with them during tailgating.

Many Jets investors stand behind their team.  They will be at every game until the end of the season.  They will believe the Jets can pull it out and make a run for another shot at the AFC Championship, and maybe a Super Bowl.  But what seems to be a sure thing sometimes isn’t.  The Jets have lost games they should have won, and won a few thy should of lost.  It all depends on which Jets show up the rest of the season.  There is no predicting the outcome of a game.  As one can not predict accurately a stocks future.

Before anyone can think about putting money aside for that playoff game, the Jets need to do their part first.  Well, other teams need to do their part and lose accordingly as well.  If the Jets performed a bit better earlier on, their postseason chances might be looking brighter.  Just like any public company who offers stock, the better the performance, the better the return.  The Jets need to show that increased performance if they want to give their investors the return they are looking for in the postseason.

Fans Message To Jets & Rex Ryan: Shut Up & Play

This past Sunday night, the Jets had an opportunity.  An opportunity to show not just their fans, but everyone who follows football that they should be taken seriously.  That the Jets are a team who not only want to go back to the AFC Championship for a third straight year, but win and go on to the Super Bowl.  The Jets and Patriots both stood at 5-3.  All they needed to do was win in convincing fashion against their AFC rivals.

But they didn’t

The Jets lost 37-16 and now sit wondering if they can still make the playoffs.  Albeit there are seven games left in the season, but which Jets will show up the rest of the year.  The Jets who claim they are Super Bowl contenders who defeated the Cowboys, Chargers, and Bills in convincing fashion?  Or will it be the same old Jets the fans are used to seeing from years past.  Only the players can determine which version of them will be ready at game time.

The fans are salivating for a championship.  Rex Ryan has made predictions, guarantees, and comments about how this is the Jets year and the team that will bring home a championship.  Maybe it is time for Rex to stop talking and come through on his promises.  Everyone loves how outspoken and confident he is.  But all that bravado does not win game or transfer that attitude to the players.  The players need to believe in themselves and show that on the field, not Rex Ryan.

For the past few season, Rex has reached out to the fans for support.  Season ticket holders get a pre recorded call at the beginning of the season as well as pleas throughout the season.  The fans are always there for the team.  But Rex has not delivered back to the fans.  Rex Ryan also took the opportunity in his postgame press conference to apologize to Jets fans after he challenged them earlier in the week to make this past Sunday’s game difficult for the Patriots.

“I thought we’d play a lot better. I thought we had really improved, I really did. I think we did improve, but when you make those types of mistakes – you fumble a punt, you have a poor timeout … time management was an absolutely critical error. That’s my responsibility. I own that one. You make that many mistakes against that team, there’s no chance. “

The playoffs are not coming up soon, for sure, so the Jets aren’t eliminating themselves from the AFC playoff picture by any means but Rex Ryan recognized, whether it was in jest or not, that the Jets division title chances took a big hit on Sunday night.

“It looks doubtful right now. What am I going to say? Maybe I should guarantee the fact that we’re out of it. The last time I did that, we made the playoffs. Yeah, we don’t have a chance.”

Maybe Rex should not guarantee anything.  Maybe Rex should impose a media blackout on himself.  Maybe he should just coach and let his actions speak louder than any words he can say.  But once again, his words this past Sunday seemed to get him in trouble…..again.  This time, getting caught on tape using profanities at a fan during halftime.

On the video, Ryan and the Jets’ players and staff are seen walking into the tunnel. A fan yells out to Ryan, “Belichick’s better than you,” and Ryan tells him to shut up, adding an expletive for good measure.

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This team and their coaches need to resolve any issues they have to make their play playoff worthy.  The fans are tired of the talk and empty promises.  Please back up that talk with convincing play on the field every game.  Show the fans that you REALLY want to go and win a Super Bowl.  Not just say it.  The Jets show flashes of brilliance, but not often enough.  Is this the players fault, or the coaches?

The fans have heard enough.  It is time for the Jets to live up to expectations.  It is time for Mark Sanchez and Darelle Revis to lead the team convincingly.  To show they are a Super Bowl caliber team and not just a playoff contender, which they do not look presently.  If they could not beat the Patriots and the worst ranked defense in the NFL, now do they expect to make it to the playoffs?

Impose a media blackout on yourselves.  Focus on winning and not talking.  Rex Ryan may be a great coach.  But he needs to show everyone he can back those words up with actions.  Will three times be the charm?  Rex said they were going to win even before the season started.  Actions speak louder than words.  Show us you can win, do not tell us.

Shut up and play.

Sunday’s Jets/Patriots Game Critical For Team & Fans

For the past year and a half, New Meadowlands Stadium now MetLife Stadium has been home of the New York Jets. But Sunday will feel like their first game in the new billion dollar stadium.

When the Patriots come to East Rutherford in a gigantic AFC East match against Gang Green,  it will be a test to see if all those years of waiting will make this stadium be home to the Jets and their fans or just another upscale VIP event.

To date, this will be the Jets biggest game they will play in the new stadium.  But to the fans and everyone watching, will it feel like it. More importantly, will the Jets play as it is their biggest game played in MetLife Stadium.

For as long as I have been filming at MetLife, the former New Meadowlands Stadium, no one has enjoyed it.  Fans have had reason to hate the PSLs.  The fans hate the way it looks like a prison from the outside.  It has no life.  The stadium feels like a shell of something that could be grander.

The Jets want fans at MetLife Stadium on Sunday vs. the Patriots to give Gang Green an advantage they have yet to see at home.  They want the fans to be louder than they have ever been.  To show that the Jets can defeat their AFC rivals with confidence and certainty.  The Jets biggest opponent are themselves, and that needs to be defeated easily before they can defeat the Patriots.

But maybe this game is what the new stadium has been waiting for. Maybe Brady, Billichik, Ochocinco, and the rest of the Pats walking into the Jets home is what has been needed. The sight of the Justin Bieber wannabe has done it time and time again. The most memorable home game of Jets coach Rex Ryan’s tenure was his first. On that Sunday back in September of 2009, Giants Stadium vibrated as the Jets defeated the Patriots in an opening day battle.

The past three years has been a period of change for many sports fans, and not just of football. We’ve seen Yankee Stadium, Shea Stadium and Giants Stadium torn down. Rising in their place have been buildings that seem to be more about profits than the roar of the fans, that prefer the upscale, casual sports viewer than the outspoken die-hard fan.

Since I started filming, I have heard stories & watched fans who saw Joe Namath play at Shea leave overpriced seats behind where they could have watched Mark Sanchez in a new stadium . Tales of longtime season-ticket holders fuming and forced out in droves have seen masses not come back to watch all their local sports teams.

For the Jets, MetLife Stadium was supposed to represent their first real home. The franchise has wandered like gypsies from other peoples home stadiums beginning with the Polo Grounds. MetLife is shared with the Giants, but the franchise does everything possible to make the stadium feel like home by making it look green on game day.  So fans feel like it belongs to them, not the Giants.

Like the new homes of the Mets and Yankees, though, the Jets are limited in how they can make MetLife stadium feel like home. Most of it has to do with what’s happening on the field & the green colors outside on game day. Yankee Stadium felt like doppelganger to some until they had their series with the Boston Red Sox during the opening season. Citi Field needs a Mets makeover before it becomes a tough ticket.  It has yet to feel warm and inviting to Mets fans.

On Sunday, it is zero hour for Gang Green and their fans. The Jets have a chance to see what their home field can truly sound and feel like. They have played 12 games at MetLife Stadium to date. Brett Favre’s return last year had the place shaking. The season opener with the Cowboys this year got loud when Joe McKnight blocked a punt in the fourth quarter.  But that is nothing compared to what the fans can truly sound like.

Nothing compares to the present, though. Bill Belichick and Brady enter this game vulnerable. With both teams at 5-3, this feels like an AFC Title game. It could determine whether the Jets bring a playoff game to MetLife this year.  Something the fans have demanded for years.  The ability to watch their team at home in the playoffs.  To give their Jets a home field advantage the likes the team has not seen.

Is that enough for those in the VIP boxes and Coaches Club sections to put down their over priced drinks and prime rib? Maybe Woody Johnson needs to sit with the real fans to find out what it truly feels like to be at a home Jets game.  At about 8:30 Sunday night come kick off, we’ll find out.

No Monopoly On Free Parking Around MetLife Stadium

Ever since I gave up my season tickets I have not been able to park by the stadium when I film my documentary.  One needs to obtain a parking pass to park on the premises.  For a PSL or season ticket holder, the offer is there when you buy your tickets.  Those who buy tickets for single games can buy a parking pass on Stub Hub, Craigslist, NFL Ticket Exchange, or other areas.  You may have to pay a little more than the season ticket holder but at least you get to park at the stadium.  For someone like me who is trying to save a couple bucks, trying to find a close place to park for free is not that easy.  Now it is almost impossible.

Last year I did some scouting of nearby locations and found one.  The Sheraton hotel right across Route 3.  It was close enough and provided free parking.  The one problem was the walk across Route 3.  It reminded me of the Activision game Freeway for the Atari 2600.  I was glad there was an overpass to use to walk right onto the stadium lot to make that rip easy.  Still had to watch out for cars, but it was a good walk.  Sometimes good things do not last long.

The second game of the season saw Stub Hub control the parking at the Sheraton.  They were charging $25 per vehicle to park there plus an additional cost for transportation to and from the stadium.  I told the attendant I was only going to the hotel.  He let me in so I was able to park for free.  That was the only time last season Stub Hub controlled the parking at the Sheraton.

Stub Hub Rates At The Sheraton

Other businesses around the stadium were charging for parking at various point during the season.  So those who tried to do what I did had no choice but to pay for parking wherever they parked.

The rest of the season no one controlled the parking at the Sheraton.  It was really the only place one could park close by for free and get over to the stadium.  I didn’t see too many other Jets fans there.  It made going to the game easy and hassle free.  The only issue was a long walk.  I did not mind that.  I thought I could rely on using the Sheraton parking as the place to park close for free in the future.  Was I wrong.

This season it appears every local business is charging for off site parking.  Stub Hub still charges $25 per vehicle at the Sheraton.  They also charge $5 to get over to the stadium and $5 to get back to the Sheraton per person.  Nice little program they have.  Homestead Suites next door charges $30 per vehicle.  It seems $25-$30 is the going rate for non stadium parking.  Many provide transportation but few still do not.

It seems every local business is that has a parking lot is trying to make extra money off the fans.  What seemed to be a way to keep some cash in the pocket is now a business venture for those looking to take that cash back out of the fans pocket.

From Redd’s Restaurant on Route 120 to others on Paterson Plank Rd, it seems many are off site parking for Jets and Giants fans.  If one has a residence close enough to MetLife Stadium, that individual could even charge for parking.  How could someone with a home do this? Easily.

Just do what the rest of the businesses do.  Apply for a permit through your town to provide the parking.  Albeit you should have sufficient space & offer transportation to and from the facility, but it can be done.  That is all these other businesses do.  They get a permit from the NJMC to be able to have permission to charge for parking.

To find out some of this information was not hard at all.  But I felt I was being deceived.  Last Sunday I was told from a Carlstadt officer to talk to a representative in the Parking & Concessions department at MetLife Stadium and a Lieutenant in the NJ State Police.   The officer said these people would have the information I was looking for.

So I started out by calling MetLife Stadium and instantly found the individual I was looking for.  The representative was very candid and spoke off the record so I will not be giving their name.  They said the stadium has no dealings or business with any outside party looking to charge or provide off-site parking for Jets or Giants games.  These parties have to go through the Meadowlands C Commission to get permission to charge for parking.

The Meadowlands Commission serves and the zoning and planning agency for a 30.4 square mile area along the Hackensack River covering parts of 14 municipalities in Bergen and Hudson Counties.

The New Jersey Meadowlands Commission (NJMC) issues a Certificate of Approval for an Outdoor Event (The outdoor event in this case is off-site parking for patrons attending events at NJSEA facilities).  The NJMC does not charge an application fee.

An application for an outdoor event is submitted to the NJMC for review with one copy of a site plan indicating the location of event areas.  The application is accompanied by copies of notification letters to Municipal Police and Fire Departments.  The NJMC must receive approval letters from both the Police and Fire Departments before issuing any approval.  Outdoor events shall not exceed a total of 14 days per property per year.

Applications must be submitted a minimum of 15 business days prior to the event. So far ten applications have been approved this year.  The NJMC only deals with the property management companies and not the business tenants.

Due to safety concerns regarding pedestrian traffic between the off-site parking locations and the NJSEA facilities, the municipal police departments require that pedestrians and vehicles be directed in a safe and orderly manner and that shuttle buses be provided continuously throughout the course of the events to prevent pedestrians from walking between the site and the NJSEA facilities.

The MetLife Stadium official endorses the use of shuttles from off-site parking facilities.  They do not wish to see people walking over Route 3 or other major highways to get to the stadium.  They also encourage the use of public transportation.  They prefer fans take buses or trains from the Secaucus Junction to get to the stadium.

So in the case of Stub Hub, they deal with the Sheraton directly.  The cost for their shuttle is optional as some opt to walk over to the stadium.  So one could drive to see what businesses are not charging for p[parking.  But one would have to consider their car might be ticketed or towed for parking illegally.  But some fans will take that risk just to save a couple bucks.

If you are one of many who purchase single game tickets and prefer to drive, look into a parking permit first.  You might end up paying face value for it of a few dollars more  It is better than the other options of giving your money to an off site lot and risk having a shuttle or not.  In my opinion, get the parking permit.  Parking at the stadium is more fun as it enables you to be able to tailgate.  Do not be the chicken who crossed the road.

The Basics For Tailgating At MetLife Stadium

Recently I was contacted by a cable television series.  They are about to do their first episode on tailgating.  They saw my article on Football Reporters Online and the work I have done at Jets games, filming my documentary.  The producer wanted to know what they needed to do to shoot there and the best location to park.  I helped him along as best I could as they are going to a Giants game.  Same parking lot, different surroundings.  Seems everyone wants to know the best location not just for tailgating, but for filming at the stadium.

Now before and after finding the best tailgating location there is other work to be done.  Deciding on what to bring and what kind of set up a tailgate will have.  Now depending on the size of your tailgate, this can either be easy or complicated.  Some tailgaters do not bother with logistics.  They just bring a grill, cooler, chairs, and maybe a radio for other games and that’s it.  Others go above and beyond, creating a small dwelling or village to satisfy the masses they bring to their tailgate.

Last time I talked about location.  One can set up anywhere.  The concrete dividers and islands can obviously hold any size tailgate.  I have seen buses unload to grand set ups down to two guys with a grill and some chairs.  Any size tailgate works there.  If setting up in the lot itself, one needs to have a tighter and organized set up.  Cramming everything into one spot, maybe two could make it very cramped.  Depending on what you bring will determine where you should set up.

Every tailgate should have certain essentials.  Items that go beyond a grill and cooler.  These days, a pop up canopy tent is becoming a necessity.  Why?  For several reasons.  Provides great shade on hot days.  On rainy days, not only does it protect you but it also covers the grill so those steaks and burgers can cook evenly.  With side coverings, one has protection during windy rain and snow days.  The side panels cost extra, but are worth it during the bad elements.  When tailgating in groups, having tents side by side provide more space and room for all to be dry.   Some tents cost under $65, but it may be flimsy.  Better quality ones start around $100 providing sturdier covers.

When dealing with coolers, always have more than one.  Food & beverages should be packed separately.  Never know if prepared foods, meats, or anything that leaks may get over other items.  Cleaning items  off may be an easy way around it.  But reaching in for a drink and grabbing a chicken leg may not satisfy that thirst.  Being able to lift the lid and see the varieties of beer, soda, wine, water, it a lot easier than moving a leaking steak off the bottle tops.  Plus the bigger coolers can be used as extra seats.  Never know who may stop by.

Some seem to go above and beyond, bringing their whole living room to the game.  I have seen couches lined up on top of rugs with coffee tables.  Many will bring their flat screens and hook them into cable TV dishes to watch all the games.  Some will bring whatever amenities from home to make their tailgate a little more comfortable and pleasing to the eye.  If you are one of the very lucky few to have a Winnebago or trailer, some manage to have a luxury home on wheels to tailgate with.  Many just have the necessities in their trailer: small cooking area, place to sit, tv, refrigerator, Jets memorabilia, & maybe a small bathroom.

 

 

 

 

 

One of the most important decisions one will make is what type of grill to bring and how many.  Many regular tailgaters invest in the Thermos Grill-2-Go by Char-Broil.  Easy to travel with, large cooking surface, easy to clean, and compact design make it an ideal tailgate companion.  Abel to pack it into a trunk or back seat and open wide to cook anything you can think of.  The old staple will always be charcoal grills.  There are places to dispose of the coals, but many opt to let them cool off on the ground in the parking lot.

The Grill2Go in action

Some tailgates will have more than one grill depending on the size of the crew.  Others opt to bring grills or BBQ pits large enough to cook a Fred Flintstone brontosaurus style steak.  Many cook their food at different intervals.  Know what you want to cook when.  Start with the burgers and dogs and then work on the items that take longer like steaks, chops, chicken legs, kabobs, and whatever else one deems worthy.  Give yourself enough time to clean the grill and cool it down so one does not miss kick off.

This are a plethora of other options to make your tailgate better.  I just provide some of the basics.  I could write about countless other options, perhaps I will in the near future.  There  should be enough of a basis to build your tailgate on.  These options will come in handy for those attending Sunday’s match up between the Jets and San Diego Chargers.  This is LT’s first game against his former team so it will be entertaining.  Get there around 8 AM when the gates open to give yourself maximum tailgating time to make the whole day entertaining.

Prime Tailgating Locations Identified At MetLife Stadium

When I started LevysBakeryProductions.com I wanted to keep people and Jets fans informed about my documentary, Gang Greed and other projects.  I soon began writing about more than that.  About my experiences while filming both Jets games and NFL alternatives.  Focusing on Jets fans and tailgating before and after games.  It seemed that the more I did at the stadium, the more I was learning about what it takes to have a successful and entertaining tailgate.

It seemed no matter how much I tried to focus on the Jets and how their decisions affect their fans, the more tailgating became a focus at many points.  Yes many would like to be season ticket holders and attend the game.  But many of those fans also want to tailgate to have a true football experience.  Tailgating has become just as important as attending the games to many.  Some do it small with just themselves while others go above and beyond to create a lavish affair.

Everyday people come to my website to look for the best places to park, how to get parking passes, what tailgating foods people prepare, where Fireman Ed’s seats are, and other topics related to Jets tailgating.  All of those searches let me know how my website has become a destination for those looking to tailgate at Jets home games .

I have journeyed over the blacktop landscape at the stadium.  So today I will start with three things that will hopefully make your tailgating experience at, ugh, MetLife Stadium that much better.  Location, location, location.  Now here we have a map of the MetLife stadium parking.  Now depending on what color parking pass you have will determine where one might think they will have a great location to tailgate.Now many feel the best areas to tailgate are the concrete or dirt borders that surround each parking area.  I happen to agree.  It gives you space to put your grill, tent, and other tailgating items.  It also provided room for those groups that have mass tailgaters.  But one must arrive before they open the gates and wait on line, this happens five hours before kick off.  This will ensure you get a prime spot on the outlying border.
Many of those with Winnebago’s, trailers, campers, smokers, will set up along borders.  The key is to find the spots before they do or get into the mix.  The tailgating security will not tell you how to set up your tailgate in these areas hence why many go for it off the bat.  If you have a lot of people coming or a lot of gear, get there as early as possible.  If not, expect to wait on long lines, maybe over an hour.

Now, if you are not one of the lucky few to get a spot on the outskirts, I suggest setting up next to the lot markers.  The lot markers are easy to find, they are also the night parking lights.  Easy to find your car after the game and if you get a few cars parked in a row there it makes a group tailgate easier to set up.  Many do this in the yellow parking lots.  The green ones fill in closer to game time as those fans seem to care more about the game than tailgating.

In some lots, at the end of each parking aisle is a small blocked off section.  Nothing big, but small areas outlines for non parking use.  Some take the end spots so they can have this small area to enhance their tailgate.  I have seen some good set ups within this space and their parking area.  These are mainly in the Yellow lots and very few in the green.  The further away one parks from the stadium the easier it is to get away with certain tailgating set ups.

Parking lot D in the yellow section provides a good combination of both.  There are only four rows/two lanes of parking so the tailgating there seems to be more compact and easy to set up.  Bathrooms are close and if you get a lucky enough spot, you could park under the bridge from the stadium to the Izod Center for shelter from rain.  There is even a dirt section close to Route 120 where one can set up a tailgate well.  It may be tight over there, but there are good spots for setting up your tailgate.

I have yet to make it over to the NON PSL parking.  From what I understand, one can not tailgate in the garage.  If one does decide to tailgate over by the Izod Center, you need to make it quick.  The time it takes you to pack up and walk over the stadium is not a hop, skip, and jump.  Only in Lot B is tailgating easy for NON PSL holders.  In the numbered parking, same rules apply as if you parked in the PSL parking.  One just needs to have a quick set up to ensure making it over by kickoff.

It does not matter where you park, the stadium has employees walking around making sure people keep their tailgate limited to only one spot.  Keep any grill or tent close to your vehicle and do not stick out far into the driving area.  They will tell you to move it.  That is why people tailgate in groups or find areas they can set up that does not fall in designated parking areas.  Groups like L7 Tailgate, L5 Tailgate, Frank Conway and his friends, and others always tailgate in big numbers.  They know with more space comes better room to have fun before any game.

Some friends and family look forward to tailgating before every home game.  Sometimes more than the game.  It gives people a chance to catch up, reminisce, and for others, a chance to meet someone new.  I know of a couple who met during Jets tailgating and several years later, went to a Jets game  the same day they were married.  So always choose your spot wisely when deciding where to set up to tailgate.  It may determine not just how big your tailgate can be, but the kinds of memories it will create. 

Jets Fans Pay Tribute to 9/11 Before Home Opener

Last night the Jets opened up their 2011 season with a win over the Dallas Cowboys.  In typical fashion, they come back from losing to pull it out for a W in the win column.  For some odd reason, they seem to play better when the game are close.  Knowing they are close to losing seems to light a fire under them that should have been there before the game.
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Maybe the fire was lit before the game.  Since last week.  When they went to Ground Zero, surprise the workers and other staff to see the site firsthand.  Sometimes one gets the biggest motivation from a bigger tragedy.  Playing for a city, families, and those who were lost can definitely motivate anyone to perform at their best.

Besides the game and the memorial before the game, fans showed respect their own way.  Flying American flags, wearing 9/11 remembrance gear, wearing anything to represent those social services who responded that fateful day, flying other flags, and anything else they could do to show their patriotism on a day remembered by all.  Many songs blared from Bruce Springsteen’s “Born In The USA” to “Empire State Of Mind” by Jay Z.  No matter where you went, fans showed pride in their own way.
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Last year, many found their new places to set up camp.  I would go back to each section from game to game and they would be there every time.  This year, not the same story.  Some did not bother to come back.  I was informed by some that other did not opt to come back this season.  They either sold their tickets or are having friends or family continue payments of their PSL.  The reason, the lockout left a bad taste for some.  For others, not having those who attended games with them in the past was not worth it.  Tailgating group The Jet Pack who had been going strong since 1968, with over 150 season ticket holders is now down to four.
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I did find several Jets faithful I have been to before.  The L7 crew who were founded on Twitter.  Frank “The Flagman” Conway.  Dave and the L5 group who party from before the game until after the game.  Caesar and what is left of the Jet Pack.  Not too many else this game.  I was more concerned about getting peoples memories, stories, feelings about 9/11.  Where they were 10 years ago and their experience as well as how they felt now.  Everyone has their own story but they are have the same nucleus.  The documentary seemed to fall second.
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I talked to regular civilians as well as military personnel.  Some were willing to talk openly and freely about heir experience and memories.  Others, not as much.  Certain New Jersey State Troopers, US Military, and NY Firefighters did not want to share anything on camera.   To them, it is a painful memory they do not want to reflect back on or share.  Like soldiers coming back from war, it is too painful to talk about.  Just something to remain in the archives of their memories.

As I wandered the lots seeking stories to be heard, many seemed to have interest in those who talked.  They would gather and listen in, even if they did not know the person.  People thought what I was doing was a great idea and appreciated me taking the time to film them giving their story.  After I talked to those in the military I thanked each one of them individually.  After all, they all deserve our thank you.  Many thanked them by feeding them at their tailgate, opening up their grills and providing whatever they could.
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The stories I filmed speak for themselves.  There is no summary I could write that would do them justice.  No article could ever capture the emotion of words spoken directly from voices of those telling them.  Sometimes I think I was not supposed to be at the game yesterday to continue with my documentary.  On a day where many voices were silenced, I was supposed to give some voices a chance to be heard.

The 2011 Jets home opener will remain with many.  Not just because the Jets and Cowboys gridiron battle, because we all came together for another reason.  A reason bigger than football and ourselves.  To remember and pay tribute to those fallen and those who still fight for our freedom.  A day where many “J E T S JETS JETS JETS” chants were replaced by “USA”.

I would like to talk more about the tailgating, the long lines to get into the parking, and much more.  That would just take away from the day it really was.  A day of remembrance.  I hope you take the words you are about to listen to to heart.  Keep them with you as you would any special you watched this past weekend.  As the Jets fought to secure their first win, we remember those who fought to save the lives of others on 9/11 & to those whose lives were extinguished.