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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. 

NY Jets Tailgating Creates Friends & Memories

I have talked before how there are a lot of new faces in the Jets parking lot during tailgating.  There are also fewer recognizable faces from years past.  Not only that I see, but others see less and less of their friends who did not get a PSL.  As the Jets organization pressed hard for the PSL’s, many long time ticket holders felt pushed away by the organization.  While others, felt they had no choice if they wanted to continue to see their team live.  Everyone has a choice, no one can say they were pressured into buying a PSL.  The pressure comes from yourself, and maybe some friends who already made their decision.  Some do not do it for the game alone, but for the tailgating as well.  It has become such a ritual for some, their warm up to the game itself.

The more I walk around during tailgating, the more I see friends and family partying like it was a major holiday.  Everyone comes to the game with what they feel are the essentials.  The necessary items to make their pregame ritual the best it can be.  The long time Jet faithful feel that friends are the best for the games.  Who better to share it with than those who you have followed the team with since the Polo Grounds or Shea Stadium.  It is the continuing of these memories that makes the next one that much better.  You can consider your memories your own personal NFL Films that many have viewed but only your friends will remember the way you do.

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There are some necessities to tailgating.  A grill, burgers, beer, chips, and a spot to have it all in.  Some prefer to add a lot more to make it exciting for them and their friends.  You can add a tent, a 10×10 canopy, or for the major league tailgater, a camper.  One camper I walked around in cost the fan about $75,000 complete with Jets memorabilia, fridges, bed, flat screen, and everything else he feels is needed for a Jets tailgate.  Some are towing grills/smokers behind their vehicles.  Nothing says tailgating like burgers for 120 people.  Now, one can have Lobel’s of NY and Weber grills prepare it all for them.  Just sit back and fork over your cash.

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Other people feel there are other necessities to tailgating.  Some prefer to grill steaks, lobster, pork chops, crab legs, sausage, vodka chicken parmigiana, and other foods based on the Jets opponents.  For the Patriots, some had New England clam chowder, seafood jambalaya, mussels, and a Tom Brady jersey over open coals.  Now a couple of guys said a necessity was hot girls at a tailgate.  When one is young and drunk, one will say anything.  But everyone agreed you do need close and dear friends to make every tailgate that much better.  Now one group forgot their propane, but they did not forget their friends.  So it really does not matter how big of a set up you have or what you prepare, as long as you have friends around you to share in the festivities.

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The Jet Pack, founded by Robert Parin in 1967, was all about fun with friends before the game.  IN  years past, they always had each tailgate a themed one.  They would do a pig roast one game, seafood buffet another game, and other great themed tailgates.  They were even responsible for the Spark Plug Award.  At the final tailgate of each season, it would be given to who the fans thought the season’s MVP was.  The last one was handed out in 2008.  As the members of the Pack dwindled due to many not investing in a PSL, they stopped the award.  Last Sunday, only a handful out of the 70-80 that had accumulated over the years of the Jet Pack were back.  Robert and a few dedicated others only had two small grills going compared to mega set ups they had grown accustomed to.  The prices kept many away.  Now Robert and others sit farther away from where their seats had been previously.

It does not matter how much the Jets charge for PSL’s, tickets, parking, or overpriced food inside the stadium.  Fans will always set up in the parking lot like nomads in the desert, looking for a place to rest, eat, and celebrate before moving on to their final destination.  That is something the Jets can not take away from their fans, no matter how confusing or expensive they make their parking.  I guess that is why I enjoy walking around and talking to everyone there.  It is where Jets fans show their true self.  Not just inside being led by Fireman Ed, but outside getting ready for the battle yet to be witnessed.

The Jets seem to have a separation between themselves and their fans. Many fans I talk to feel the Jets really do not listen to them or care about them. I guess that is why I listen to the fans so much and want to get their message across. Maybe if the Jets had people in the parking lot talking to fans rather than having employees paint peoples faces for $10 they could get more in tun with their fans. If anything, I would like my documentary to let teams know what they could do to come down to their fans level. To really let your fans know that you care about more than their checkbooks.

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Jets Fans Celebrate Season Opener & Filming Continues

Yesterday was the inaugural game for the New York Jets in their new home, the New Meadowlands Stadium.  It was a Monday Night Football game that ended in a loss to the Baltimore Ravens 10-9.  But before the game even started, many fans were still getting acclimated not just to the new stadium, but to the parking and tailgating as well.  With it being a Monday night game starting at 7 PM, it did not leave much time for those coming right from work.  Some were able to get the day off while others battled traffic and the incoming elements to get there in one piece.

The start started off great, the sun was out and had a ride schedule to get myself & my friends Paul and Sixto who were helping me film into the stadium.  Since I did not invest in a PSL or non PSL seats, there was no way I could park at the Meadowlands.  Bruce Speight from the New York Jets mentioned he might be able to get me a parking pass for $25 but that never happened.  So Sal & Carmine who run one of the best tailgates was to be our ride into the parking area.  Sal & Carmine have been “base camp” while filming the past few years.  They have been great and so have the guys who party with them.  But since Sal was taking a different route, we had to meet him close to the stadium and they picked us up as we made our way over.

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Sal                                                                          Carmine

Just trying to find the right sport to enter the parking at the stadium was not too easy, for the first time.  A lot of people were waiting on long lines just to get into the parking section they wanted.  Depending on the lot you wanted to get into depending on how long of a line you waited in.  We were headed into Yellow Lot J and the line was not too long.  Some people got into the lot a little early and were asked to leave, then come back.  One of Carmine’s friends made it into the lot.  They asked him to leave around 1:52 PM and to come back in when it opened, 8 minutes later.  Crazy.  The thought they were making it easier for everyone to park but people just felt waiting on the lines were stupid.

After we got ourselves set up we decided to get a lay of the new land.  Felt weird walking across the parking lot where the old Giants Stadium stood.  Was a strange feeling not seeing it there.  I saw it come down for weeks in front of my eyes.  Just hard to stand on the exact site where it stood and knowing the parking structure was now sinking into the lot.  A huge stadium was there just a few months ago.  And now, just a basic parking lot.  The Green parking where the Club and Suite PSL holders park is the site of where the stadium once stood.  I am sure many others feel strange about parking and tailgating on the site of the old stadium.

It seems Weber Grills and Lobel’s of New York have teamed up to give fans an option in tailgating.  If there are fans who do not want to bring the grill, food, or even a cooler to the tailgate, Weber & Lobel’s will do it for them.  Yes, one can either rent the equipment & buy the raw ingredients or have them cook it for you there.  That is, if you do not mind paying $18 for a steak sandwich.  It was very pricey, once again it shows the clientele they are catering to at the new stadium.   They had all kinds of cuts of meat and chefs who were ready to prepare them all for you.  They will offer these services every Jets and Giants home game.  Keep in mind their stand is set up between Lots F & G of the Green parking.

From there were toured around the new lots.  Not too many people were there yet.  Was somewhat empty in many lots until people got out of work.  We did however come across some people partying it up and did not care who was around.  There was the 40 foot tall inflatable gorilla one fan had purchased off Ken Pikowski that wore his Jets shirt.  One tailgate had their own Revis Island complete with Revis and Ravens jerseys.  But everyone still had opinions on the PSL’s.  Everyone did not like the fact they were used but felt if they wanted to see their team live, in person,  they had no other choice.  Some were even proud to pay to them and said those who didn’t were f’n morons who were stupid not to since they did.

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Paul, Sixto, and I went all the away across to yellow Lot D by Route 120 to visit a guy who had a Jets hearse with a casket in back with a Ray Lewis jersey.  Another one not proud to pay for the PSL’s but felt the need to as he wanted to keep coming to the stadium to see the Jets.  Seems many who have the cheapest PSL’s thought they did the least of all the PSL evil’s.  Seems not many are proud they have them, but still feel fortunate to have kept their tickets.  A confusing situation to some.  The sky was looking very ominous.  The clouds were dark and looking like they were about to open up very soon.

As we were walking back over to Sal & Carmines, I managed to get some words with some Baltimore Ravens fans.  They had to endure PSL’s back in the late 1990′s.  They instituted them not too long after the Carolina Panthers brought them into the NFL.  Seems if you wanted seats 3 rows back from the 50 yard line all one had to pay was $3,000 for a PSL.  Higher up in the mezzanine it was $750 a seat.  Now this was over 11 years ago but still a bargain.  They said for the prices they were asking there was not much of a complaint by the fans.  Even the ticket prices were low.  But the Ravens fans did feel the Jets and Giants prices were too high and felt sorry for the New York fans.  Some ravens fans even sold their PSL’s making a profit.  One who had two $2,500 PSL’s sold them off for $8,000 a piece not long after they won the Super Bowl.

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The closer we got to Sal and Carmine’s the closer rain was coming.  We got pulled over to some Jets fans burning a Ravens hat on their grill.  Some Ravens fans came over and thought it was cruel.  Come on.  That is how fans are.  Well, maybe after a few beers.  Before the rain started to fall we got some footage of a band playing at one of the tailgates.  Seems every year some group has a band playing.  We managed to get all the gear away just before the clouds opened up on us.  Lightening was coming down pretty close by so we got out of there as fast as we could.  Tailgating was cut short by at least an hour and 20 minutes.

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As we were walking out to our car parked on the other side of route 3, the lines getting into the stadium were jammed.  Seemed no matter what road you came in on there were long lines backed up at different points.  Those who came from work or any time after 5 PM had to wait in long lines as the rain poured down.  It was coming down heavy at times and I Know it is not a good feeling coming to a game in the rain, stuck in traffic , and you think you will be parking far.  But I guess with the new parking some felt that no matter how long they waited, they would have a close enough spot.  Unless you had to park over by the Izod Center and had to walk all the way over to the stadium.  Guess everyone learned to get there early from now on and try to avoid the lines.

Now that I know the parking lot sections better it will make it easier to find people I would like to go back and interview.  Plus, I will be finding out from others their input for the season.  I want to see if by the end of the year if the Jets are not living up to expectation, how people feel about their PSL purchases.  Will they think they invested in a team that did not live up to their expectations.  Will they stand by a team that is all hype and no bite.  Only time will tell.  One game down and seven to go.  Still plenty of time for the Jets to turn it around and give their fans something to cheer about. Read more

Who Do Sports Writer’s, Blogs, & Reporters Actually Write For?

A few weeks ago I talked with Bruce Speight from the Jets organization.  I told him I was going to be filming during tailgating again this year.  New stadium, new parking, and many fans will have new or old faces at their tailgates.  He asked me to send him an e mail stating what I wanted to do and when.  So I did that.  I call him back last week to follow up on the e mail, I left a message.  I did the same thing this week.  He called me back on Thursday telling me he did not open the e mail so to let him know what was in it.  Bruce tells me to send him something and he does not even bother to read it.  I guess I am that insignificant to them.  If I paid them, then I would be on their radar.

Maybe it is because I do not have the money to film or I am not giving them any money to film.  Seems I am a fly speck to them, insignificant.  That what I am doing with my documentary about Jets fans does not matter to them.  When you underestimate someone you let your guard down and anything can happen.  Maybe if I was HBO, Fox, ABC, Paramount, MGM, or a film company that has major money behind them then maybe they would take me seriously.  But instead, I feel like I am treated like what I am doing for their fans does not matter.

Plus I am not a writer like Rich Cimini, Manish Mehta, Jane McManus or anyone else from a major news publication.  Not even one of the Jets blogs who report only on the team and team happenings.  Seems majority of the Jets fan blogs write only positive articles about players & events.  Have yet to find one that truly gives opinions, positive and negative.  But since I report to myself, do my own editing and reporting why would they take someone like me serious.  I report on what is actually going on, no sugar coating it.

I do not play up to the organization just to get on their good side.  Maybe if I did, they would appreciate what I did more like the other blogs who do the “rah rah” stuff for them.   Maybe a small mention or paragraph about things is done, but no editorial or opinion piece about it all. I know of a few that do write for the Post, Times, and other news sources that do report on everything, good and bad.  Like the obstructed view of seats in the new stadium, the way fans have been treated by the organizations, and how PSLs were priced too high.  But those writers are not beat writers who do not cover the teams on a daily basis.

Maybe the ones who do cover it daily have an editor or boss does not want to create waves in the organization so they can keep getting access to the locker room and field.  If one makes too many waves, then no more access to players, the team, the field, or anything else closed to the general public.  Not good business for that paper, network or website.  Seems the teams make the rules on what to report about in some cases like interviews.

I just feel a lot of Jets blogs just cover the field and players.  Some will cover charity events and other activities the players take part in.  They should cover everything Jets, even the stuff that is not good that affects what happens off the field.  Do not see too many blogs or Jets beat writers focus on the stadium issues too much, or the PSL and ticket sales.  Do their readers feel that is not newsworthy?  The beat writers have to always beat the other out on team information and work hard at what they do.  Maybe information on off the field events could help.  Some Jets blogs come down on you hard if you go against their opinion.  They think you are not really a Jets fan if you do not think things their way.  Would like to see more blogs focus on everything Jets, not just Hard Knocks, the games, and what a player is doing off the field.

The only ones I see writing opinion pieces or editorials are ones who do not follow the Jets or write about them on a daily basis.  The ones who are not sports writers for major news sources or Jets beat writers for the NY Post, NY Times, ESPN, and other major news sources.  I read a great piece by Tom Dowd on SiLive.com about the new stadium, Jets, and Giants.  It is article’s like this I wish more had the urge to write.  He gives his honest opinion about the new stadium and others in the New York area.  Other New York area reporters talked about the new stadium, but many focus more on the pros than the cons.  He is some of what Tom had to say:

“The transformation of the New York sporting experience — also known as the exile of thousands of life-long, die-hard fans — is almost complete.

In two weeks, the Giants and Jets will play their first regular-season games at their new, $1.6 billion palace in the swamps of Jersey. The Yankees and Mets are in year two of their Shake Shacked, Hard Rocked monuments to excess. The renovation that will radically recreate Madison Square Garden — and likely its already oppressive ticket prices as well — has already begun…”

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The Giants practice at the new Meaadowlands Stadium during a June minicamp.

“And legions of fans deciding that a giant hi-def flat screen is a better deal than the prices on their old season tickets that have rocketed into the stratosphere.

This won’t hurt any franchise’s bottom line. Most of the tickets will still sell to somebody, and at a higher price than before.

It’s the final triumph of the free market and the end of shame in sports ownership.

Owners and commissioners still love their little sound bites, claiming their concern for the fans, but they only manage to set new marks for disingenuousness.

It’s an amazing ability to tell a lie that you know nobody will believe anyway.

Maybe they did think about the fans, just a little bit, once upon a time. Maybe there was a line, off in the distance, and beyond it lay excess that just seemed over the top. But that’s over.

What changed it? Try the explosion of the secondary ticket market on the Internet in the last decade.

On StubHub and Ebay and Craigslist, tickets were everywhere. People bought them, at prices far above face value. Sports owners — and concert promoters — saw this, and got angry. Because this was their product, and they weren’t getting a cut.

Now they knew, or so they thought, how much people were really willing to pay.

But they overreached. They confused the one-game-at-a-time high end ticket buyer with the faithful, steady season ticket holder. So the new buildings went up with their exclusive sponsored clubs and walled off premium seating areas.

It’s all very impressive, as long as your primary reason for going to a game has nothing to do with actually watching the game. Or if you’ve been dreaming of a $15 pastrami sandwich washed down by some fine spirits at the wine bar.”

“How much does the best seat in sports cost? Just $700 a seat each game — plus the personal seat license — although the alleged value lies in getting up out of that seat to mill around at the edge of the field behind the Jets bench, where the view tends to be obscured by 40 or so very large men. You could also wander underneath the stands to get a drink at the bar, grab a few shrimp cocktails from the buffet or pose at the lectern where Rex Ryan will deliver his postgame press conference in a glass-walled media room.

It turned out to be a harder sell than expected. The Yankees ended up cutting the prices of their most expensive tickets behind the plate – all the way down to $1,600 for one seat to a game.

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The Jets made the halfway sensible move of selling upper deck season tickets without a PSL, then watched fans flee field level when they couldn’t afford their old tickets. They cut some of their mid-level PSLs and ticket prices in half, but less than a month before their Monday night opener against the Ravens on Sept. 13, the Jets were still cold-calling upper level season ticket holders asking them to upgrade to lower level seats with PSLs attached that hadn’t been sold yet.

And if you went on Ticketmaster.com this week, you would have found that the New York Giants, only one of the toughest tickets in sports for decades, had single game tickets still available.

Of course, they would cost you $725.

For that kind of cash, I’ve got my eye on a nice 50-inch plasma screen.”

I could be wrong in my assumption, but you can find any post or article on the internet these days.  What I see is what I find.  And what I see is just news reporting on trades, training camp, players, and anything else team related.  Not too much Jets organization related.  They do a great job telling these news sources what to report about.  Guess that is why my documentary will cover everything, nothing held back about the stadium, ticket sales, PSL’s, or even the fans.  Stuff covered slightly by sports press I will go into more detail about.  I am not the liberal media & will not write just to make everyone happy, I write on what everyone sees & knows no matter how honest it is.

If i had the money, I know I would have more footage and coverage from the Jets.  But since I don’t, I am on the outside looking in.  If I was a Jets beat reporter, I would have better news and access to stories to add to the documentary.  But once again, I am on the outside looking in.  I may not have the right degree or work history to land myself a career in the media or broadcasting field.  But that does not mean I am not dedicated to what I am doing to get myself there.  I did not write for years on small papers or stations, have the right internship, or know the right people to get me a foot in the door with any employer.  But I do have the persistence, intelligence, and a fast learner to possibly help me get a foot in somewhere.  Filming this documentary and writing for my website and others has taught me a lot.

I will have more a little later about the Jets offering upper deck seats on a game y game basis.  Once again, Woody Johnson takes two steps back.  He did say they would not offer seats on a game by game basis.  Then again, he could say he meant PSL seats, not non PSL seats.  When you are privately held company, you can say whatever you want, no stockholders to answer to.  In this case, you have the fans to answer to.

Meadowlands Stadium Parking Lot Above Old Giants Stadium Sinking

OK, take this information for what it is worth.  I received some information from a worker/driver at the new Meadowlands Stadium & old Giants Stadium site that the parking lot above the old site is sinking.  Apparently, the materials used were not enough and it is slowly sinking down.  There is a plan to excavate it and redo the entire site after the 2010 season.  This can not be good for both teams.  This will cost more money that I am sure both teams did not want to lay out.

According to reports on both ConstructionEquipmentGuide.com and Ehrbar Inc.’s Advantage Magazine, this is what Gramercey, the firm in charge of the excavation and new lot, had said about the construction of the new lot:

“Safety is our utmost priority, followed by getting the job done on time and on budget,” said Vincent Parziale, president and CEO of Gramercy. “We hired extra employees, and we’re working two eight-hour shifts to ensure we stay on schedule.”

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Gramercy Group expects to finish the more than $10 million project in early August, leaving an area for a future parking lot for the new stadium where the old stadium once stood. Underneath that parking area will be thousands of yards of concrete that Gramercy recycles on site as part of the demolition process.

“There will be a hole where the field was, and that has to be backfilled with about 210,000 yards of material,” Parziale pointed out. “Some of that material comes from excavation of the new stadium. As that took place, we processed the material, screened it and stockpiled it. Also, a portion of the backfill will come from about 40,000 yards of concrete that comes from recycling almost 100 percent of the old building.

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“In all, we’re moving about 75 truckloads of steel and 100 loads of concrete out of the stadium area per day,” he added. “The steel is taken off site for recycling. The concrete is recycled in a staging area just outside the stadium and will be brought back later and used for parking lot base.”

Apparently, that base is now sinking into the hole.  The new parking lot was finished under the deadline which was rapidly approaching.  If they worked past the deadline, Gramercy would had to have paid some money back.  But since they finished before the deadline, I believe that they would be paid more.  All in all, it is a project that has to be done over.  The job was rushed and many knew that it was.  They pushed hard to get it ready in time for the coming season.  What does this mean for fans going forward?  Will parking prices go up?  Will other prices or fees go up as well?

I was just told this information today and informed not too many have this information.  I do not think this is something the organizations felt would ever happen.  Let alone have to be done over.  Seems the cost for the new stadium is going up because of this error on Gramercy’s part.  Who knows if any monies will be due back.  A lot of questions remain as more on this story develops.  Will parking be limited in that area as well.

I do not think this will be kept quiet for long.  I am sure others do know about the parking lot and plan on writing about it.  I guess it depends on your sources.  I have talked to different workers from different areas of the demolition project for months.  From drivers, to electricians, to excavators, to security, to even those who were supervising the demolition process.  Every time one of them told me information passed to them from the organizations and supervisors, majority of the time it was true.  I know those who worked for Skanska signed forms to not talk to the press.  I guess that did not go for anyone else who worked there.  The parking lot sinking is a major issue and one that needs to be addressed immediately.

I hope this is not a cost the fans will be paying for over the years.  I can see parking being increased.  Ticket prices going up little by little.  Beer going to $10.  Any little thing to pass the cost along to the fans who have already paid enough for PSL’s and tickets.  I hope the fans do not have to pay anything more than they are paying now.  Would not be fair to them.  This was the Meadowlands Stadiums fault and they should be the ones to clean up their own mess.

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The Monday Night Infomercial

So the Jets lost the first official NFL game in the New Meadowlands Stadium by a score of 31-16. Albeit it was a preseason game, but it was the game for New York bragging rights.  The New York Jets did show some promise.  Mark Sanchez was 13 for 17 with an interception & touchdown early in the first quarter.  LT and Shonn Greene ran the ball well and had both speed and yardage to get into the end zone.  Running behind rookie fullback  “The Terminator” John Connor helped create extra running yards as he opened up the lane and created many key blocks.  Al in all the Jets showed promise in their first preseason game.  They were able to show they can transfer what they learned in training camp into an actual game.  Now they can take a step forward and improve for their next outing.

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I believe the game took second chair to what was truly on the main stage tonight, the new Meadowlands Stadium.  Tonight’s Monday Night Football game was the first time a Jets and Giants preseason game was held on a Monday night.  Let alone any preseason game on a Monday night.  The team owners and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell probably talked months ago about how a Monday Night Football game would really show the new stadium in a way that could not be shown on a Friday night or Saturday.  Figuring having it on prime-time on ESPN would really make the place stand out to those who were on the fence about a PSL.  The camera shots not on the game and sideline made it feel more like an infomercial for the new stadium than a football game.

Coming back from commercial they showed the bars on the mezzanine and lower levels.  The Clubs around the Coaches Club area.  The Green rooms where certain PSL holders get their free food.  The Luxury suites with leather chairs and fireplaces.  Coaches Club VIP areas behind the teams bench.  I think the only thing they did not show was how spacious the bathroom stalls are.  To me it felt like an infomercial about the new stadium.  A way to showcase it to millions watching at home as if to say “don’t you wish you paid your money to be here?”  Even the commentators were going on about the new stadiums amenities.  Did everyone forget there was a game going on?  Of course they didn’t.  They want fans to spend time out and about away from their seats in the other areas of the stadium.  They already got their money for the PSLs and tickets, now it is time to spend it in other parts of the new stadium.

There will be those who will disagree with me and say how sports is a luxury.  Say how that is how it is these days and if you do not have the money then you can not experience the way a game was meant to be seen.  There are two sets of fans now.  Those who have and those who had.  The ones who had wish they could still be there, but do not want a PSL or sit so far up.  Those who have are excited, able to watch their team in a state of the art stadium.  But will it be worth the price in a few years?  Many view the PSL as stock and what will that stocks price be worth if the Jets become the Jets of old?  If the Jets do not win the Super Bowl or make the playoffs, how much will those PSLs be worth?  Now it seems like a great investment to many and many will hold onto them for life.  But to others, the not so die hard fans who have been there for years, how long will they want them?

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Many were very excited to be there tonight, win or lose.  Able to gawk at the new concession stands, bars, and other areas to shake your wallet at.  But in the end, everyone is there for the game.  To see two football teams play on the field.  If you are there to watch the game at one of the bars, VIP lounges, or any other screen away from your seat, what was the purpose in buying your seat?  Just to say you have season tickets?

I wish the New York Jets well this season.  I hope they can provide that elusive Super Bowl win they have wanted to give their fans for decades.  But unless they sign Darelle Revis, what will those odds be?  ESPN played one hell of an infomercial tonight.  Woody Johnson must be proud of his new county club.  I am sure the Jets and Giants sales representatives will be by their phones tomorrow hoping tonight’s prime time sales pitch did its job.

New York Jets have sold 75% of PSLs, so ‘there’s no chance of a blackout’ for Gang Green opener

Courtesy NY Daily News & Manish Mehta

Don't worry New York Jets fans. Gang Green promises all PSLs will be sold, and the season opener on Sept. 13 won't be blacked out.

Willens/AP

Don’t worry New York Jets fans. Gang Green promises all PSLs will be sold, and the season opener on Sept. 13 won’t be blacked out.

The Jets’ decision to slash prices by up to 50% on 9,000 unsold personal seat licenses at the New Meadowlands Stadium last month has paid off. The team has sold 75% of those PSLs and remains confident the rest will be sold in time to avoid a blackout for the Monday night season opener against the Baltimore Ravens on Sept. 13.

“We’re 100% certain that we’re going to sell out by opening day,” Matt Higgins, executive vice president of business operations, told the Daily News Tuesday. “There’s no chance of a blackout.”

Three sections – the Lower End Zone (50 percent reduction), Mezzanine Endzone B (39 percent reduction) and Lower Sideline (33 percent reduction) – were affected by the reduction nearly six weeks ago.

The Jets will not make any further reduction in PSL prices to accelerate the approximately 2,300 remaining unsold seats. Higgins admitted that there will be some unsold club seats heading into the season, but they are excluded from the NFL’s blackout rules.

“Every hour the phone just keeps ringing with fans interested in purchasing tickets,” Higgins said. “There will be no need to adjust those prices any further. We expect a full sellout.”

The Jets also started calling fans on a waiting list for Upper Bowl seats since many ticket holders in the Upper Bowl upgraded to purchase the reduced PSL seats, Higgins said.

EMERALD RING
The Jets will unveil a Ring of Honor at the new stadium this season to celebrate the team’s all-time great players and coaches. The six-member first class that will be inducted at halftime of the first preseason game against the Giants on Aug. 16 is made up of Weeb Ewbank, Joe Namath, Curtis Martin, Don Maynard, Joe Klecko and Winston Hill.

JENKINS JOLTIN’
Kris Jenkins took a veiled shot at an anonymous former teammate when asked about replacing the void left by some veterans during an interview on the NFL Network Tuesday night.

“We have great guys who have come in to step up and fill in a void of some of the big losses that we have had this (offseason),” Jenkins said. “In some other cases, we’ve had some real men come in and step in for the women that we lost. So we’re going to be okay. Don’t worry about it.”

ON THE MARQUES
Unrestricted free agent defensive end Marques Douglas could re-sign with the Jets by the end of the week, according to a source. The 11-year veteran would help a defensive line lacking quality depth.

Undrafted free agent defensive tackle Martin Tevaseu, who was released by the Browns last month, was signed Tuesday.
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/jets/2010/07/20/2010-07-20_new_york_jets_have_sold_75_of_psls_so_theres_no_chance_of_a_blackout_for_gang_gr.html#ixzz0uk6NY6vC

Meadowlands Stadium: I Kept On Knocking & They Let Me In

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Yesterday was the day the New York Jets had their mini camp inside the new Meadowlands Stadium.  I had gotten my tickets last week after seeing Erik Manassy posted they were free through Ticket Master.  My friend Anthony Quintano was supposed to go but business meetings come first.  By the time I arrived around 10:30 AM the parking lot was filled as if today was the season opener.  So many people must have taken off from work just to see the Jets practice for two hours and get to be inside the new stadium.  Was packed with fans, more than the Giants had yesterday.

ES{N1050 had a booth and football throwing game there. You won an ESPN T shirt if you answering a Jets trivia question correctly. They had the kids inflatable play areas they usually have at all Jets events. Seemed some were also tailgating before going in.  Was a great day for it too.  Not too sunny and not too warm.

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As many know, I have been told i could no longer take pictures of the old stadium.  The Skanska supervisor said there were too many pictures on the internet.  I am sure the past few days were beyond their control and I do not think they said anything to anyone.  Especially not with the masses that showed up.  So I blended right in and took over 320 pictures today of the new stadium, old stadium, and practice.  Not like they could pick me out of the crowd.  Was an easy day to get the shots I needed from the inside of the new stadium.  I walked around and found some great areas to get some great overview shots.  No one said anything, what could they say?  The old stadium should be completely down in less than 2 weeks.  Then there is just the clean up of what has fallen.

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Everyone wanted to get the best seats along the 50 yard line.  There is even a big 50 right outside one entrance to let people know exactly where the 50 yard line is.  You can tell it is there for those who paid for the most expensive PSL’s.  I guarantee they will be able to park right across from it too.  So they can get in, get out, no F’n about.  They practiced from 11:30-1:30.  Seemed more like a PR session with sales reps all over the place.  They had tables outside the stadium inside the stadium, sales reps up and down the aisles, almost anywhere you walked. Now your standard PSL sales reps were in collared shirts, easy to spot.  The ones selling the luxury suites were in suits and ties.  I was walking next to a sales rep and someone looking into the luxury suites.  The luxury suite rep told the guy they would get the treatment Woody Johnson would get.  Must have to spend a lot of money to get that kind of treatment.

Outside the stadium and inside had sales reps scattered all over the place.  Standing by their table to answer questions and some even walking up and down the aisles.  I was sitting in one of the lower corner sections listening to one sales reps pitch.  He was giving prices and figures out left and right.  Talking about financing the PSLs, when ticket money is due, and everything else one would need to know about buying a PSL.  He even talked about getting tickets to other events.  Say for Bruce Springsteen.  You would be on a pre sale listbut not guaranteed to sit in your own seat.  Just the opportunity to get seats before going on sale to the general public.  The team only gets allotted a certain amount.  American Express card members also get the same option so holding a PSL for other events is not really a perk.

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This sales rep was doing what is known as the “hard sell”.  Trying to convince the buyer of everything they need to know, even saying you could finance the seats for less than a dollar a day.  Any objection the buyer had the sales rep had an answer for.  Even saying that although he works fo the Jets, he has purchased two PSLs.  Now I was in sales before.  I have said things that were not true just to get the sale.  How does the buyer know for sure this sales rep actually bought the PSLs or is saying it to help close the sale?  Once he and I started talking he was giving me the price points.  I told him do not even try to sell me.  It would not work.  You can not sell to a better salesman.  Once I explained my situation and he knew there was no sales opportunity, he walked away.  My friend Brian, who is a Jets sales rep, said he does not do the hard sell.  he only offers up the information and lets the buyer make their own decision.  He is just there to answer their questions and make the buying process easier.

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There was a moment where a female fan had fallen down the stairs. She had some bruises and cuts on her knees. They got her a chair and stadium personnel came over in about five minutes. An EMT came over and cleaned the woulds. It was good to see them react to a situation like this now rather than into the season. I am sure they have done tests and drills. But there is nothing like a real experience.

Sometimes you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.  Lowering the prices may have brought some fans back.  Many still have a bad taste in their mouth and are done, they will not continue on as a season ticket holder.  Myself and a few others know that even though PSL prices were reduced, they have to make that money back somehow.  You will see ticket prices g up over the next few years, parking prices, and whatever else they can do to make back that lost income.  Plus, by financing your PSL you are giving the team more money that one should.  It is better to pay in full that take the 5 or 15 year payment plans.  Do you want to pay more for your PSL than you really have to?  By financing it you will.

I am not out to see the Jets fail here, do not get me wrong.  I just want the organization to realize they should not paint their fans into a corner.  They have seen what they are capable of doing, not submitting to ultimatums.  The fans spoke in masses about the high prices and the Jets had no choice but to lower those prices.  When the fan base bands together than can be stronger than the organization.  They underestimated the market.  The Jets thought they were going to dictate what the market value was.  But the fans told them what the market value should be.  I hope they do sell them so no fans are forced to sit home and suffer though blackouts.  Even I would be pissed at that.  But they should never underestimate their fans again.  Even the ones who do not have the deep pockets.

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Fireman Ed Anzalone Lets His Hair Down & Talks His Passion

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Ed Anzalone.  Better know to football  and Jets fans as Fireman Ed.  Myself and Matt Nackson went to his house in Northern New Jersey.  Not going to say where he lives because he keeps a low profile in the area.  Ed was a great guy to sit down with from beginning to end.  Many fans have this preconceived perception of him being this crazy, unfriendly, rabid Jets fan who does whatever the Jets organization tells him to do.  I did not find that to be the case.  I went into this with no preconceived notions or thoughts.  I only met the man twice before so I could not have the opinions everyone else has about Ed.  He is just passionate about his team and it shows.

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Ed grew up a casual fan in Queens, NY before meeting his wife and moving out to NJ.  There was a misconception he grew up as a Miami Dolphins fan before becoming a Jets fan.  He was never really a big football fan.  He was seen in a picture as a kid wearing a Dolphins sweater a relative brought back from Florida for him.  Ed playing football in high school but was a casual fan of the NFL.  An old schoolmate saw the picture and that was how it got started.  It was not until his older brother brought him to his first game in 1976 at Shea Stadium which ignited the spark that set off the New York Jets explosion in his heart.  Since that game, he has not looked back at becoming a true fan of the New York Jets.

Ed goes into depth about the famed “Jets chant”.  Myself like many others knew it was not started by Ed and Ed talks about the chant’s originators.  The chant was started at Shea before it was brought to Giants Stadium, Ed calls it the Meadowlands not giving any mention of the other New York team who plays there.  It was brought to the stadium by an officer and fireman.  I did not write the names down since it is all on a memory card.  Can’t even say “I got it on tape” anymore when you use a digital camera.  There needs to be a new saying.  “I have it stored” could become, who knows.  Anyway, back to the chant.  Once it was brought over from Shea it was done in the Upper Tier.  One on each side, answering the other after they chanted.  My father and I were in Section 226, it was to our upper right.

After a while one of the guys did not make it to too many games and it died off.  Ed thought it should have been kept going.  Ed says it started with a few in the lower section and just grew and grew.  He would just stand on the edge railing in Section 134 to get more attention until he almost fell off one game.  His legs kept him hanging before his brother suggested he get on his shoulders.  From there it just grew and grew.  Ed credits Chris Berman for giving him the “Fireman” nickname.  Chris was thinking of what to call him when a clip of Ed was on his game reviews.  Since I can not review the footage in front of me, I believe Chris did not know he was a fireman.

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Fireman Ed  is just another fan like everyone else.  He is just a more well know fan.  It could have been someone else in any section that could have done it, Ed just was more passionate and kept the chant going.  Ed talks about his relationship with the Jets.  Ed paid for a PSL like everyone else.  He will be in the end zone once the 2010 season gets underway.  Players and others have given out jerseys, invites to luncheons, and other Jets events.  Some good perks when you can get 40,000-60,000 screaming Jets fans to get their team fired up.  I would take the same stuff in that position.  Ed has been generous and given merchandise that was given to him to sick children.  He has visited children at certain tailgates and away from the stadium.  He said he has given away more that he can remember.

Ed was also not a fan of PSL’s, who is?  He saw the change coming years ago when fan’s were already being distracted by othr “entertainment” around them at the Meadowlands.  People on cell phone’s, wanting to throw a beach ball, checking out girls, and other distractions that take their attention away from the game.  Now the distractions are everywhere you turn pretty much is what I think.  Even Ed, who can be nice and take pictures, just wants to watch the game too.  If the play is 4th & 1, 3rd and 1, do not ask for a pictures then.  As much as he wants to take that picture, he wants to see the green and white push forward and get that first down.  That can be where some do not like him, just asking at the wrong times.  If you are there to take a picture and can not wait until a timeout or intermission, you may not be there to see the game.  I do not even go to the bathroom until halftime.

Thee is more about his talk on the West Side Stadium, the player, the organization, his Jets memories, and more.  If I gave everything away now, there would  be no need to put it in the documentary.  I may tell some more down the line if I can get some footage of Fireman Ed at a Jets event.  Will be going down to Trenton next weekend for the next NJ Revolutions game.  They are facing the Harrisburg Stampede.  Part of the Harrisburg team is owned by the owners and creators of the league.  See if I can get a little face time with them. Will have more on the NJ Revolution soon. To find out more go to NJRevs.com.

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.