|Location||126th St. & Roosevelt Ave.
Flushing, Queens, New York City, New York 11368
|Broke ground||November 13, 2006|
|Opened||March 29, 2009 (college game)
April 3, 2009 (exhibition game)
April 13, 2009 (regular season)
|Owner||Queens Ballpark Company, LLC.|
|Operator||New York Mets|
|Construction cost||$900 million
($989 million in 2014 dollars)
|Architect||Populous (formerly HOK Sport)
Jack L. Gordon Architects PC
|Structural engineer||WSP Cantor Seinuk|
|Services engineer||M-E Engineers, Inc.|
|General contractor||Hunt/Bovis Lend Lease Alliance II (a Joint Venture)|
|Main contractors||International Concrete Products|
45,000+ (including standing room)
|Record attendance||45,186 (July 16, 2013)|
|Public transit access||Mets – Willets Point (7 <7> trains)
Mets – Willets Point (LIRR Port Washington Branch)
|New York Mets (MLB) (2009–present)|
Citi Field is a stadium located in Flushing Meadows–Corona Park in the New York City borough of Queens. Completed in 2009, it is the home baseball park of Major League Baseball's New York Mets. Citi Field was built as a replacement for the adjacent Shea Stadium, which opened in 1964 next to the site of the 1964–1965 World's Fair. Citi Field was designed by Populous (formerly HOK Sport), and is named after Citigroup, a New York financial services company which purchased the naming rights. The $850 million baseball park was funded by the sale of New York City municipal bonds which are to be repaid by the Mets plus interest. The payments will offset property taxes for the lifetime of the park.
The first game at Citi Field was on March 29, 2009, with a college baseball game between St. John's and Georgetown. The Mets played their first two games at the ballpark on April 3 and April 4, 2009 against the Boston Red Sox as charity exhibition games. The first regular season home game was played on April 13, 2009, against the San Diego Padres. Citi Field hosted the 2013 Major League Baseball All-Star Game. This marked the second time the Mets have hosted the game, the first being 1964, the inaugural season of Shea Stadium.
- 1 History
- 2 Features
- 3 Public opinion
- 4 Access and transportation
- 5 Naming rights
- 6 Citi Field Firsts
- 7 Stadium comparison
- 8 Other events
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Since the 1990s, the Mets had been looking to replace Shea Stadium. It had originally been built as a multi-purpose stadium in 1964. While it had been retrofitted for baseball after the NFL's New York Jets left for Giants Stadium after the 1983 season, it was still not optimized for baseball, with seating located farther away from the playing field compared to other major league ballparks. The team unveiled a preliminary model of the ballpark in 1998; it featured a retractable roof and a movable grass field, which would have allowed it to host events including conventions and college basketball. The Mets also considered moving to Mitchel Field or Belmont Park in Nassau County, Long Island; Sunnyside Yard in Queens, or the West Side Yard in Manhattan.
In December 2001, shortly before leaving office, New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani announced "tentative agreements" for both the Mets and New York Yankees to build new stadiums. Of the $1.6 billion sought for the stadiums, city and state taxpayers would pick up half the tab for construction, $800 million, along with $390 million on extra transportation. The plan also said that the teams would be allowed to keep all parking revenues, which state officials had already said they wanted to keep to compensate the state for building new garages for the teams. The teams would keep 96% of ticket revenues and 100% of all other revenues, not pay sales tax or property tax on the stadium, and would get low-cost electricity from New York state. Business officials criticized the plan as giving too much money to successful teams with little reason to move to a different city.
Michael Bloomberg, who succeeded Giuliani as mayor, exercised the escape clause in the agreements to back out of both deals, saying that the city could not afford to build new stadiums for the Mets and Yankees. Bloomberg said that unbeknownst to him, Giuliani had inserted a clause in this deal which loosened the teams' leases with the city and would allow the Mets and Yankees to leave the city on 60 days' notice to find a new home elsewhere if the city backed out of the agreement. At the time, Bloomberg said that publicly funded stadiums were a poor investment. Under Bloomberg, the New York City government would only offer public financing for infrastructure improvements; the teams would have to pay for the stadiums themselves. Bloomberg called the former mayor's agreements "corporate welfare." Giuliani had already been instrumental in the construction of taxpayer-funded minor league baseball facilities MCU Park for the Mets' minor league Brooklyn Cyclones and Richmond County Bank Ballpark for the Staten Island Yankees.
The final plans for what is now Citi Field were created as part of the New York City 2012 Olympic bid. After plans for a West Side Stadium fell through, New York looked for an alternate stadium to host the opening and closing ceremonies and track and field. The Olympic Stadium project on the West Side was estimated to cost $2.2 billion, with $300 million provided by New York City and an additional $300 million from New York State. If New York had won the bid, Citi Field would have been expanded to Olympic events while the Mets would have played at Yankee Stadium in The Bronx for the 2012 season.
The projected cost of the new ballpark and other infrastructure improvements is $610 million, with the Mets picking up $420 million of that amount. The agreement includes a 40-year lease that will keep the Mets in New York until 2049. The Mets own the stadium through a wholly owned subsidiary, Queens Ballpark Company.
On March 18, 2006, the New York Mets unveiled the official model for the new ballpark. By July 2006, initial construction of the new park was underway in the parking lot beyond Shea Stadium's left-field, with a projected finish ahead of Opening Day 2009 in late March.
By April 13, 2008, all of the structure for the Jackie Robinson Rotunda was in place with the arched windows receiving their paneling and glass. By September 2008, most of the Citi Field signage had been installed. By December 1, 2008, all of the seats and the playing field had been installed.
During the 2010 offseason, the bullpen area in right-center field underwent a complete renovation. When the edifice opened in time for the start of the 2009 MLB season, the Mets' bullpen was in front of the visiting bullpen, leading to an obstructed view of the field from the visiting bullpen, which the San Diego Padres complained about during the Mets' first regular-season home series. The bullpens were turned 90 degrees, with pitchers throwing toward the field instead of parallel to it. More Mets team colors, player banners and logos were also added throughout the ballpark, including revamping the "Let's Go Mets" slogan on the Citi Vision board so that the word "Mets" appears in its traditional script instead of the same font as the rest of the slogan. Additionally, the height of the home run boundary line directly in front of the Home Run Apple in center field was reduced from 16 feet (4.9 m) to 8 feet (2.4 m) in an attempt to produce more home runs.
During its first three seasons, the large field dimensions caused Citi Field to play as an extreme "pitcher's park", and home-runs at the stadium were among the fewest in the Major Leagues. Mets' general manager Sandy Alderson changed Citi Field's dimensions in time for the 2012 MLB season in order to make it more friendly to hitters. Changes include building an 8 feet (2.4 m) wall in front of the high 16 feet (4.9 m) wall in left field that many had dubbed the "Great Wall of Flushing", removing the nook in the "Mo's Zone" in right field, and reducing the distance in right center field from 415 feet (126 m) from home plate to 390 feet (120 m). The new walls are colored blue in order to address fan complaints that the old black walls with orange trims did not reflect the colors of the Mets. The Mets have also created a new seating section located in between the old and new left field walls called the Party City Deck and can accommodate 102 additional fans.
Citi Field has a capacity of 41,922. It has over 15,000 fewer seats than Shea Stadium. All the seats in the park are green – in an homage to the Polo Grounds, longtime home of the baseball Giants and the original home of the Mets – as opposed to Shea's orange, blue, red and green assortment. The exterior facade is reminiscent of Ebbets Field (which was long sought by Mets owner Fred Wilpon, a Brooklyn native).
Citi Field's interior design is primarily influenced by PNC Park, which was the favorite ballpark of Mets COO Jeff Wilpon. Other influences include Great American Ball Park, Coors Field and Citizens Bank Park. Shea Stadium was the only ballpark in the Major Leagues to feature orange foul poles instead of the standard yellow, a unique characteristic that made its way into Citi Field.
Citi Field features an overarching bridge motif in its architecture, as New York City is linked by 2,027 bridges and is reflected in the Mets logo, as the team is the symbolic bridge to the city's past National League teams, the Giants and the Dodgers. In the outfield section of the ballpark, there is a pedestrian bridge named Shea Bridge which resembles the Hell Gate Bridge.
Similar to Shea Stadium, Citi Field's field dimensions make it a pitcher friendly park. The Pepsi Porch hangs over the field in right field, extending far beyond the indentation of the Modell's Clubhouse and is inspired by Tiger Stadium's right field porch. The Pepsi sign is modeled after the one alongside the East River in Gantry Plaza State Park.
In 2012 The Mets added the Party City Party Deck in Left Field. They made this because they moved the fences in 2012. The Party Deck is very similar to The Royals Pepsi Party Porch.
Delta Air Lines signed a multiyear deal on September 15, 2008, to sponsor an exclusive section in Citi Field. The Delta Sky360 Club is a 22,500-square-foot (2,090 m2) restaurant-cafe-bar-lounge complex that also houses 1,600 premium seats behind home plate stretching from dugout to dugout.
Jackie Robinson Rotunda
The front entrance of Citi Field features a rotunda named after Brooklyn Dodgers legend Jackie Robinson and honors his life and accomplishments. Engraved into the rotunda’s 160-foot-diameter (49 m) floor and etched into the archways are words and larger-than-life images that defined Robinson’s nine values: Courage, Excellence, Persistence, Justice, Teamwork, Commitment, Citizenship, Determination and Integrity.
Robinson’s famous quote: “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives,” is engraved into the upper ring of the rotunda. There is also an 8-foot (2.4 m) sculpture of Robinson's number 42. The formal dedication of the Jackie Robinson Rotunda was held as part of Major League Baseball's official celebration of Jackie Robinson Day on April 15, 2009.
Home Run Apples
Another tradition from Shea Stadium making an appearance in Citi Field is the Home Run Apple. When a Mets player hits a home run, the giant apple, which has a Mets logo on the front that lights up, rises from its housing in the center field batter's eye. The new apple that has been constructed for Citi Field is more than four times the size of the previous one and was designed by Minneapolis-based engineering firm Uni-Systems. Shea's original apple was located inside Citi Field's bullpen entrance gate for the 2009 season. In 2010, the Shea apple was relocated outside the ballpark at Mets Plaza, in between the Jackie Robinson Rotunda and the entrance to the Mets–Willets Point subway station.
Amenities and facilities
Behind the center field scoreboard is the FanFest area, an expanded family entertainment area that includes a miniature wiffleball field replica of Citi Field called Mr. Met's Kiddie Field, a batting cage, a dunk tank, video game kiosks and other attractions.
Citi Field offers a wide choice of eateries. Taste of the City is a food court located in the center field section of the ballpark. It features food from restaurateur Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group and includes a variety of stands, including Shake Shack (burgers, fries, shakes), Blue Smoke (barbecue), El Verano Taqueria (Mexican cuisine), Catch of the Day (featuring seafood from chef Dave Pasternack of Esca) and Box Frites (Belgian French fries). The World's Fare Market is located on the field level in right field and features sushi from Daruma of Tokyo, sandwiches and pastries from Mama's of Corona, Chinese cuisine from Tai Pan Bakery and Korean food from Café Hanover. Citi Field also offers a choice of fresh fruit at several stands around the stadium. In 2010 Citi Field upgraded the food choices on the Promenade Level behind home plate. Blue Smoke BBQ and Box Frites both open a second location.
Restaurants and clubs are also available in every level of the ballpark. The 350-seat Acela Club, located in left field on the Excelsior Level, is the dining highlight of the new park and features a full view of the playing field as well as food from Drew Nieporent's Myriad Restaurant Group, renowned for Nobu and Tribeca Grill. Admission into the high-end luxury Acela and Delta clubs, and including the other semi-luxury clubs are exclusive to high-end ticket holders only, and some restaurants enforce that reservations be made. A McFadden's Restaurant and Saloon opened at Citi Field in 2010. It is located directly under the 2K Sports FanFest and is open to the public year-round.
Mets Hall of Fame & Museum
The Mets Hall of Fame & Museum is located adjacent to the Jackie Robinson Rotunda on the first base side and opened on April 5, 2010. The museum includes plaques honoring the inductees of the New York Mets Hall of Fame, the team's World Series trophies from 1969 and 1986, as well as artifacts on loan from noted collectors, former players and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. The museum boasts several displays including autographed memorabilia, original scouting reports on players such as Darryl Strawberry, and handwritten notes from the team's first manager Casey Stengel. In addition to this the team has installed interactive touchscreens that guide visitors through various aspects of the franchise's 50-year history, and there are television screens and timelines that help weave all the disparate elements into a cohesive narrative.
Overall, reviews of Citi Field from fans and press have mostly been positive. Business Insider praised the stadium for its aesthetics and named it one of the top 100 venues in sports, while BaseballParks.com called it "perfect" and especially lauded the Jackie Robinson Rotunda. Many fans have also praised the many culinary offerings at Citi Field's concession stands.
Despite the modern amenities, Citi Field has not been without criticism. Most notable have been fan complaints of obstructed views, as well as Mets fans' outrage at overemphasis on the celebration of the Brooklyn Dodgers' legacy over the history of the Mets. Mets owner Fred Wilpon, a Brooklyn native, had grown up a Brooklyn Dodgers fan and admitted to going overboard; Jeffrey Toobin wrote in The New Yorker,
|“||When Citi Field opened, the Brooklyn focus drew some criticism. After all, the Dodgers left Brooklyn in 1957, and Ebbets Field was demolished shortly thereafter. Only the very oldest fans have any first-hand memory of the place. The Mets, who had been in existence for almost a half century, were virtually ignored in their own home. 'All the Dodger stuff—that was an error of judgment on my part,' Wilpon told me.||”|
In response to these criticisms, the team installed photographic imagery of famous players and historic moments in Mets history on the Field and Promenade levels as well as the display of team championship banners on the left-field wall during the 2009 season. They also constructed a Mets Hall of Fame and Museum prior to the 2010 season, located adjacent to the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, and changed the color of the outfield wall from black to Mets blue prior to the 2012 season, which many Mets fans had campaigned for. The team also worked on fixing the obstructed views in the Promenade level.
During its first three seasons in existence, Citi Field was known to play as a "pitcher's park", and has been cited as the cause of the decreased offensive production of David Wright and Jason Bay. Wright hit only 10 home runs in 2009 after hitting at least 30 in the previous two seasons, while Bay had the worst offensive production of his career in his first season with the Mets in 2010, only hitting 6 home runs, 47 RBIs, and OBP of just .347, and a slugging percentage of a career low .402. Jeff Francoeur, who played with the Mets during their first two years at Citi Field, criticized the ballpark's dimensions, calling it "a damn joke." During the 2011 season, Citi Field allowed 1.33 home runs per game, the third lowest total out of the 16 National League ballparks. The team responded by altering the ballpark dimensions for the 2012 season, creating a more neutral ballpark. Wright's 2012 offensive numbers have improved due to the alterations. “It’s a huge difference,’’ Wright said. “It allows you to relax and know you don’t have to try to hit the ball a mile to see results. And at the same time, if you do hit the ball well and you see results, instead of a 400-foot flyout, you’re 1-for-1 and feeling good about yourself."
Access and transportation
Citi Field is located in the borough of Queens, adjacent to the neighborhoods of Corona, which lies to its west, and Willets Point and Flushing to the east. Flushing Bay is to the north, and the rest of Flushing Meadows–Corona Park is to the south. Because it lies within the Flushing postal zone, and because of its location in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, its location is frequently referred to as Flushing, even though it is not located in the actual neighborhood of Flushing.[clarification needed]
Citi Field is reachable via mass transit systems such as the New York City Subway via the 7 train at the Mets – Willets Point station, and the Long Island Rail Road station on the Port Washington Branch also called Mets – Willets Point. New York Water Taxi operates a free ferry to the stadium from Pier 11/Wall Street and the East 34th Street Ferry Landing before every game. For selected games, SeaStreak provides ferry service between Highlands, New Jersey and the stadium. Both ferry services use the slips at the World's Fair Marina, located approximately a quarter of a mile north of Citi Field. The park is also close to several major thoroughfares, including the Grand Central Parkway, the Whitestone/Van Wyck Expressway, the Long Island Expressway, Roosevelt Avenue and Northern Boulevard.
Since the construction of Citi Field began, satellite parking lots in Flushing Meadow Park (access from College Point Boulevard) have been opened.
On November 13, 2006, it was officially announced that the ballpark would be called Citi Field, named for Citigroup Inc. Citigroup will be paying $20 million a year for the naming rights to the park over the next 20 years. This made Citi Field the second major league sports venue in the area named for a corporate sponsor, (after Continental Airlines Arena (now Izod Center), but preceding Prudential Center, MetLife Stadium, Red Bull Arena and Barclays Center, officially becoming the first in New York City itself, aside from two minor league ballparks (MCU Park in Brooklyn, and Richmond County Bank Ballpark in Staten Island). The deal includes an option on both sides to extend the contract to 40 years, and is the most expensive sports-stadium naming rights agreement ever, subsequently equaled by MetLife Stadium's $400 million deal.
At the groundbreaking for Citi Field, it was announced that the main entrance, modeled on the one in Brooklyn's old Ebbets Field, will be called the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, possibly due to campaigns to forgo naming rights revenue and name the ballpark after Robinson. The Mets are spending more than $600 million for the new ballpark, which New York City and New York state are also supporting with a total of $165 million for such costs as infrastructure and site preparation. On February 24, 2008, the Mets and Citigroup unveiled the new Citi Field logo.
Both Citigroup and the Mets maintain that the naming rights deal is secure, despite Citigroup's economic troubles. This deal has been criticized in light of the late-2000s financial crisis and the $45 billion of taxpayer funds allocated to Citigroup by the U.S. federal government in two separate rescue packages, prompting New York City Council members Vincent Ignizio and James Oddo to suggest that the new ballpark be called "Citi/Taxpayer Field."  Radio talk show host Brian Lehrer suggested the name "Debits Field" which combines baseball history with public outrage over the Citi bailout. Congressman Elijah Cummings of Maryland, who serves on the United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, stated in regards to the Citi Field naming rights deal, "This type of spending is indefensible and unacceptable to Citigroup's new partner and largest investor: the American taxpayer.... I strongly urge Citigroup to find a way out of this contract and instead spend that $400 million on retaining its employees and restoring confidence in its operations." On January 29, 2009, congressmen Dennis Kucinich of Ohio and Ted Poe of Texas sent a letter to United States Secretary of the Treasury Timothy F. Geithner urging him to scrap Citigroup's $400 million naming rights deal. "We request that you intervene and demand that Citigroup dissolve the agreement they have with the New York Mets," reads the letter. "Absent this outcome, we feel strongly that you should compel Citigroup to return immediately all federal monies received to date, as well as cancel all loan guarantees." However, Geithner rejected congressional demands to cancel the naming rights deal.
The Wall Street Journal reported on February 3, 2009, that Citigroup considered breaking the naming rights deal. Citi has stated that no government TARP funds would be used in the sponsorship deal.
The naming rights controversy reemerged when details about owner Fred Wilpon's involvement in Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme came to light when a lawsuit was filed on behalf of victims of Madoff's investment scandal in 2011.
Citi Field Firsts
April 13, 2009
|Score||San Diego Padres 6, New York Mets 5|
|Ceremonial First Pitch||Tom Seaver to Mike Piazza|
|First Pitch||Mike Pelfrey|
|First Batter||Jody Gerut (Padres) *|
|First Strikeout||Nick Hundley (Padres) looking off of Mike Pelfrey|
|First Win||Edward Mujica (Padres)|
|First Save||Heath Bell (Padres)|
|First Loss||Brian Stokes|
* Home run hit in first at bat. MLB Regular Season records only.
|First Game||March 29, 2009||Georgetown Hoyas 6, St. John's Red Storm 4|
|Ceremonial First Pitch||March 29, 2009||John Franco|
|First Hit||March 29, 2009||Tom Elliott (Georgetown)|
|First Home Run||March 29, 2009||Sean Lamont (Georgetown)|
|First Grand Slam||April 27, 2009||Omir Santos|
|First Inside the Park Home Run||August 23, 2009||Ángel Pagán|
|First No Hitter||June 1, 2012||Johan Santana|
|Stadium Name||Shea Stadium||Citi Field|
|Opening Day||April 17, 1964||April 13, 2009|
|Capacity||57,405||41,922 (45,000 with standing room)|
|Seat width||19" to 20", 19" average||19" to 24", 21" average|
|Legroom||32"||33" to 39"|
|Average concourse width||21 ft (6.4 m).||43 ft (13 m).|
|Restaurants (total capacity)||2 (528)||4 (3,334)|
|Team store||2,600 sq ft (240 m2).||7,201 sq ft (669.0 m2).|
|No. of toilets||568||646|
|Seats per toilet||101||70|
|Public elevators||4 (Otis Traction)||11 (9 Otis Gen2, and 2 Otis Hydraulic)|
|Field dimensions (feet)||Left field line – 338
Left field 1 – 358
Left Field 2 – 371
Left center – 396
Center field – 410
Right center – 396
Right field 2 – 371
Right field 1 – 358
Right field line – 338
|Left field line – 335
Left field (2009–2011) – 371
Left Field – 358
Left center (2009–2011) – 384
Left center – 385
Center field – 408
Right center (2009–2011) – 415
Right center – 390
Right field (2009–2011) – 378
Right field – 375
Right field line – 330
Paul McCartney performed a series of three sold-out concerts at Citi Field on July 17, 18 and 21, 2009 as a part of his Summer Live '09 tour, along with The Script. McCartney, as a member of The Beatles, performed in the first concert at Shea Stadium during their 1965 U.S. Tour and The Beatles' 1966 U.S. tour as well as in its final concert in 2008 along with Billy Joel, who came out on McCartney's first night for the Beatles' classic, "I Saw Her Standing There." McCartney's opening show would later be released as Good Evening New York City.
On June 7, 2011, Citi Field hosted its first soccer game. The game was a friendly match between the national teams of Ecuador and Greece, who played to a 1–1 tie, before a crowd of 39,656. The success of the game has led the Mets to consider having Citi Field host future soccer games as well as the NHL Winter Classic. Citi Field hosted another soccer match on July 26, 2011, between the Italian team Juventus F.C. and the Mexican Club América as part of the 2011 World Football Challenge. Juventus won the match 1–0, before a crowd of 20,859.
The inaugural Metropolitan Lacrosse Classic, only the second time a major-league baseball stadium has staged college lacrosse, according to the Mets. In 1971, Navy played Johns Hopkins at the Houston Astrodome. Holy Cross plays Navy at noon on Sunday, March 17, 2013, followed by Colgate-Michigan at 3 p.m. Holy Cross defeated Navy 7–5 and Colgate defeated Michigan 10–7, before a crowd of 15,656.
Citi Field soccer matches
|Date||Winning Team||Result||Losing Team||Tournament||Spectators|
|June 7, 2011||Ecuador||1–1||Greece||Friendly||39,656|
|July 26, 2011||Juventus||1–0||Club América||World Football Challenge||20,859|
|August 15, 2012||Ecuador||3–0||Chile||Friendly||31,901|
|June 2, 2013||Israel||2–0||Honduras||Friendly||26,170|
- Shea Stadium, the home of the Mets from 1964 to 2008
- Yankee Stadium, a baseball stadium in The Bronx for the New York Yankees, which opened in April 2009
- Prudential Center, an arena in Newark, New Jersey for the New Jersey Devils, which opened in October 2007
- Barclays Center, an arena in Brooklyn for the Brooklyn Nets and the future home (effective October 2015) of the New York Islanders, which opened in September 2012
- MetLife Stadium, a football stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey for the New York Giants and New York Jets, which opened in April 2010
- Red Bull Arena, a soccer stadium in Harrison, New Jersey for the New York Red Bulls, which opened in March 2010
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Citi Field.|
- Stadium site on Mets.com
- Citi Field Construction Photos—Webshots
- Citi Field Interior Construction Photos—Webshots
- Citi Field Construction Photos—StadiumPage.com
- Official New York Mets Website
- Citi Field Facts
- Mets Ballparks from Mets Media Guide
- Belson, Ken & Sandomir, Richard. "Mets' New Home Is the 'Anti-Shea'," The New York Times, March 5, 2009.
|Events and tenants|
|Home of the
New York Mets
2009 – present
|Host of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game