"Jets fans are raucous and wild; they're passionate football fans who will cheer with all their hearts for good plays and players, but they will turn on those same heroes in a heartbeat if something goes awry. Gotta love that." The intensity Jets fans bring each week stems from "always feeling like the underdog in a stadium named for another team." This is also a "brutally honest" group, "almost always good-natured but willing to admit when their team is bad." But even the most die-hard fans have their limit "when the Jets are 3-9 going into the last few weeks of the season. Season-ticket holders stop coming, and then people who do show up have no respect for the game or the people around them." Some agree that the fans may be "a bit rowdy at times, but overall it's the best part of the stadium."
5 out of 10
FOOD & SOUVENIRS
Soda (20 oz.)
Beer (16 oz.)
Expected Meal Cost
"Concessions are less than ordinary," marked by "all the standard undercooked garbage that you can get at any facility." With a little searching you might find the "little-known meatball sub at an out-of-the-way specialty stand" that is "the best meal in the building." You'll also find kiosks offering Mrs. Field's cookies and Pizza Hut pizza, though "ridiculously overpriced." Should you take the advice of many and "eat at the tailgate", you may only need to locate "the great beer selection" on hand to get through four quarters.
4 out of 10
Assuming one can navigate the "confusing" roads, getting to New Jersey is no problem, but areas around the stadium become congested quickly." A "lack of entrances to the stadium" creates "immense bottlenecking," and the parking lot is so poorly organized it's ridiculous." That frustration likely has grown this season, as all non-season parking pass holders have been relegated to satellite lots and shuttle buses, a side effect of having 5,000 stadium spaces elminated to make way for a new shared stadium with the Giants, set to open in 2010. There isn't much relief to be found on mass transit, "which only offers shuttle bus service to and from the Port Authority bus terminal and can take forever when you want to leave." That might be a little faster than trying to escape in a car. "Huge traffic tie-ups, poor signage and drunken tailgaters careening around the parking lot make for hours of high-blood pressure with your foot bouncing on and off the brake." "It can take two hours after the game for traffic inside the lot to ease up," "however if you park on the outskirts of the lot and are willing to walk 10 minutes to get to the gates, that is not a bad alternative."
2 out of 10
Despite the fact that there "isn't really any regional cuisine," this is a "very underrated" scene. "You can have your typical burgers or dogs" and "a lot of high-quality Italian-style barbecue." Some "class it up," though, with everything from a "rib eye steak with roasted red pepper mayonnaise" to a "lobster boil" to "filet mignon" to "shrimp cocktail." Classy or classic, "the parking lot fills up early" with "plenty of tents" and "the smell of charcoal." "A lot of interesting vehicles" also make the rounds, be it "a renovated school bus" or an "extravagant RV." Considering "food selection in the stadium is poor and the prices high," "tailgating is a necessity," and an event in which the "friendly" participants willingly "throw a beer or burger your way if you are alone or with a date." Unfortunately, the Jets also are throwing something this season -- large groups of fans out of lots now dedicated to the construction of the new stadium. Remote lots a few miles away offer a place to park, but not a place to tailgate, as local police will frequently remind you. With the rush to leave the game creating a traffic "nightmare," "the post-game tailgate also is becoming a staple" for those lucky enough to have a prime spot.
"Sharing a stadium with a cross-town rival makes it really hard to have a home field advantage." "The fact that it is called Giants Stadium and they cover up the blue and red in the stadium with green banners makes a Jets fan feel like a second-class visitor at home." "The long lines to buy food or go to the bathroom" don't help ease the frustration. Nor does the "very cramped" room in front of each seat or "pretty terrible sightlines on the lower level." Though derided as "generic" by many, "the blandness of Giants Stadium may provide the only avenue for Jets fans to imbue the place with their character. "There are no cheerleaders, no mascots and no terrible songs at the wrong time; the fan-initiated interaction is unique." "The fans [and superfan Fireman Ed] even start their own 'J-E-T-S' cheer" at their own prompting." And it "can get very loud," an attribute some ascribe to the "compact" feel of the stadium. But without a home all their own, most Jets fans will find it hard to shake the feeling that attending a home game at Giants Stadium is "kind of like borrowing your uncle's car."
4 out of 10
"What neighborhood?" ask most. "It's reclaimed tidal marshland approximately 10 miles from midtown Manhattan." Aside from the horse track and basketball arena across the parking lot, "there are no real restaurants or entertainment facilities within two miles." And what's there is "a lot of chain restaurants," such as "Houlihan's or [TGI] Friday's." Sharing the area with "industrial plants, warehouses" and "gas refineries," Giants Stadium is in "a place where not even Mr. Rogers would want to be your neighbor".
2 out of 10
It's one thing to pay New York style prices and New York style traffic if you're getting high-end New York style service. When you're made to feel like a visitor in your own home (i.e. standard New York service) while still making the same sacrifices, you deserve better. A better team also would help, and owner Woody Johnson has at least tried. But in eschewing the opportunity to build their own stadium in decidedly unglamorous places such as Queens or New Jersey, the Jets have forced their fans to play the permanent guest. True, the new shared facility with the Giants won't be associated with a single team, but it won't provide the type of home these fans haven't had since leaving Shea Stadium in 1983, either. And these fans know it: "If you live in New Jersey, practice in New Jersey (as the Jets are scheduled to in 2008) and play in New Jersey, you better own up to it." As some have ominously hinted, "when it takes almost 10 hours to get to the stadium, watch the game, then return home, it makes me wonder if it's worth the trip."
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