To get to MetLife Stadium I opted to take the NJ Lightrail from Newport to the Hoboken PATH station, where I switched trains to Secaucus, where I hopped on a shuttle train to the stadium which is the Meadowland Station. It sounds way more complicated that in was and it was only $6.10 one way. I bought roundtrip tickets, but they never checked the tickets on the way back. When in doubt about knowing where to go via public transit, ask people in the home team apparel, they’re always helpful. I must’ve asked five people during this trip just to make sure. It only took me an hour to get to the stadium (hypothetical 22-minute drive- but rush hour traffic?), but I was glad I left early as our train was detained about 15 minutes near the stadium due to other trains unloading.
Once off the train I walked around the stadium and checked out the tailgate scene. Well, the complete lack of a tailgate scene actually. There wasn’t much going on out in the parking lots and that wasn’t surprising to me as it was Thursday night and I’ve watched enough Yankees games over the years to see this fan base is fashionably late due to city traffic (well that’s what I assume). The back of the lots where the RVs were parked was a little more happenin’ and the G-Line was performing to a growing group of fans. I like that most of the teams have drum lines, they’re talented and it brings a small taste of college football to the pro level which I enjoy. If you can’t tell, I’m a huge college fan and have made (and will still make) comparisons between the two.
I made my way into the inner concourse and went to get a close-up view of the field. The hour before kickoff clock hadn’t even started and only the kickers from each team were out warming up. I noticed that the stadium was very symmetrical. It looked the same on both sides and end zones. Even looking up at the press box, it was a little unclear where it started and the suites ended. I had a feeling I would get turned around in here, and I did. After snapping a few pre-game pictures, I went up to the press box to look around and grab something to eat. It was a very nice press box and seemed lower to the field that the previous two I had been in. The only real lack in there is the lack of game environment, which totally makes sense as people are hard at work doing their jobs. I headed down to the 200 level concourse where I had thought I spied end zone standing room for the anthem and the start of the game.
Though I was having a good time with my new buddy, I had to keep moving to explore the rest of the stadium. I wished him well in his business and headed over to the little bar area I spotted under the suites along the Giants sideline. It was a Bud Light Zone and across the concourse, you could go into an actual Jameson whiskey bar, called The Bow Street. It was super cute, but you’d have to watch the game on TV, which in my humble opinion, defeats the point of going to the game in the first place. I opted for the Bud Light Zone instead and made my way behind the stands to watch the game with another new friend. This gentleman was a Giants season ticketholder for 52 years (well the tickets were in his family) and he had the most delightful Jersey accent. He actually lives in Rhode Island, which he’s the first person I’ve ever met from that state and drives in for the games. That’s dedication, but he’s “Hoboken-born and raised.” I liked his gruff mannerisms and he kept yelling, “Come on’ E!” with such familiarity and passion. The view from this area is very obstructed as the seats come up high and people stand to cheer, as they should. I’m lucky I’m tall and there weren’t people sitting directly in front of me or I wouldn’t have been able to see much.
Right before halftime I decided to head up to the 300 level and found you can stand in the alcoves and watch the game as long as you’re not in anyone’s way. During halftime they let you mill around on the little platform a bit more. For Spanish Heritage Month, the Giants had this amazing salsa group perform called Baila Conmigo. They were fantastic! Oh my goodness, if my legs could move half as fast as theirs, I would be happy. The guy next to me said I didn’t need to worry, as long I had a solid fist pump. How Jersey was that?! We talked for a little bit and I found out he’s a professional rap battler (think Eminem in 8 Mile). I met the most eclectic group of Giants fans during this game!
Once the second half started up, the ushers told us to find our seats and I walked through the concourse to a section near the 50-yard line, found an empty seat and watched the third quarter from there. The view of the field was nice and the stadium was still into the game at this point. The Giants had lost their last two late apparently, so no one feeling comfortable about the lead. The fans by me were vocal and jawing with one another a little. Again, I soaked in the Jersey accent, which is de-light-ful!
For the fourth quarter, I went down to the press box and had a great view of Redskins running back Matt Jones’ late fumble out of end zone. It’s ruled touchback and ouch, that had to suck. What a turn of events- you think you’re going to score and then boom! it’s the other team’s ball on their 20. Ball protection lesson learned the hard way. With the final five minutes left on the game clock and my phone charged sufficiently, I went back to my original spot behind the end zone. I thought the game would end quickly, but both teams decided to score a few touchdowns and there were many more penalties. It was a long final quarter, but I finally saw another home team win! I took my post game selfies and was sad about the harsh stadium lighting. Guinness needs to keep these gremlin photos of me to themselves!
Before embarking on my train ride back to Jersey City, I met up with Jana and she signed my witness log book. Though the stadium had cleared out significantly in the fourth quarter, the lines to shuttle were very long and it took about two hours to get back to Liz’s house. As we were leaving the stadium, I could see that car traffic wasn’t much better, as there were tailgate lights as far as I could see. Post-game traffic is just part of the experience!
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Special thank you to Jana for her time and assistance during my visit!