So today, I took the whole family out to see Shea Stadium one last time. I put up a pile of posts, which I will summarize here, or you can follow the proceedings starting from this link or from the set of links down below.
The oddest thing about visiting the decrepit skeletal remains of Shea today with my kids is that we actually had a good time. In fact, my oldest son asked if we could do this again sometime...before realizing that we can never do this again.
Sometime this week, the last bits of Shea Stadium come down. Now I feel like I made my peace with the old fella. When I walked out of Shea Stadium on September 28, 2008 for the last time with my dad, we were emotional. Choked up for Shea. Choked up for the Mets. Ready to choke that no-good choker Scott Schoenweis. It was not a pretty scene.
Today was more dignified. We chanted "Lets go Mets" in the bitter January cold with a couple hundred other knuckleheads. My kids stole junk from the construction site and now think they have pilfered valuable relics of Shea Stadium. And we had some nice Dad-son moments. Just like the moments I had with my dad and granddad at Shea over the years.
The best part may have been when we finished the long, cold wanderlust around CitiField and Shea. We ended up under the new subway ramp and suddenly found ourselves trapped. The area is a fenced-in construction site and the doors to the subway line were locked. A few other Dads were also stuck there with their little kids. Finally we did what any good Met fan would do - we tore down the flimsy fence between us and the Citi Field parking lot and walked out. My final act of vandalism on Shea Stadium property...or my first act of vandalism at Citi Field.
This little clip says it all for me. LONG LIVE SHEA STADIUM!
Here are links to all my posts from today's goodbye to Shea:
Ya know that last scene in "Titanic" after everyone's drowned and suddenly the old lady is walking through the ship again? Well, here is what the walk into Gate D of Shea Stadium looked like four months ago:
And here is what Gate D looks like today, January 31, 2009. That red escalator exposed to the elements is the escalator I am going up in that clip.
And so it came to pass, this is the final weekend in history that anything remotely resembling Shea Stadium will exist on the earth.
Since the last game, I have been mostly unable to look at any photos of Shea's decay. But today, I woke up and decided to take the kids out to the ballpark one last time. It was about 20 degrees out. With the wind chill, it felt more like 8. And with a nasty breeze off the water, it felt more like 15 below by Shea Stadium.
The kids were troopers (they really had no other choice...I wasn't leaving). We walked around Shea, then Citi Field and headed to a rally (kudos to Christopher Swann, who organized). I had read there might be an impromptu gathering today but a NY Times reporter clued me in on the official proceedings happening by Gate A. Here's a photo of Mr. Swann addressing the huddled masses:
When we arrived, Swann seemed to be catching some heat from folks still upset by Citi Field's existence. as if he has something to do with it. The crowd eventually grew more cordial and we sang "Meet the Mets" and gave off one final chant of "Lets go Mets." Then we all took a stroll around Shea one last time.
The site of Shea Stadium in this condition is not for the faint of heart. More than one fan walking around commented to me that it was like watching a family member die. I like the lighting in this photo...it's like Shea's soul is being released to the heavens (OK that's a little too much I admit but I was out in the tundra for 4 hours so cut me some slack): You can click on all these photos to see a larger image BTW.
After this weekend, the rest of the Shea exterior comes down. As of now, Gates A and E or gone anyway. I'll be posting some more photos later, when I can once again feel my hands.