The best feature of any trip to the ballpark is still the game. Sit and watch, keep score, buy me (well, you) some peanuts and Cracker Jacks. But all that can be done in any baseball town. So whether you are just visiting the city or going for the first or thousandth time, here are seven uniquely New York ways to enhance your visit to the home of the New York Mets.
1. Ride the subway
Take the elevated 7 train darting through the diverse neighborhoods of Sunnyside, Woodside, Jackson Heights and Corona. Get a true sense of the city, watching the look and feel of Queens change with the eclectic mix of storefronts, restaurants, houses and side streets, along with the green expanse of Flushing Meadow Park and the impressive remnants of the structures from the 1964 World’s Fair.
2. Pose for a photo by the Apple
Much more than just a convenient landmark at which to meet your friends before the game, the Apple is linked to the magical memories of the franchise’s storied past. This one was the original, rising from the top hat after each Mets home run. Legend has it that if you get close enough on just the right day, you can hear the roar of the crowd from Shea Stadium, where this iconic part of franchise history made its original home.
Arrive before the crowds when the lines are shorter and the food in its best form. Anything and everything from grilled sausage to steak to sushi can be found around this smorgasbord of a stadium. Beyond the scoreboard in center field, behind home plate on the upper level or at any stand you find while walking about, there is an endless array of delights to satisfy every stomach. For a truly New York taste, the classic Nathan’s hot dog topped with freshly grilled pastrami is the way to go.
4. Stand, stretch and sing Lazy Mary
The festive, rollicking Italian tune has been a familiar staple at Mets games for three decades, played during the 7th Inning Stretch, right after Take Me Out to the Ball Game. Sure, nobody knows all the words but they’ll do a great job pretending. As will you, especially if the home team is leading.
Know before you go: here’s a playlist of some signature Citi Field tunes.
5. Hang out with Mr. Met
In a sophisticated city such as this, things like mascots for professional teams don’t have quite the cachet they do in other parts of the country. But somehow the guy with the giant baseball for a head is endearing and lovable. You are never too old for a high five or to snap a pic, both of which will leave you walking on air.
6. Pregame meal, postgame dessert
Stop pretending you can’t – or won’t – eat that much and figure out a way to include a visit to one or both of these incredible New York City gems, hidden in the shadows of the stadium. Leo’s Latticini, more affectionately known as Mama’s of Corona (46-02 104th Street; 7 train to 103rd), serves some ridiculously great sandwiches and some off the charts mozzarella. They do have a stand at the game which is nice but if you are able to, get to the primary location. Look, just go. It’s that good. But go early, they close at 4 p.m.
And then when your sweet tooth wants to be sated before heading home to bed, The Lemon Ice King of Corona (52-02, 108th Street; 7 train to 111th Street) has the best ices money can buy. With actual pieces of fruit in the dozens of flavors, and a consistent taste out of this world, you will be delighted to now be in the know. Promise.