Shea Stadium – Tourist Attractions in Queens, New York City
Queens Shea Stadium
William A. Shea Municipal Stadium, usually shortened to Shea Stadium, is an American baseball stadium in Flushing, New York. It is the longtime home of the New York Mets Major League Baseball club, and one of the oldest ballparks in the National League. The stadium is slated to be replaced in 2009 by Citi Field, which is currently under construction.
The New York Mets’ inaugural season was played in the Polo Grounds, with original plans calling for them to move to a new stadium in 1963; however construction was delayed, and they played at the Polo Grounds a second season.
It was originally to be called “Flushing Meadows Stadium” – similar to the name of the public park south of Shea – but a movement was launched to name it in honor of William A. Shea, the man who brought National League baseball back to New York. (Earlier, New York City official Robert Moses tried to interest Brooklyn Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley in this site as the location for a new Dodger stadium, but O’Malley refused, claiming that if the Dodgers played anywhere but Brooklyn, they would cease to be the Brooklyn Dodgers.) After 29 months and $28.5 million, Shea Stadium opened on April 17, 1964.
Shea is a circular stadium, with the grandstand forming a perfect circle around the field and ending a short distance beyond the foul lines. The remainder of the perimeter is mostly empty space beyond the outfield fences. This space is occupied by the bullpens, scoreboards, and a section of bleachers beyond the left field fence. Shea can be converted into a football stadium using two motor-operated stands that move on underground tracks. This has not been done since the New York Jets football team moved to Giants Stadium in 1984. After the Jets left, Shea Stadium’s exterior was painted blue, and neon signs of baseball player silhouettes were added.
The original plan called for the stadium to be expanded by extending the grandstand and then building a dome over the stadium. This idea was dropped after studies concluded that the stadium’s structure would be unable to support the weight of the dome. The stadium would seat around 90,000 if it were completely enclosed.
The stadium is one of the loudest in the Major Leagues, thanks to the airliners that fly overhead on approach to and departure from nearby LaGuardia Airport.
Shea Stadium, 123-01 Roosevelt Ave, Flushing, NY 11368
#7 train to Shea Stadium / Willets Point. 25 minute walk through park to Boathouse. E, F, V, G, & R trains to 71st Avenue, then take Q65A bus.