Shea Stadium’s Ghost in the Shadow of Citi Field

Shea Stadium’s Ghost in the Shadow of Citi Field

Shea Stadium was home to the New York Mets from 1964 to 2008.

Approaching Shea Stadium from the No. 7 Train

Located in Flushing, New York, adjacent to the former grounds of the 1964 Worlds Fair, Shea was the second of the so-called “cookie cutter,” multi purpose stadiums, following RFK stadium (formerly D.C. Stadium), which opened in 1961.

Shea Stadium Gate E Located Near Right Field

Stadium access by subway was behind the stadium via stairs to the Willets Point subway stop.

Shea Stadium Beyond Stairs To Willets Point Subway Station

The stadium facade was for the most part a series of walking ramps from the ground floor to the upper reaches of the stadium.

Shea Stadium Exterior

Out beyond center field was a large parking lot which, thankfully, was not visible from lower seating bowl.

Shea Stadium on a Beautiful Summer’s Afternoon

Prior to construction beginning on Citi Field, the area beyond center field seemed almost bucolic.

Shea Stadium Outfield Pre Citi Field Construction

Shea Stadium’s home run apple, which rose out of an upside down top hat, sat just beyond right-center field.

Shea Stadium’s Home Run Apple

The right-field scoreboard included a lighted-neon panoramic outline of the New York City skyline.

Shea Stadium Right Field Scoreboard

On a clear, summer afternoon, Shea Stadium was a great place to watch a ballgame.

Shea Stadium With Pedro Martinez on the Mound

The distance from home plate to dead center field was 410 feet, one of the longest in the majors.

Shea Stadium – the View from Center Field

The view from inside the stadium seating area changed dramatically when construction began on Citi Field.

Shea Stadium Right Field Scoreboard with Citi Field In Background

The juxtaposition of the two stadiums provided plenty of interesting camera angles for capturing the past and the future of baseball in Flushing, NY.

From 2006 until its closing in 2008, every visit to Shea Stadium was a reminder that the ballpark’s days were numbered.

Looking Through Shea Stadium Ramp toward Citi Field

It seemed a shame that the team couldn’t have found a way to incorporate part of the old stadium structure in the new ballpark.

Can’t We Both Just Get Along? Shea and Citi Field Side by Side

Still, Citi Field does pay homage to its predecessor in several ways. The former site of Shea Stadium is marked in parking lot B of Citi Field.

Shea Stadium Home Plate Marker

Arrive several hours before game time and you should have no problem running the bases of old Shea Stadium.

Shea Stadium Home Plate Marker Looking Toward PItchers Mound

In addition to home plate and the pitcher’s mound, each base is denoted with a bronze marker.  The figurine etched into the marker denotes the neon ballplayers that once graced the gate entrances of Shea Stadium.

Shea Stadium First Base Marker

The home run apple was moved from its former location beyond Shea Stadium’s right-center field to Citi Field’s front entrance just beyond the Willets Point subway stop.

Shea Stadium Home Run Apple Adorns Citi Field Parking Lot

The NYC Neon skyline was removed from the top of Shea Stadium’s right-field scoreboard and placed atop Citi Field’s Shake Shack located beyond center field.

NYC Skyline Removed From Shea’s Old Right Field Scoreboard

Also located beyond the outfield is the Shea bridge, a pedestrian walkway honoring William Shea.

Shea Bridge Relocated to Citi Field

A plaque on the side of the bridge pays homage to Mr. Shea, the namesake of the Mets’ former ballpark.

Plaque Attached to Shea Bridge at Citi Field

Although Shea Stadium has joined the ever-growing list of lost ballparks, its memory lives on at the Mets’ new home, Citi Field.  It’s ghost now sits in Citi Field’s shadow, more specifically, parking lot B.

Byron Bennett