Thoughts On The Dead

Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

When Giants Roamed The Earth

stadium giants

Anyone from the Tri-State Area (which comprises New York City, Northern New Jersey, and…Long Island? Yonkers?) will recognize the red and blue of Giants Stadium.

The Meadowlands (made up of Giants Stadium, Brendan Byrne Arena, and Meadowlands Racetrack) was built in the late 70’s and was a gravity well in the lives of anyone who lived around them for 25 years. From the highest point in my hometown (a decommissioned Nike missile base: try explaining that one to the young Enthusiasts), you could see the Stadium’s lights on a clear night.

Ground was broken in 1972 on this swampy estuary of the Hackensack River and, though Garcia was not involved, workers set an underground fire that, due to the moist dense undergrowth that accumulates in a swamp, is still burning to this day. This is a true fact.

An untrue fact is that Jimmy Hoffa is buried there, although the North end zone was always called the Hoffa side; you could arrange to meet friends using the labor leader’s supposed resting place as a landmark. (Besides the Mythbusters going and looking and not finding anything, the whole story makes no sense prima facie. Burying a corpse is something that calls for discretion, and neither the words “giant” nor “stadium” have anything to do with keeping it on the down-low.

The New York Football Giants played at Giants Stadium, obviously; so did the Jets and the Cosmos (when they existed) and the Generals of the USFL (when it existed) and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (when they were any good.) So did the Dead 14 times, and the World Cup, and the Stones, and the Pope, and Springsteen. Bruce closed it down, because Jersey.

It wasn’t rotting–the sumbitch was brutalist poured concrete: it would’ve stood forever–but it was built in that hideous in-between period of large-scale construction in America: utilitarian and stark, the only colors provided by the field and the people on it. Children who’ve grown up in the post-Camden Yards couldn’t believe how many decisions about aesthetics were answered either incorrectly or not at all. Everything–floors, walls, ceilings, staircases–was reinforced concrete the same greyish/brownish color as the urine of a person whose kidneys are shutting down.

At each corner of the structure was an enormous spiral ramp that, during half-time of a football game, filled up with guys from Jersey smoking menthols. It was, however, one of the easiest places on earth to strike up a conversation: make eye contact, look disappointed, and you’re off.

A new stadium was needed, though; they brought on the wrecking ball. The Brendan Byrne Arena became the Continental Airlines Arena, which became the Izod Center, but the Devils and Nets moved out, anyway.

The racetrack may or may not still be there.

1 Comment

  1. The racetrack is barely there. They still have the trotters, but gov. Christie really sold out the horseman for his friends in Atlantic City.

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