Sure, sports obviously revolve around the action between the sidelines, the foul lines or whatever other narrow elongated marks delineate the field of play—but any fan will tell you that there's also something special in the seats, the sounds and even the smells of the hallowed buildings where those contests take place. New York City is second to none when it comes to past and present fields of dreams, and below you'll find a primer on its foremost arenas.
The Mets' state-of-the-art Flushing home has all the amenities you'd expect from a shiny new park: great sight lines, tasty food and open concourses, to name a few. And despite being a fledgling stadium, it remains rich in New York National League baseball history with touches from Ebbets Field, the Polo Grounds and Shea Stadium—not to mention the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, which honors the Hall of Famer and civil rights icon.
The second Yankee Stadium boasts much of what made the first special—including grand architecture and a healthy respect for the team's history. This one, though, is also equipped with restaurants to fit every taste, a huge high-definition video scoreboard and an on-site museum. It might not be The House That Ruth Built, but we have a feeling he'd like it.
Opened in 2005, Icahn Stadium is one of the most modern track-and-field arenas in the United States, with one of the fastest tracks, complete with a Mondo surface. It's hosted countless memorable performances, including Usain Bolt's then world-record 100-meter dash at the 2008 Reebok Grand Prix. Downing Stadium, the facility that formerly occupied this space, hosted the 1936 US Olympic Trials, where Jesse Owens qualified for the Berlin games.
Richmond County Bank Ballpark
What stadium has the best views in all of sports? The Staten Island Yankees' home has to rank near the top. Just a short walk from the Staten Island Ferry's St. George Terminal, the stadium sits feet from New York Harbor, and fans can see the Manhattan skyline from their seats. It's the perfect place to take in the efforts of future New York Yankees greats (some former Baby Bombers—including Chien-Ming Wang and Robinson Canó—are now big-league stars).
Brooklynites spent more than four decades without professional baseball after the beloved Dodgers left town, but the Cyclones arrived in 2001 along with one of the most charming ballparks in the game. Complete with neon-accented lights, views of the beach and the team's eponymous roller coaster nearby—and, lest we forget, the gentle sea breeze—fans will tell you it was worth the wait.
Madison Square Garden
From the 1970 NBA Finals, when Willis Reed limped onto the court and led the Knicks to victory, to the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals, when the Rangers finally ended a 54-year championship drought, MSG is full of happy memories for NYC fans. (And, sure, Michael Jordan and Reggie Miller might have had a few good games there, too.) It's also the site of college basketball's National Invitation Tournament, track and field's Millrose Games, the New York Liberty's WNBA home games and much more.
New Balance Track & Field Center at The Armory
This 60,000-square-foot Washington Heights arena—home to one of the world's fastest indoor tracks—hosts a jam-packed season. The venue welcomes approximately 400,000 athletes, coaches, parents and fans from 1,000 high schools and 36 states to more than 100 meets each year. Also on-site is the National Track & Field Hall of Fame—an inspiring, enlightening tribute to the sport's history. The hall features a theater and exhibits exploring everything from the athletes' diets to the sport's use of technology, in addition to a 40-foot-long glass Wall of Fame, on which inductees' names are etched.
MetLife Stadium is home to New York’s National Football League teams, the Jets and Giants. The venue also hosts concerts and other special events throughout the year.
Red Bull Arena
Opened in 2010 to rave reviews, Red Bull Arena is widely considered one of America's best soccer stadiums. All 25,000 seats have great views, and a partial roof protects fans from the elements.