Review by Mike
MCU Park (Keyspan Park when I was there) is the home of the Brooklyn Cyclones of High-A East. The Cyclones are the High-A affiliate of the New York Mets. Much hoopla surrounded the opening of MCU Park, most of it to do with the return of baseball to Brooklyn, former home of the Dodgers. While Class A ball may not quite be the National League, it does seem right to have baseball played in this borough of New York and the Mets could not have picked a better location for their farm team than Coney Island.
The stadium is set right by the boardwalk, just a few blocks from Astroland and the legendary roller coaster that gives the team its name (you can see it over the left field fence in these photos). The original Nathans is also just two blocks away. The entire atmosphere surrounding a game at MCU is like no other. We spent the day at Coney Island, visiting the aquarium, riding the Cyclone, eating hot dogs, and then strolling down the boardwalk to the stadium.
The park itself is a thing of beauty. In this era of cookie cutter minor league parks, the builders of MCU have managed to create something unique. The concourse is wide open, allowing the sea breezes to pass thru unhindered. The concession stands are just that, stand-alone structures like you'd find on the boardwalk, rather than windows in a larger stadium structure. The luxury boxes stand behind home plate on stilts, like many seaside homes, adding to the open feeling.
The stands down the lines are partially covered by zig-zag roofs done in the style of the World's Fair Grounds, near Citi Field, where the big brother Mets play. It is very 1960s and very cool. The colorful neon lighting under the luxury boxes, the neon on the scoreboard and around the light towers, and the colorful exterior are all reminiscent of an arcade. Not a video game dungeon, but an old style arcade where lights and attractions would entertain visitors to Coney Island. It's retro and modern at the same time. The old Parachute Drop, freshly painted, stands beyond the right field corner and is a striking visual presence.
Some have complained that this park isn't easy to get to, but if it's hard for you to get to then it wasn't built for you. It is for the people of Brooklyn, to whom subways and buses are a way of life. And these people, as fans, are everything they are cracked up to be. They were into the game, they were loud, they were rude in a jolly way, and they were fun. The only thing that could have made it even better is if the concourse had been made of wood, like the boardwalk. If there is a finer new minor league ballpark with a better, livelier atmosphere than the home of the Cyclones, I would like to see it.
"I also give MCU Park 5 NATHANS Hot Dogs! The energy of the fans, the great variety of local food choices (tasty rice bowls, knishes and Nathan’s Original Dogs), the nearby amusements and beach front make this one of the best ballparks in the country!”
Gary could not let a trip to Coney Island pass without a ride on the Cyclone. He can be seen here, demonstrating his trademark stoicism and bravado.