SHEA STADIUM RAMPS

The on-ramp at Shea Stadium circa 2008, Photo: Stadiafile

Fans of the New York Mets exiting home games between the years 1964 and 2008 at Shea Stadium led a familiar march. Depending on the outcome of the game, fans would dejectedly shuffle or elatedly bounce down one of eight, 10-story-high circulation ramps. Open to the air on both sides, the exit ramps provided a panoramic view of Queens and Manhattan on one side, and the Piranesian stadium interior on the other. ‘Ramp’ often implies a certain amount of speed or efficiency but exiting a Met game at Shea Stadium was anything but. The pace at which one ambled down these concrete structures was so achingly slow that an unexpected architectural type was created: the forum. Because the Met-fan masses were virtually at a standstill for so long and in such close proximity, there was a natural tendency to exchange frustration or elation with your fellow fan trundling alongside or on the ramp thirty feet below. This impromptu forum was an unexpected and wonderful outcome of the flawed design of the entry/exit ramp at Shea Stadium.