The Morning After
Can we talk? About last night? Cool. I spent a good 12 hours in Harrison, Kearny and Newark yesterday for the Red Bull Arena opening extravaganza and it was truly eye-opening. If you weren't there you'll just have to take my word for it and not as a professional fan but just as a fan of RBNY, of MLS, of soccer in the states.
I've only been waiting on this stadium for 7 years so by no means am I the most long-suffering fan or long-suffering servant to the club out there. But 7 years is a long time to wait for your bad luck to go away, especially when that bad luck is a big, turfed stadium in the middle of a swamp without a rail connection. But yesterday's opening of Red Bull Arena was worth the wait.
No more buses. No more flattened Field Turf. No more excuses as to why knowledgeable New Yorkers and West Hudson (read: Newark, Kearny, Harrison, Hoboken & Jersey City) soccer fans won't come out. To see masses of people walking across the bridge from Newark, down Frank E. Rogers from Kearny & Harrison in all manner of kit was surreal, like witnessing a renaissance in an area that was once ruled by soccer.
And to see train after train of car-less fans cascade down the steps of the Path train station only 1.5 blocks away was to see a seemingly ancient promise fulfilled, an exorcism of the jaded feelings that have surrounded the team and this project for a full decade.
As for the building itself there is nothing I can say that hasn't already been said other than there is no way this building gets built without Red Bull; for all of the stick they have taken over the years for everything from the name to the play on the field to revolving coaches you can't deny that they have done something truly special in building this stadium.
Yesterday was amazing. Here's to hoping that yesterday's past is next Saturday's future.