Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Prawn Sandwich Report: Slumming It In a RBA Skybox

How the Other Half Lives
Ever since I starting attending Red Bulls games regularly in 2007, I've only ever sat (or stood) in mid- to low-priced sections - first sweltering in 109 at Giants Stadium, then moving to "Boca 107" last year in the inaugural season of Red Bull Arena, before settling in the South Ward (132/133) in 2011. My only exposure to the corporate areas of Red Bull Arena came during the early stadium tour. The club seats and skyboxes all looked very impressive, but I didn't have a spare couple of thousand lying around to spend on it, and being among the hardcore supporters always seemed like a lot more fun anyway.

My Brother Sean Enjoys a Pint
This Saturday, thanks to Dasha Wellness, I was able to experience a Red Bull Arena skybox firsthand, after winning a Twitter giveaway of four free passes. Given the South Ward protest and the mind-melting heat, the timing could not have been better. After a few beers at Bello's in Newark, I set off with my brother, my son and his friend Alex to Harrison, grabbed our passes from Will Call and headed upstairs after being greeted at the VIP entrance. An elevator took us to the fourth floor, then we made our way past the bar and food area and onto our box.

Yes, Sushi
All I can say is that if you are ever given the opportunity to watch a game from up above in one of these skyboxes, jump at it. The food is plentiful and outstanding, from sushi to chicken to pasta to gourmet cheeses and desserts. The kids were each provided with popcorn and heaping helpings of candy, which they proceeded to scarf down. My brother and I both enjoyed multiple adult beverages. But what really stands out is the view of the pitch from up above the west side of the stadium. If the weather is too much to handle, you can hang out in air-conditioned comfort at bar stools next to the windows. Otherwise, you can choose to sit outside on padded seats. We did a little of each during the course of the game.

The Kids Goof Off Outside
After the match kicked off, some other "friends of Dasha" arrived and we all chatted about the game. A lively group of Rafa Márquez's friends occupied the box two doors down. From service to food to other amenities, the whole experience was top notch and a refreshing change of pace. If I ever win the lottery I'd happily drop several grand on a RBA skybox. Until then it's back to the cheap seats for me.

And no, they do not offer prawn sandwiches (sadly)!
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