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May 08, 2009

Yankee Stadium: A Bronx Place of Worship

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Photo: Hyla Bauer / Condé Nast Traveler

Whenever a new baseball stadium opens, the surrounding chatter quickly veers to restaurant review-land, with column inches and blog posts devoted to covering the $9 microbrews on tap and the $15 pad thai created, licensed, and trademarked by the hot new celebrity chef. 

That wasn't quite the case with the new Yankee Stadium, which attracted a depth of sports architectural coverage not seen since Michelangelo drew up plans for a jai alai court at St. Peter's.

This comparison to St. Peter's is no accident. In some parts, the Yankees are a religion. And the newly opened Yankee Stadium, as Condé Nast Traveler discovered during a confab at the stadium's Tommy Bahama Bar, is as much a house of worship--complete with all its saints (Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle) and artifacts (signed balls, battered bleacher seats) on display--as it is a ball field.

Religion aside, Yankee Stadium makes for a great day-trip.

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Photo: Hyla Bauer / Condé Nast Traveler
The saints:
Before games, fans can make a pilgrimage behind the fence in straightaway center field to Monument Park, with a collection of plaques and retired numbers honoring the Yankees greats. 

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Photo: Hyla Bauer / Condé Nast Traveler
Reliquary: Called a "museum inside a museum," the New York Yankees Museum houses hundreds of artifacts including signed baseballs, old stadium seats, even Thurman Munson's locker. Fans can visit the museum on game days or via a stadium tour.

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Photo: Hyla Bauer / Condé Nast Traveler
Holy object: A ball signed by Mickey Mantle.


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Photo: Hyla Bauer / Condé Nast Traveler
The pews:
What the believers worshipped in, circa 1946.

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Photo: Hyla Bauer / Condé Nast Traveler
Proselytizer No. 1: The New York Yankees Museum contains numerous artifacts owned, caught, or swatted by Babe Ruth. 

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