Officials flush away problems of NMS

Members of the New York Giants take part

Members of the New York Giants take part in practice at New Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Aug. 8, 2011) (Credit: Getty)

New Meadowlands Stadium opened last year to mixed reviews from football fans, from its drab decor to more practical concerns, including overcrowding everywhere from restrooms to escalators.

There is only so much stadium officials can do about the former, given the complexity of juggling the Jets-Giants color wars.

But Season Two began Sunday night with changes that should come as, um, reliefs to fans.

Most prominent among them is a nearly 50 percent rise in the number of men's room urinals, primarily on the upper 300 level, where long halftime lines were a persistent problem in 2010.

Stadium CEO Mark Lamping said the restrooms were so large there was room to build a small wall in the middle of each with urinals affixed to each side to increase capacity.

Another complaint last year was backups on escalators that made it difficult to exit quickly. Lamping said permanent signage will direct fans to underutilized stairwells, which should help.

Fans also will be permitted to walk around the north end of the stadium, which was closed to pedestrians last season to keep them away from the service entrance.

Finally, there were problems on inclement game days in the upper level concourses in each end zone, which are uncovered. Rain forced fans to congregate closer to midfield to seek shelter.

Lamping said covers for those areas will be constructed this fall, with the goal of having them in place by early October.

The other big change, which likely will be announced this week, is a new name. After going without a naming rights sponsor last year, the current generic name will be changed to MetLife Stadium.

Lamping would not comment on that subject, but he did say business has been good beyond the two NFL teams that call the building home -- and co-own it.

Among the events that drew big events in the offseason were two international soccer games and three concerts, including one by U2 in July that drew the largest crowd in the stadium's history: 89,500.

There were far fewer people on hand Sunday night. But the men's rooms were ready for anything.

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