Some of Big Blue’s greatest legends have come to fame not in the stadium, but in the parking lot. These are the ultimate fans’ fans; tailgating greats who started out with a lone hibachi and a boombox in the Fassel days and went on to run the best Giants’ tailgate parties MetLife Stadium has to offer. If you’re heading out to the game this Sunday, make sure to say a little prayer for the injured 13 and to make your way to the grills of these tailgating masters.
Big Blue Tailgate
It’s hard to figure out what’s bigger, John’s RV or his smile. His group of 25-35 year-old tailgaters party hard and have been doing it for a long time. If you can’t bring yourself to leave the lot for the stadium, John’s 80-inch projector screen will have the game on from start to finish. His unending playlist of every kind of music you can think of features Giants-themed songs all day long, but always stokes up to ACDC’s “Hell’s Bells ”right before kickoff.
John’s not shy about sharing his recipes either, but if you don’t have 12 hours to smoke pulled pork with homemade barbecue sauce on your own, you’re in for a unique treat. Another fan fave is John’s mad-cheesy buffalo chicken dip with chips. Everyone is welcome here including kids, as long as they abide by John’s cardinal tailgating rules – be neighborly, pass the ketchup, always have a good time and heckle respectfully. A $35 donation covers food and drink.
John Vingara, Joe Irovando and Greg Scharfstein
Big Blue BBQ
The second you step off the curb at J19, you’re family. John, Joe and Greg, along with a core group of diehard Giants fans, have been growing this party for over 10 years now, mostly through word of mouth. Around 200 people rock out on game day to a live DJ spinning top 40 hits all day long at this easy-going tailgate. The guys have got heated tents when the season goes from crisp to chilly, a private bathroom and satellite TV.
And despite their crazy love of Big Blue, these guys don’t really care who you root for. “Your team is your business,” says John, “Camaraderie and fun is what it’s all about. Bring your kids and get ready to have a good time.” A donation of $30 is requested to help offset the cost of food and each week’s menu is posted online. Their brisket and chicken chardonnay are to die for, just ask frequent guest Rodney Hampton.
South Jersey Wrecking Crew
Known as South Jersey’s (other) favorite son, Colin’s tailgate party attracts Giants fans from NYC, Pittsburgh, Philly and all four corners of the Garden State. He’s got two ovens and at least that many grills going all day, but a strict no-TV policy. “We’re too busy partying” he says. That doesn’t stop him from spinning rock ‘n roll from the ‘70s and ‘80s, so no worries about getting your pre-game music fix. Love lobster? Colin’s cooking up lobster tails as well as chicken wings and steaks for his core group of die-hard tailgaters for this Sunday’s game. This guy’s a great discount shopper; a $15-$20 donation covers it all.
Caterer Dan Marney keeps the party going all day with Sunday Ticket Satellite and great food like penne vodka, kielbasa and ribs. Dan’s BYOB party has about 100 people boogying from pre-game to post but he caters private tailgates, too. Both his party and yours will cost around $30 a head. Look for his big wedding-tent setup three hours before kickoff. And no worries about that chill in the air, Dan’s got heaters.
Check out Tailgate Fan to keep the party going at tailgatefan.cbslocal.com.
Corey Whelan is a freelance writer in New York. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.