I’d have to say that in my opinion New Haven seems better than Hartford in some ways, but not all.
All the pits are inside (we were out in the tent. that is a story in its self. please dont remind me how it snowed and then then melted leaving our pit in standing water and our robot eventually getting soaked.). They are a good size and set up well for the most part. I found the pits at the very ends to be a bit confusing (was there actually a walk way that connected the rows?!?) There is also a lot of seating all the way around the field. You can see most if not all of the actions no matter where you sit. Last year i felt the outer seats provided a poor visibility of the field. The food is better than what i remember, though whenever i eat anything i always manage to say “this better be the best thing i ever ate.” I felt robbed, but I understand that’s the way it is at these events.
$2.50 - Large Soda
$2.50 - Slice of Cheese pizza
$3.00 - Small cup of ice creame
$3.00 - Hot Dog
I wouldn’t rate the food as excellent, but it was a big improvement over what I had to eat in Long Island.
My big con issue that I’m really dissappointed with was the wheel chair access. Hartford was a breeze because we got one of the press boxes that was level with that mid section walk. However, in New Haven it’s a different story.
Now without naming names…
We managed to get some people there early to get seats down at the floor level, but the team behind us relentlessly encroached on the space we tried to reserve until it got to the point where there was only enough room for about a quarter of our team. We had a couple adult members talk to adult members of the encroaching team, but they seemed unwilling to cooperate. So what happened? Our team relocated up a level. We went from being ground level where our handicapped members could easily be a part of the team to where they would only be able to stop and pause a moment to say hello before they were shoo’ed off. We were facing the red side of the field. Where did our handicapped members have to go? No where near the rest of our team. They had to sit a field lengths away opposite our origional spot up a level and almost behind the black back curtain. There was alot of bitterness this morning.
Why did our team get split like that?
A) We lost the ground level seats we wanted for good reason. Yeah it was a great spot to see the field and things like that, but that was not our reasoning for fighting for the seats. (normally most of us would not have minded moving, like yesterday. yesterday there weren’t want special needs people there so it didn’t matter having to move up a couple more steps on the stairs.)
B) They could not be in the aisles because the Colesium (or was it the FIRST) people said the rule was no people in the aisle and plus, the fire marshall would have come over and made them move because of fire safety reasons.
C) The Competition site had poor accomidations in my opinion for any Handicapped people. Our team or others.
We didn’t manage to get anywhere with the UTC people and since the handicapped members had not arrived yet at the time (though they did show up about an hour later) there was nothing that could be done (as i was told). Eventually one of the people just went home and the other one decided to grin and bear it.
I hope to avoid this in the future and I hope FIRST planners will take this into consideration for future events. There is technically only 1 row, the row at the very bottom (on the side by the main entrance) that a wheel chair could fit next to. Unfortunately the severly limited floor seats are too hot to handle :-/
One other Major Con: Parking for Oversized vehicles (Vans, Trucks w/trailers). The van we used to bring stuff up with today had to be parked a number of blocks down. There was no place remotely close to park. Thursday there was up until someone got on the grass and the cops went nuts (ruining it for today).
How does everyone feel about this venue?
Btw, I also enjoy New Haven because it is much closer to home for me (Maybe 30 minutes on Rte 34.)