- Brian Merzbach
Yanitelli Center – St. Peter's Peacocks
Photos Courtesy of St Peter's University
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 1.86
Yanitelli Center 2641 Kennedy Blvd. Jersey City, NJ 07306
Year Opened: 1975
Where’s the Peacock Pride?
The Yanitelli Center, home of the St. Peter’s Peacocks, is a no frills venue which is certainly not one of the better places to take in a game in the MAAC. Kind of like the city (Jersey City) in which it resides, the arena is a bit rough around the edges. While the Peacocks have had some recent success, most years they are the bottom feeders of the MAAC, which probably explains why little has been done to spruce up the Yanitelli Center.
The facility opened in 1975 at a cost of $6 million and also serves home to the university’s men’s and women’s volleyball, tennis, swimming, and diving teams. When men’s basketball games are played, collapsible bleachers are expanded to cover the gym’s three full courts to provide intimacy of 3,200 people.
The Peacocks have made three appearances in the NCAA tournament: 1991, 1995, and a second round appearance in 2011. The team has captured six regular season conference titles in 1967, 1968, 1969, 1982, 1984, and 1987. The program’s biggest success was in 2017 when it captured the Collegeinsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT) with a 62-61 victory of Texas A&M Corpus Christi 62-61 on a last second free throw by Trevis Wyche. It was the school’s first-ever national postseason tournament title of any kind.
Food & Beverage 1
A small concession stand is located in the hallway outside of the actual arena. It offers a very limited selection of items – pretzels, candy, and soda is about it. With the tiny crowds that the Peacocks draw, it is no wonder that they make little effort to offer much in the way of concessions. My suggestion would be to bring your own refreshments.
Crowds are not the biggest or most enthusiastic you’ll ever encounter. In down years, the opponent’s crowd can easily outnumber the Peacock fans in attendance. And there seems to be very few students who attend the games despite the Yanitelli Center being located on campus. I have seen bigger crowds in televised games when the team is better, but overall there just seems to be a general sense of apathy from both the students and community. The Peacocks do have a cheerleading squad, but they only performed a couple times and generally seemed disinterested, like most of the fans in attendance.
The arena itself consists of large bleacher sections on each side, but no seating on the ends and no chair back seating at all. Basic scoreboards are located on the walls on each end of the court. Because of how small it is, the Peacocks could have a good home court advantage if they ever could get more fans to come out to the games.
This is Jersey City – not exactly the safest place to be roaming around. The campus is located just off the center of the city in what appears to be a rather residential area. There doesn’t appear to be much in the way of restaurants or bars that are within walking distance. But Journal Square, which is the heart of Jersey City, is only about a mile away. Unless you are familiar with Jersey City or comfortable exploring, you are probably best to find some eats before you come into the city for the game.
There just doesn’t seem to be much interest from the students or the surrounding community in the Peacocks basketball team. I’m sure some of it has to do with the poor teams they have had, but it’s not like they are bad every year. As recently as 2011 they did make an NCAA tournament appearance.
If you are driving, you will most likely need a GPS or someone navigating you in order to make your way to the Yanitelli Center without any wrong turns. The campus is located on Kennedy Boulevard, which is a main drag through the downtown of Jersey City. The home of college hoops is located on the corner of Montgomery Street and Kennedy Blvd. There is a small parking garage directly adjacent to the gym which can be accessed off of Montgomery Street. The number of parking spots is limited, but with the small crowds it probably doesn’t fill up often. Because of its proximity to New York City, taking public transportation in is also an option.
Return on Investment 4
The Yanitelli Center doesn’t offer much in terms of comfort, so it is a good thing that you won’t have to spend much money to attend a game here. Parking is free and tickets are $10 for all seats (which are bleachers) and $5 for children 2-12, students w/ID, and seniors over 60. Certainly a reasonable price for MAAC level basketball.
There is nothing to speak of when it comes to extra features at the Yanitelli Center. Other than some banners on the walls at each end of the court, there isn’t much to celebrate the history of St. Peter’s basketball. There is really nothing too unique about the venue. Unless you have a rooting interest in one of the teams that is playing, I can’t really recommend it.