Located on the banks of the Hudson and Harlem Rivers and within Columbia University’s 27-acre Baker Athletic Complex, Robert K. Kraft Field at Lawrence A. Wien Stadium (pronounced WEEN) is the cornerstone of an impressive collection of facilities for Columbia Football.
One of the most modern football stadiums on the East Coast featuring beautiful views of the Hudson River and fall foliage from Inwood Hill Park, Robert K. Kraft Field at Lawrence A. Wien Stadium was described by Sports Illustrated as “one of the most beautiful places in the country to watch a football game.”
In its fourth decade as the official Lions’ Den, Robert K. Kraft Field at Lawrence A. Wien Stadium seats 17,000 and is home to Columbia’s football and women’s lacrosse teams. The stadium, which opened in 1984, also boasts a 400-meter outdoor track and is utilized by Columbia’s other outdoor varsity sports. It is the largest multi-purpose stadium on the island of Manhattan and the only regulation-sized football stadium with a capacity of 10,000 or more in Manhattan.
A brand-new FieldTurf artificial playing surface was installed at Wien Stadium during the summer of 2015. The Lions practice and compete on FieldTurf, the same infill system used by many NFL teams. FieldTurf was first installed at the stadium in 2005 replacing AstroTurf.
In October 2007, Columbia announced that the playing field at Lawrence A. Wien Stadium would be named Robert K. Kraft Field in honor of Robert Kraft ’63CC, owner of the New England Patriots and Chairman and CEO of the Kraft Group.
In addition to providing a modern facility for Columbia’s student-athletes, Lawrence A. Wien Stadium acts as a modern athletics arena in a traditional setting which provides for the needs of fans, alumni and the media. The Columbia press box, located on the east side of the field, stands at the top of a three-level structure that also houses the Maniatty-Remer Lounge, home to numerous alumni gatherings. The Maniatty-Remmer Lounge was remodeled prior to the 2015 season. The East stands below the press and lounge areas, hold 10,500 spectators in armchair, contour and bench seats. In 1986, the construction of the 6,500-seat west bleachers increased stadium capacity to the current 17,000.
Over the years, Lawrence A. Wien Stadium has been the site of numerous football television broadcasts by various networks including ESPN, NBC Sports Network, Fox College, CBS Sports Network, Ivy League Digital Network, Public Broadcasting System, Yes Network and OneWorld Sports.
Beyond the west stands is a panoramic view of Spuyten Duyvil and Inwood Hill Park, the confluence of the Hudson and Harlem rivers, the apartment skyscrapers of Riverdale and the New Jersey Palisades. The view is one reason that Wien Stadium was featured in Sports Illustrated as one of the “most beautiful places in the country” to watch a football game.
Dressing facilities for teams, coaches and officials are located within Chrystie Field House, while the coaches’ offices, team meeting rooms, conference rooms and fully equipped training facility are located at the Campbell Sports Center, which opened in January 2013.
Wien Stadium also boasts a 400-meter, all-weather, eight-lane track, making it the finest track & field facilities in the New York City area. Since its installation, it has been the site for the New York Track & Field Games, the Heptagonal Championships and the Metropolitan Championships. At the north end, the stadium also features a video scoreboard which was installed in 2009, one of the first of its kind in the Ivy League.
The stadium was originally named for Lawrence A. Wien, ‘25CC, ’28LAW, a former Columbia trustee, prominent philanthropist, lawyer and entrepreneur, who donated $3 million to the project before his passing in 1988. Subsequent gifts from Wien paid for the west stands, the 3,500-seat Columbia Soccer Stadium, and the Mae Wien Center for Women’s Athletics.
The original Baker Field was purchased for the university by financier George H. Baker for $700,000 on December 31, 1921. It was dedicated the following April, but it was not until 1923 that the Columbia football team began playing there. A 32,000-seat wooden stadium was built on the site in 1928; this was in use until 1982, when it was demolished to make room for the current Wien Stadium.
LAWRENCE A. WIEN STADIUM FACTS
|First Game:||September 22, 1984|
|Former Name:||Baker Field (1923-82)|
|Location:||West 218thStreet at Park Terrace West|
|Neighborhood:||Inwood, Manhattan, New York City|
|Original Cost:||$7 million|