EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Prince Dankwa walked through the parking lot at the New Meadowlands Stadium holding hands with his 8-year-old son, David, about two hours before kickoff.
The 40-year-old Washingtonville, N.Y. man was clad in a green Jets' hat and shirt. His son wore a true-blue Eli Manning jersey.
In many ways the image was appropriate on a night the Jets and Giants played the first NFL football game at the $1.6 billion stadium that is co-owned by the NFL teams and is the most expensive stadium in the country.
Something else also was appropriate. The father and son had a difference of opinion about who was going to win the preseason contest.
"The Giants are going to win.," David Dankwa said. When asked if his father agreed, the boy looked at his father and smiled.
"I don't think so," he said.
While the game was a Jets home contest, there was a touch of blue in the 82,500 seats, many wearing the jerseys of their favorite Giants players, past and present.
The predominant color though was green, and some fans chanted "Super Bowl" walking into the stadium buoyed by the Jets' run to the AFC title game in Rex Ryan's first season as coach.
The only negative on the night was the intermittent rain that fell a couple of times in the two hours leading up to the kickoff and the fire alarm that sounded briefly in the press box in the first quarter.
John Acampora of Monroe Township, who has been coming to Jets games since the mid-1970s at Shea Stadium, including the past 10 years in a Jets' bus, laughed about the rain, one of the few days with rain in the area in recent weeks.
"We started the playoffs last year against Cincinnati and it was subzero temperatures," Acampora said. "We might as well open up with rain."
While most fans said the stadium was long overdue, some were still miffed about having to pay for personal seat licenses that were mandatory for renewing season tickets.
"We have been coming here a long time this is an event for us," said John Juliano of Brooklyn, who has been coming to Jets' games for 15 years. "We're big Jets supporters. We were coming anyway. The PSLs are a big issue for a lot of people. You are charging me for the right to the tickets I have been paying for all along. Thanks. It felt like we were getting squeezed a little bit."
What mattered to Juliano, though, was being around friends as he grilled some sausage. They got to the stadium at 3:05 p.m. for the kickoff some five hours later.
"It was easy getting in here," he said.
The Jets ran on the field at 7:55 p.m. accompanied by roman candles, smoke and flashes of fire from a chimney-type mechanism near the goal line that would have made the Wizard of Oz proud.
Fireman Ed made his first appearance with 3:07 left in the first quarter, leading a chorus of "J-E-T-S" after Brad Smith scored on a 4-yard pass.
Brian DiRossi, 30, of Ronkonkoma, was excited about the game.
"I would be happier if (Darrelle) Revis was here, but we'll see what happens," DiRossi said of the Jets holdout cornerback.
Juliano downplayed the absence.
"Come September that's when we start talking turkey," he said. "I would like them to get over that HBO drama with Revis and move on. I think we have a good club."
There was a lot of good-natured ribbing in the parking lot.
Wearing a hardhat with a Jets' decal, Rosie Tibaldi of Valhalla teased her boyfriend, Gerald Selvaggio of New York City about being a Giants' fan.
"Sitting with them last year was a little tough," Selvaggio said, referring to the Giants missing the playoffs and the Jets reaching the AFC title game. "But for the previous number of years wasn't tough at all, and with the Super Bowl in 2008, the 2007 season, that's still kind of fresh."
Tibaldi, who was using her father's (Tom) tickets to attend the game with her sister, Cathy, and her boyfriend, James Kosky of Queens, smirked about the Giants' recent success.
"We have one more of these hats in the car that we are hoping to get him to wear," Rosie Tibaldi said.
Some people were just lucky to get tickets for the opening game.
Mike Collaro of East Stroudburg went online to buy two tickets for him and his girlfriend, Melissa Manger.
"It wasn't too hard," he said.
Jay Wordsman of Denville and his friend, Anne Lee of Somerset, said they just wanted to see the first game in "the new Giants Stadium."
"It's a Jets home game but we want to see the game," said Wordsman, who has been a Giants fan for four decades.
David Dankwa didn't have decades to recall. The 8-year-old's dream was the future.
"Maybe I'll get my own jersey someday and I'll even play on that field," David Dankwa said.