Many retired people aren’t content with spending their days watching daytime TV and puttering around the house while simultaneously driving their spouse crazy. Take 75-year-old Don Martini for instance, a retired school teacher, grandfather and enormous Giants fan who spent two years of his retirement—and $20,000 of his hard-earned money—to single handedly make the most amazing replica of old Giants Stadium known to man. Seriously, the only thing missing from this phenomenal re-creation is a mini Jimmy Hoffa figure buried under the stadium turf.
Martini converted his garage into a shrine for his beloved Giants, with the 20-foot long by 17-foot wide stadium replica the glorious centerpiece. Autographed photos of the Super Bowl teams adorn the walls along with a huge picture of the New York skyline. Martini even made something called the ““Giants Stadium Trolley Station” that included working trains and elevators because, well, why the hell not?
Nothing prepares you when you walk through the door, because the words “model” and “replica” are insufficient to describe what Martini has constructed. It is 20 feet long and 17 feet wide. It was built with an attention to detail that, truth be told, the original architects never had.
Giants Stadium was deemed obsolete soon after it opened. It was torn down in 2010 after just 34 years of service, and in the years since, few have mourned its demolition. Martini did. He loved it enough to spend eight hours a day for nearly two full years rebuilding it, selling his antique car to clear the space.
But he didn’t stop at building a stadium. Martini painted the walls of the garage blue and hung autographed photos from each Super Bowl team. He built something he named “Giants Stadium Trolley Station,” with a working train and elevators, that would have alleviated hundreds of traffic jams had the Meadowlands planners thought of the same thing.
He added five Blue Angel fighter jets flying overhead, three cookie jars filled with blue-and-white M&Ms for the kids, a wall-sized photo of the New York skyline, even a stadium timeline and history lesson.
Check out video of Martini’s masterpiece…
The attention to detail is impressive, as is the number of man-hours and financial commitment Martini poured into his labor of love. However, all that pales in comparison to the amount of understanding and patience exhibited by his wife Janice. Two years, $20 grand, and the loss of any usable space in the garage is a lot to ask of someone trying to enjoy their golden years.
[picture via Jerry McCrea/The Star-Ledger]