When Don Martini first told his wife, Janice, that he planned on building a replica of the old Giants Stadium in their garage, she called him crazy.
Now, several years and $20,000 later, the 75-year-old Martini has finished his project. And crazy as it might sound, the model has turned out to be an extremely impressive tribute that is gaining nationwide publicity. It is thought to be one of the only replicas, and almost certainly the most detailed, of Giants Stadium.
Martini spent eight hours a day for two years constructing his masterpiece, a nearly exact replica of the stadium which was torn down in 2010. Martini's 20-foot-by-17 foot stadium includes two small TVs (which play classic Giants games on loop), sponsor billboards and even tiny Gatorade jugs. It has 65,000 seats, a slight deviation from the old stadium.
"I know, there should be 80,000," Martini told The Star-Ledger. "But there’s only so much room inside."
Martini has plenty of building experience. The Blairstown, N.J., native was able to retire in his mid-50s after inventing and patenting a universal assembly jig for cabinet making. Since then he's built everything from dining room chairs to a remote control boat big enough to hold his grandchildren. At one-point he thought about creating a 40-foot replica of the Empire State Building, but was discouraged by all the permits he would need to pull off the project.
The stadium is far from Martini's only shrine to Big Blue. Indeed, the garage that holds the stadium is now decked out in Giants memorabilia. It includes autographed photos from each Super Bowl team, a wall-sized photo of the New York skyline, a stadium timeline and three cookie jars filled with blue-and-white M&Ms.
Now, Martini has to decide what he'd like to do with the stadium. He enjoys keeping it in his garage, where he can check it out whenever he wants. His son has suggested he give it to the Giants, perhaps in exchange for season tickets.
For photos of Martini and his project, see here.