Sports & Recreation

US Open – Now that was Awesome!

by ADMIN on SEPTEMBER 2, 2010

I played a lot of tennis as a kid and still dabble when I can, but it’s very infrequent. None the less, I’m still a tennis fan and my visit to the US Open last night was nothing short of awesome!

Going to the US Open wasn’t something I intended to do yesterday, but given that there’s a chance the weather might not be great this weekend and that ticket’s may no longer be available, the thought of going entered my mind midday. Then, when I realized Andy Roddick was playing, a player with lots of character, I knew I wanted to go.

That was it. I was going to the US Open! Tickets were no longer available online so I decided to risk my luck and see if I could purchase one at the box office. Here’s what’s funny. Upon purchasing my ticket the older gentleman behind the ticket counter said,

“You are one lucky guy. You just bought the last available ticket that’s currently for sale.”

It doesn’t get much better than that.

It’s one of those events I’ve seen on TV time and time again, but to suddenly be there in the moment, it was nothing short of amazing. Standing in line typically isn’t much fun, but as the crowd grew in mass at the entrance my excitement also seemed to grow.

The first match I saw featured last year’s champion, Kim Clijsters and she was a beast on the court. Match two featured Roddick, but unfortunately his game wasn’t on and he was defeated after four sets.

One interesting little thing happened right before the men’s match got underway. An 11-year old girl that was chosen to sing America the Beautiful was doing a fantastic job singing the song, then, out of the blue… the camera guys decide to show that Kanye West was in attendance by putting him on the big screen. The crowd instantly let out an “ahhhh;” hopefully it didn’t mess the young girl up too much. Other stars in attendance last night included John Legend and Usher.

Oh, and there’s something else worth mentioning. The staff at the event could not have been better. They were polite, eager to help and always seemed to have a smile on their face. I’m not sure what I expected, but it certainly wasn’t expected to have a delightful female standing at the exit gate saying, “I hope you had a great time!”

As one of my top New York City activities thus far I could ramble on and on about the experience, but I won’t. Just trust me when I say it rocked!

Take a moment and check out some of the photos below (all taken w/iPhone).

Central Park Tennis

by ADMIN on JULY 7, 2010

I made my way to Central Park to play tennis with a coworker last weekend and had a good time… once we finally got to play. First, let me share how the public courts work in NYC.

– Permits are sold for $100 that allow you to simply show up, sign-up for an available court (good luck with that) and not pay any additional fee.

– If you have a permit you can also purchase $7 play passes that allow you to call and make reservations ahead of time over the phone. Basically, the $100 permit allows you spend more money and provides convenience. (I went this route)

– If you don’t get a permit you can simply show up, hope a court is available and pay $7 should you be so lucky.

I arrived to the courts about 15 minutes early to make sure I knew where I was going, but my partner unfortunately arrived a wee bit late. 2 minutes late to be exact, and that was a slight problem.

The Central Park courts have this rule that both players must sign-in 5 minutes prior to the start time. If not, they give your court away. And they will… with out even thinking twice – it happened to me. I politely explained that my partner was on the way and that she had gotten a bit lost in the park. The attendant could have cared less.

Honestly, they were extremely rude, even for NYC standards.

Here’s my take. I’ve paid my $100 for my permit and $7 for my ticket – if I’m there on time I should be able to go out on the court and run in circles for all I care. It’s my reservation and if my partner is late the consequence should simply be less playing time – not to have your court given away. Thankfully, there was a random opening in the next time slot and we were able to get on the court and play.

As we were waiting to play I couldn’t help but think about the fact that the courts are part of a public park… meaning tax dollars foot the bill. One might imagine, or at least I do, that government employees would be held to a higher standard.

Hopefully my next Central Park tennis experience will be a bit better. Oh, and if you are wondering, the courts themselves are great!

Long Beach Day Trip

From where I lived in Greensboro, NC it took the better part of three hours to get to the nearest beach. The North and South Carolina beaches are fantastic, but the drive is less than exciting. That being said, you might imagine how surprised I was to learn that you could easily get to a beach from New York City in less than one hour… and that there are multiple options. Nice!

Last Friday I opted to take a little adventure and go to Long Beach, which is on Long Island. The logistics are pretty simple. I took the subway to Penn Station and then took the Long Island Railroad to Long Beach – total travel time was right at one hour.

The cost of the trip was also pretty minimal. You can buy a train ticket and beach pass at Penn Station for $19 (round trip). And if you are from somewhere like NC the words “buy” and “beach pass” probably sound a bit foreign together. (Click photos to enlarge)

Some of the beaches around the city are free, but this one in particular has a fee ($12). Sure, paying for something that has always been free to me isn’t ideal, but I also imagine that the fee deters some from visiting… which makes the beach less crowded (a positive).

Long Beach has a very large beach and it felt like a very clean place to visit. The waves were almost nonexistent while I was there and the water… boy was it cold! Even with the fee I’d definitely see myself going back for another short daytrip away from the city.