Thursday, June 7, 2012

Day 6: NY to E-ville

Day 6: New York – E-ville

Quote of the day:

I'm going to Radio Shack to buy one of those headsets like the broadcasters use. It seems as soon as you put them on, you get 100 times smarter. Especially important so you can’t hear the other airline passengers complain about how bad your cheese smells when you start eating lunch.

Weather: Clear, cool, no hint of rain (forecast is for rain tomorrow) except in the final final, it starts to rain a bit while we are in the plane awaiting pullback (delayed a few minutes because Air Force 1 is due in to SFO just before we supposedly arriving)

Pics: THB getting ready for a home game

FCtr, then over to Starbucks…CLOSED! Hmmmm, it’s after 7am. A line was forming early yesterday in front of Foot Locker, THB assumed for a new release of a shoe available when the store opened later. No, those were guys getting in line for today’s opening (one can only hope it was today, 50 hours in advance for a pair of sneakers seems excessive). THB and DB saw the same thing when in NY a few months ago…quite a brand cachetfor someone!

Breakfast of almond croissant from SSB, free coffee from downstairs.

Easy cab ride to airport, a reverse commute, $60. Easy flight, easy free ride back to E-ville.

That makes 46 major league parks for THB, only 4 more to go.


1. Citizens Bank Park (Phillies, for those of you who can’t place the bank with the city), a repeat visit for THB, is nice, modern , excellent food, good sightlines, and great access via the metro from downtown.

2. Citi Field (Mets) sucks, hard to believe they built this lifeless 5 level, wind-blown monstrosity after all those great parks before them; pastrami sandwich excellent, very good beer choices, and an impossibly long subway ride to/from (especially from) the park. Way, way below average. Ultimate insult: at our decent (and expensive) lower deck seats, the ushers have not bothered to wipe the rain off the seats. THB is prepared, pulling out his “never used at a game” A’s rally towel.

3. THB does not know how the Mets do it: spread a crowd across every section in the stadium; maybe it is all in the cause of giving every fan a chance to have an unobstructed view (which for most seats doesn’t matter, they can’t see the whole field even if nobody sits anywhere in front of them for many rows)

4. Yankee Stadium same as it ever was, pretty dull, and expensive beer, and $80/tix to sit in the 4th row of the 2nd deck out past 3rd base. Crowd knew less about baseball than other two parks (very “homei-ish”). Easy subway to/from, particularly from Aloft in Harlem (3 stops)

5. Aloft worked out very well, and Detroit would kill to have 15% of the crowds in and around 125th Avenue.

6. THB has to get rid of this rain curse, especially with the O’s coming up; London in the rain will not be good

7. 9/11 memorial best visited after all the construction around it is completed, say 2016 or 2017

8. Lastly, 8pm games in the eastern time zone on Sundays are a great illustration of how far back the fans are in the minds of MLB (ahhhh, the joys of TV money) and for a team that does not sell-out every game, the fans vote by staying home.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Day 5: New York

Day 5: New York

Quote of the day:

"Hating the Yankees isn't part of my act. It is one of those exquisite times when life and art are in perfect conjunction." - White Sox Owner Bill Veeck

Weather: Overcast, clear, cool, blue skies, overcast, temps into the high 60s dipping into the 50s

Pics: Fitness Center, Apollo Theatre and New Amsterdam News near Aloft, around the High Line Park, near Ground Zero (Sullivan Street Bakery) and near the 9/11 Memorial (this area is never referred to as Ground Zero), new Yankee Stadium, THB in old Yankee Stadium tee

9 hours of sleep help THB feel human again. Extra minutes on the elliptical, coffee and NYT from Starbucks and a free muffin and banana from Aloft. Aloft has a deal where if you skip the room being tidied up, you get $5/day to use at their little mini-buffet.

This morning THB and LHB tour the High Line Park (second time in a few months for THB), still the best new urban park in years. We detour to Gagosian Gallery for large Avedon “murals” – very impressive. Mosey over to Company (Co.) for lunch (again): mushroom and jalapeno and dill pizza, artichoke salad without the capers this time, pizza bianco (THB has this rising to the top of the list for appetizers), “ginger ale”, $50.

Back to the High Line, and since we are headed that way we decide, why not, let’s just go visit the Sullivan Street Bakery (again, and again, and again….why not!). Load up for breakfast tomorrow, the airplane trip tomorrow, and maybe something for the rest of the week, too; $20. And, since the baked goods are for tomorrow, we duck into Je and Jo for a cup of something like ice cream. THB is not too fond, LHB likes hers, $8.

THB and LHB go in different directions, LHB uptown and THB heads downtown to the 9/11 Memorial. As Yogi sez, it is so crowded, nobody goes there anymore. THB gets his free visitor pass for a 3:30 entrance (at 2pm), figures he’ll go stand in line and see if he can get in early. Well, since the line, when it can be seen in semi-entirety (THB is not sure how much he’s looking at, it’s too crowded), THB decides it is something to be done on another day. Earlier. Maybe when it is raining. Or snowing. Or a blizzard.

The overview from the outside: several very tall buildings are in the process of going up, there’s construction all over the place in between those buildings, there are no good vantage points to see the (sunken) fountains right now, the whole area (4 huge square blocks?) is surrounded by tarps on tall fencing.

Back to rest up, recharge all equipment for the flight tomorrow, and head to Yankee Stadium. It is exactly like the old one from the seats to the field, bigger concession areas, no t-shirts of the new park (why would they since it is just the same as the old one). Italian sausage ($8) and Stella Artois on draft ($12....there are NO small beers!). Game is over early, Rays play horrible in the field, get only 4 hits at bat, and Andy “the ageless one related to Roger Clemens” Pettitte strikes out 10 in a stellar pitching performance. The Yanks do not hit well with runners in scoring position; they get a big one when Russell Martin hits a grand slam, otherwise they do nothing with runners in scoring position.

Easy ride back on the D metro (though the crowd on the platform was reminiscent of Beijing), only a few stops away from the stadium.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Day 4: New York

Day 4: New York

Quote of the day:

What did the search committee decide? Not to search?

(Interim commissioner Bug Selig will become the full-time commissioner)

Weather: Rain, heavy at times, overcast, intermittent sun, mild breezes except in the air tunnel they call left field at Citi Field, mid-60s

Pics: Tarp action at Citi Field, view from our seats behind first base, blue skies exist in NY, in the LaGuardia jet path, Flushing Meadows Chinatown and New Imperial Palace

Unbelievably (to THB, though THB is not actually thinking or registering much of anything), get up and go to FCtr, breakfast of coffee, half a cookie and half a muffin. Ahhhh, there’s nothing like the smell of rain in the morning or the view of rain from THB’s hotel room. Actually, there is something like it: the smell and view from LHB’s room. Same-same, not different.

Regardless, we hit the metro to hook up with Bob K at the game. As we enter Citi Field, the grounds crew is collecting and removing the tarp (since it appears to raining lightly, at first we thought they were putting the tarp ON the field). Lunch of Shake Shack shakes and a shared brewski (who sez we can make good decisions with baseball dead brains?), $27.

The seats, at only $75/ticket, are way better than last night, we can actually see 95% of the field and there is not a stiff breeze blowing on our necks the entire game. Also, game is pretty exciting, with Mets coming back, losing the lead, almost tying it up, most of action in the last 3 innings. Cardinals manage a victory, the only game in the set of four where they scored more than one run (well, they didn’t score in two of the games, made it tough to win those). Published attendance: 25k; THB published number: 15k (there are no bagpipers wearing orange t-shirts to pad the count today).

Oh, and partway through the game the sun comes out (please look at pic for verification).

LHB heads back to town and Bob and THB move down one subway stop to Flushing Meadows Chinatown for an early dinner at the New Imperial Palace (Bob makes the finding of the restaurant so convoluted THB now thinks he is in Queens…maybe he is in Queens, THB wouldn’t know, having to unconvolute on a diet of shakes and beers). Soup, scallops, chicken with cashews, beers, Bob treats (quite a guy, also he’s reciprocating for THB treating whenever the last time that they had dinner together).

Subway back, 7 and A are far less crowded in rush hour than on Sunday between 11 and midnight. Hmmm….

Now to watch the Phillies play the Dodgers in the rain and gloat about how THB and LHB and Bob K had a gorgeous afternoon at the ballpark.