Monday, September 21, 2009
I love NY!
I promised chickenlittle I would write about my U.S. Open tennis trip to New York. Very late, but here it is!
I love NY! I get excited about this trip months in advance. I may live close to a big city (Detroit), but the truth is that I'm a very small town girl. I grew up on a pretty small island in the Detroit River. I now live in a decent-sized city, but it's more like a sprawling small town. No real "downtown" to it, so NYC is just, well, hugely exciting for me. I feel so alive there. And that's me, New Yorkers, that you see looking like a star-struck tourist on the streets most of the time. Looking up at the beautiful buildings and people watching. Overwhelmed at the choices of cuisine. Smiling big. Barely able to make a selection in the small cafes. I don't care! You can laugh at me or smugly let me know that you're on to me (Mr. Cashier at the cafe), but I assure you that I'm drinking all of that in with appreciation, too!
I'm primarily there for the tennis, but I can't escape the city, and don't want to. This year, my tennis pal Jane and I stayed near the Waldorf at a hotel called "Affina 50". What a beautiful place! Every employee was cheerful and helpful..the room was huge and luxurious (at a disgustingly cheap rate thanks to a friend of Jane's), and the place was immaculate. I had a choice of one of 7 pillows to sleep on! I felt like singing the "Green Acres" tune. Heh. I also enjoyed the eight block walk to the hotel from the subway every single day and night. Oh, and I enjoyed the subway too, how's them apples?
One night when Jane and I decided to head back to the hotel early, we were faced with a little dilemma: no ESPN tennis coverage for the matches that evening. Now, we knew that the Tennis Channel was airing the matches, but we had little hope that we'd find a bar that carried the Tennis Channel. Well, we were wrong. We popped into the Hyatt and the hostess there told us that yes, they did have the Tennis Channel and would have tennis on this evening. We happily continued to the hotel, aiming to freshen up and dress a little nicer for the Hyatt bar. But lo and behold, right on the corner of the block of our hotel was a lovely hotel bar with...the Tennis Channel on! We still got gussied up, but it was a convenient stop with delicious food and a nice crowd. Have I mentioned how much I love New York?
I guess I should get to the meat of my trip - the U.S. Open. If you are a fan of live tennis at all, this is the place to visit. The grounds of the United States Tennis Association's Billie Jean King National Tennis Center (whew!) are clean and beautiful. The crowd is enthusiastic and happy. The food is very decent, too! I had mostly sushi and Indian food, but they have crepes and pasta, salads, Ben and Jerry's ice cream, just to name a few things. Not your run of the mill hot dog stands. And...for refreshments, along with the usual soft drinks and bottled water, you can find Grey Goose (ohhh..oh, yum) stands, a wine bar, and a beer (Heineken) joint.
While attending the matches, my small group of friends from all over the country (and one who came from Israel this year!) would text each other all day and meet up at different matches. I'd watch one match with my lovely friend Jackie from Chicago, the next with my good pal from New Jersey, Sam...and occasionally, a whole mob of us would take in a match together. These are some of the most precious tennis memories I have. Being with friends and enjoying our favorite sport together. Believe me, I feel blessed, no matter what happens on the court. This is what it's about for me.
I've met most of my tennis friends through a blog I discovered - Peter Bodo's TennisWorld. Pete is a senior editor at Tennis Magazine and just a great, friendly, wonderful guy. A bunch of commenters from his blog got together on the Saturday night I was in NY for dinner and cocktails. More than a few who showed had never even met the rest of us. What a perfect, joyful evening we had! We closed the place...mostly because there just wasn't enough time in one evening to say all the things we wanted to say or to get to know the people we'd just met. But the time we spent was clearly enjoyed by all.
This piece is getting long, and I haven't even discussed the actual tennis yet! I should at least mention that I did get to see Juan Martin Del Potro play live, and I knew he was going to be tough to take out. I'm sorry that my fave lost in the final, but not too sorry...tennis has a new star and a worthy winner.