Wednesday, August 30, 2017


My annual excursion to observe a different brand of fans at the US Open is nearly complete.  I am now at LaGuardia after the session.  Some observations from my two day stint in and around New York City.

  • LaGuardia airport is an absolute mess.  It is difficult to describe the state of construction. My buddy Gary dropped me off at the airport. Had he not known the area it would have been a nightmare. The situation was exacerbated because, unfathomably, LGA decided to close down the TSA security lanes.
  • The Open is as beautiful as LaGuardia is, currently, not so.  Just a gorgeous setting.  Happy smiling people moving from one arena to the other.  
  • They sell too many tickets.  The lines to get into some of the stadiums were so long that it made no sense to wait on them. 
  • We saw no player, either man or woman, serve and volley.
  • The fans for tennis are a different breed from hockey or baseball fans. I saw no slobbering drunks and the language was not offensive to any sensibility.  Yet they are zealots.  You can tell by the shape of the attendees that over half spend their time on tennis courts.
  • We saw only one "name" player: Maria Sharapova.  Yet everyone we saw was pounding the ball. Just whacking the ball and playing inspiring tennis.
  • New York is ridiculously expensive. You have to just prepare to lose your shirt if you want to spend time there.
  • We went to see a Bronx Tale. Pretty good and faithful to the movie.  I am still not a fan of actors wearing microphones.
  • Times Square at 10 pm last night had more people hanging out than I saw in an entire year when I worked in western new york.
  • I sat in a bar at about 11 and it was not crowded, yet it seemed as if the adjective for all occasions was the f bomb.  A couple to my left were talking about the f meetings, f supervisor, f shifts, f cleaning people--apparently all who worked with them except for them.  They paused f-bombing long enough to step outside for a smoke.  The f-bombing seemed a bit like foreplay.
  • The Strand book store is amazing. Just amazing and I am a bookstore guy. I could have spent an entire day in there and I am not exaggerating.
  • My hotel, the Roosevelt, was quite nice.  It seemed as if everywhere I looked there was an amenity of some sort. And outside the hotel within blocks was times square, grand central, diners, taverns with imbibing clients, all night convenient stores, and to sober all tourists thinking this all was wonderful people sleeping on the street.
  • Grand Central Station itself is something to see. Just to stand in the middle and look up at the ceiling.  Now that I think back on it, I recall the scene from Revolutionary Road set in the 50s. Yet it looked just like that 50 years later.
  • My high school and college buddy Kenny drove me from Waltham to Hyde Park on Monday night. On Tuesday morning I took the metro north into the city.  On the way to Hyde Park he reminded me that nearly fifty years ago this week, we two took the bus from Penn Station to Albany to begin our college careers. He also reminded me that we spent the time on the bus finishing up--at the last minute-the required reading that had been assigned to us over the summer. 
  • Madison Square Park and Union Square were both humming on Tuesday afternoon when it was raining.
  • I stopped in a place called the Bean for a cup of coffee and a bagel.  There, near the Strand bookstore, I saw four young women.  Each had a shirt on that read NYU class of 2021.  I had a similar shirt on half a century ago that read 1971. This was the most jaw dropping sight that I witnessed in two days. Not the Strand. Not LaGuardia looking like post Iraq bombings.  Not thousands of tennis aficionados near the Unisphere. Not Times Square at 10 pm looking like 10 am. It was the 2021 tee shirts on the NYU students reminding me that the earth has revolved around the sun a number of times since Kenny and I took a bus in 1967.
I have finished this blog at North Station in Boston waiting for the 10:40 train that will take me to Waltham. Long day.  I have enjoyed these last 30 plus years living in Boston, but here at 10 pm in Boston at North Station the buzz is nothing like it was at 10 pm last night in New York.

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