My Travels – New York City (September 2011)

Kara and I just got back last night from a short vacation to New York City. Our plan was to go see the Red Sox play the Yankees on Friday night and the Phillies take on the Mets on Saturday afternoon. It was the first big step that we’ve taken on our quest to visit all of the MLB stadiums (four down, a bunch to go). I had never been to New York before this weekend and I’m confident I won’t forget this trip anytime soon.

We took the red-eye on Thursday night/Friday morning (1 AM departure, yay….) and landed in the Big Apple at around 6:30 EST. I don’t sleep well on national flights so needless to say, I was dragging for most of Friday. We flew into JFK and since we only packed in our backpacks for the weekend, it was a breeze getting to walk right past baggage claim.

Our first challenge was getting to the subway and figuring out the labyrinth that is the New York subway system. Since I lived in downtown Chicago for four years, I was used to figuring out the map. We quickly found ourselves headed downtown…albeit by a longer route than was necessary and walked up and out right into the heart of lower Manhattan. Welcome to New York City.

We took the Statue of Liberty ferry tour that visited Ellis Island and Liberty Island. If you’re planning on a trip to NYC, I’d highly recommend taking the ferry tour. Liberty Island was okay, we thought the audio tour could have been much better, but the Ellis Island experience was incredible.

We noticed that the fog was getting worse towards the end of our time at Liberty Island. By the time we finished at Ellis Island, the fog had become a downpour. We got rained on, correction-poured on. Everything got soaked: our backpacks, our spare clothes, phone chargers, wallets and cards, baseball tickets, everything. We didn’t have raincoats with us, nope, left those on a gamble that the rain wasn’t supposed to hit, at least not that badly.

We landed at the ferry stop back at NYC and puddle-jumped our way to the subway station where we emerged again near Times Square and bought a small umbrella. Thank God for an umbrella but by that point, what’s the use? We got lunch in Times Square where I was pleasantly surprised to see ads for the new NIV, I Am Second, and a few other non-profits play on the big screens along Times Square.

After lunch we again braved the rains to find Rockefeller Center and decided that as unimpressive as it actually looked in real life (it looks more impressive on 30 Rock), it was time to find our hotel and get a timeout from the rain. I won’t go into too much detail about the hotel because ghetto would have been an understatement. We laid out all of our wet clothes and decided to head down to Yankees Stadium that evening.

Yep, I’m a big Yankees fan (coming up on 20 years of fanhood) so seeing my Yanks take on the chowda-lovin’ jealous ones from up nort’ is a dream come true…until they cancelled the game because of rain. Crap. We had flown all the way to New York City just to see my boys play and they postponed the game until Sunday…after we would be back home in Denver. Again, crap. The good thing is that we were able to sit in our seats and get to tour the ballpark so technically, we can cross it off the list.

At Yankees Stadium with my bride.

The next day the rain was gone and we made our way to Citi Field where we caught a great game between the Phillies and Mets. We were glad that we got a chance to see some of the sights of NYC and that we were able to see a good game (Mets won, 2-1) but we’re glad to be back home in our Mile High home. I will say that there are some unbelievable characters in the New York subway and that quite a few New Yorkers are flat-out rude but hey, we made some great memories while were there.

At Citi Field waiting for the Mets to play.

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