Saturday, July 27th
So, I’ll do the Fox News part first. I sort of just threw that in there to get your attention, all my Liberal viewers. (I mean that politely)
My favorite television show is a news roundtable on Fox News called “The Five.” It involves five people discussing issues (and is usually anti-Obama-administration) and it films at 5pm. If it were a weekday, I would have conveniently walked by the windows right as they come back from a commercial break, to get myself on national TV, but it isn’t, so I didn’t. I did walk by the building today and it was highly uneventful.
We slept in late today! Our first task was a baseball game at 1pm. We got up around 10 and hung around, got some food, etc., and conveniently took the train up about 3 stops to Yankee Stadium for their game against Tampa Bay. I was certainly cheering for the Rays. Not only am I not a Yankees fan, but I am a big fan of the Rays’ manager, who used to be Scioscia’s bench coach for the Angels. It was fun to see the Rays awesome new pitcher (who they got for Garza), Wil Myers, Evan Longoria, and others versus the sucky, old, injured, and overpriced Yankees.
I would have liked to see the original Yankee Stadium, and I wonder how much the new stadium is like the original. Ultimately, I was not impressed, and even beyond that, I didn’t enjoy being there. Around the 6th or 7th inning I felt like leaving and I actually fell asleep resting my head in my hands during the 7th inning. I put on my glasses so those around me wouldn’t see my eyes closed.
Observations: Food didn’t seem particularly expensive (for a sporting event), but I read several insider’s guides to Yankee Stadium, written by locals, and every one said “bring in your own food, every item the stadium sells is terrible.” There was certainly a variety, and after the games on this trip, I am starting to believe Dodger Stadium has the worst nachos in baseball.
A big thing about Yankee Stadium is that there is an usher at the top of every aisle and they check everyone’s ticket, throughout the whole game, even up in the cheap seats. In most ballparks, once it gets toward the latter innings, you *could* wander closer to the action and take a seat in a cluster of empty seats. And no one will really care. But it seems that there is a “we card everyone” policy here, so to speak. Of course, I follow this up by pointing out that after wandering around for 5 innings, we wanted to sit down but not in the nosebleed seats we purchased. We ended up going down to the second level, down by the foul pole. The usher was a younger guy who looked cooler and not at all uptight and power-hungry. I asked if we could just sit down and rest our feet for a bit, in the last few rows which were unoccupied, and he said we could stay. Wonderful! It was in the shade, too, and we had a TV right above us to get the closer view! Incidentally, this is where I fell asleep.
I have no doubt that Yankee fans are extremely loyal and supportive – no need to convince me of that. But the ballpark was silent! Just a slight background white noise of all the sounds, but not any louder than when my alarm clock wakes me up with “gentle waves.” Really, I can’t explain it clearly enough. The ballpark was silent, except for the brief, seemingly-formal clapping at the end of a Rays’ inning. People sitting quietly in their seats, no one acting drunk (they stop serving alcohol in the 5th inning), no stadium organ, no singing and crowd entertainment other than the “which hat is the ball under?” and the terrible (but apparently “classic”) pre-recorded version of “The National Anthem” and “God Bless America.” On top of that, the PA announcer’s volume was so low I could rarely hear what he was saying. Yankee Stadium is absolutely more “adult” than Dodger Stadium, in the sense that it is not a kid-friendly place. Now, I don’t like the kid-friendly places, where cheerleaders run around and mascots shoot t-shirts into the crowd, but I just thought Yankee Stadium was not a fun place. I did really appreciate how they put so much of their history into it. They tried to carry the memories of old Yankee Stadium along. That was neat to see. But then, Monument Park and the Yankee Museum were both closed…so that sucks. But Yankee Stadium is one of those places you have to go to as a baseball fan. I feel very fortunate to be seeing Wrigley Field, Yankee Stadium, and Fenway Park on this trip.
On our way back, we were hungry so we popped into an authentic Mexican fast-food restaurant a couple blocks down from our lodging. It was sort of a hole-in-the-wall, so I am surprised to see that they have a website. I got a Tinga al Chipotle Torta, a sandwich with chicken cooked into a tomato sauce, covered with lettuce, Mexican cheese, chopped chipotles. It was excellent, and probably half the price of a sandwich downtown. While I was watching the chef work the grill and build my sandwich, the song that the S.F. Giants closer Sergio Romo enters to came on the radio (I mentioned this in an earlier post). I started to tell the chef this, but he didn’t understand, so I switched to Spanish. Speaking Spanish in an authentic Mexican restaurant: check. I might go back there tomorrow!
We got back to the room to rest for a little while, started to plan what we still wanted to do today and tomorrow,…and then we both fell asleep…for 3 hours. It was 9pm. We groggily got out of our beds and headed out to the 6 train south, toward Rockerfeller Center.
We walked around that area a bit, and then headed toward the Empire State Building. No, I didn’t pay the $25 they want to stand on the top floor of a building. We were just wandering the area, exploring and seeing what was around. We definitely found all of the designers’ shops. You know, all the name brands. The ones with the fashion shows. We were looking for a bite to eat and sat a little fast-food pizza place called “Famous Little Italy Pizza.” It had several customers which seemed to be a sign that the product is good. Slice ranged from $2.75 to $3.50 and there were about 15 different pizzas out on the display, with a guy serving, and another guy at the back counter making more pizzas. It’s one of those places that keeps making pizzas to replace the ones they are selling. Steven got two cheese slices. I got one spinach & ricotta and another tomato & mozzarella. The spinach/ricotta might be the tastiest pizza I have ever had. The slices were cut from the pizza, then put back in the pizza oven to warm for a minute, then served on foil.
As we sat and ate, Steven reminded me that The Gaslight Anthem was playing tonight, at a place called Irving Plaza. I assumed that was an outdoor arena, and I know that tickets were free, but by invitation since Red Bull was sponsoring the concert. I actually registered to get invited…or whatever… but didn’t end up with a ticket(s). Steven looked at the tickets and saw that we were near a subway line which went almost directly to Irving Plaza, so we decided we should just head over there, in case it was an outdoor concert. We did get to the area, but saw that it was a theater/concert hall. By this time it was almost 11pm and the concert was in progress. I walked up to the security guy and made small talk, asking what was going on here. When he said it was The Gaslight Anthem, I said “the concert is free, right?” He said that no, I needed a ticket. Then he immediately followed with, “but I’ll let you in.” I immediately pointed out that Steven was with me (I had been talking to the guy on my own) and we were both in! As we entered and the ticket-taker asked for ours, the security guy shouted from outside and gave a thumbs-up to the ticket-taker. Awesome! We saw seven or eight songs from basically the front of the crowd (but just off to the side) and as we were leaving, they were giving out free concert posters – really nice prints on good-quality paper.
It was quite a long ride back from 14th street to 116th street, but now it’s bedtime. We have some more to do tomorrow. I’m leaning toward not seeing a musical, but it will depend what is discounted at the TKTS booth tomorrow. Then we drive north toward Albany.