New York City: US Open 2014

I was jealous of Felicity when I first saw her. She was the girl who ditched being a pre-med student in California and moved to New York City in order to follow a crush and ended up majoring in art much to her parents’ chagrin. I thought she was so brave. But unlike Felicity, I would have chosen Noel instead of Ben. In youth, brooding hot guy working at a coffee shop, wearing a leather jacket sounds dreamy. However, with age all you really want is a nice, cute guy who says he likes your paintings. (“Felicity” being the late 90’s-00’s television show starring Keri Russell.) I, too, once had thoughts of New York. I envisioned attending the Fashion Institute of Technology, but practicality dismissed such ideas. New York City was first city that I wanted to travel to and yet it is the last great U.S. city to cross off my list. I’m not sure what has taken me this long; however, since I won two airlines tickets during the office Halloween contest (dressing up as Johnny Manziel), I am now able to cross of taking my mom to the US Open tennis tournament off my list. Show me New York City!

I didn’t think I would like New York City. I don’t like being in crowds all the time. I don’t like rude people. I don’t like traffic. We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn near Central Park often described in reviews as quiet and family friendly, which it was. Only a five block walk to the park, we ate breakfast there Monday morning before journeying to the Open. It’s a nice oasis far away enough from the horns and hammer jack soundtrack of the streets. Maybe it was the area we were in or because my mom can make friends with almost anyone, but the people in New York are friendly. Sure there are strange things and people asking for money. Dallas has its share of that as well attested by the pregnant lady at CVS carrying a note asking for milk money who I saw at the same CVS the year earlier at the same stage in pregnancy with the same note. Traffic is avoidable using the subway system. It’s crowded and it’s hot underground, but worth it.

(Look, I created my very first picture .gif of Venus serving.)

I don’t play tennis. I watch tennis. Since I was a kid, I would get up, fix some waffles and have breakfast during Wimbledon. I tried playing once this year whiffing at balls left and right and getting dizzy 30 minutes later because of the heat – a reminder why I only played inside sports. Speaking of hot… It was sunny and humid at the US Open. We ended up watching Venus Williams in the shade of Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday and Sloan Stephens there on Wednesday. My mom and I both avoided tans the whole summer in Texas and yet managed to turn two shades darker in New York. It’s a great event. The announcer on ESPN kept referring to the crowd during the broadcast as New Yorkers, but there are a fair share of domestic and international travelers who managed to make their way to Flushing Meadows. My mom got her picture taken with the Bryan Brothers. She is the only person I know who keeps up with doubles tennis.

My mom is afraid of heights. So much so that I offered to go to the top of the GE Building by myself, and she almost didn’t ride on the top of the open air water taxi. I in severe contrast love heights. In fact on our way to New York while flying amongst the clouds, I thought the sky must be the most peaceful place on Earth. There’s something about expansive views. They are so serene and majestic. I think I like staring off in the distance and having my thoughts cover miles of territory. I chose the Top of the Rock because I would rather see the view of Empire State Building than see the view from it, so I missed my “Affair to Remember”/”Sleepless in Seattle”/”Mindy Project” moment. Also, you have a clear view of Central Park. My mom ended up enjoying the water taxi. She was even proud of herself for walking to the bottom cabin from the top while the boat was moving. I would recommend that as well as $30 will take you around the harbor and Brooklyn and you can get on and off at the different spots.

The Verdict (now mentally think of Law & Order audio): I was left with a favorable impression of New York City. As we rode the number 7 train, I saw an empty warehouse, which reminded me of this awesome New York City Ballet program I saw once on TV. How neat it must be to be surrounded by so many different artistic and cultural things all the time. Eventually, I think I'll go back and explore a different side of the city. Maybe take an art photography class. Maybe meet someone on the top of a tall building. Maybe have drinks with three girlfriends wearing the craziest outfit you've ever seen. Maybe produce my on television show with the help of my mentor, a Republican businessman. (Okay, that one is really a stretch). Whatever it will be, I'll be back.

US Open Tips

1. Take the number 7 train to Flushing Meadows. It only costs $5 round trip.
2. If you buy tickets in advance, you can upgrade your tickets on site. I bought regular ground admission seats not knowing that Venus Williams would be playing at Arthur Ashe until the day before. I was able to exchange those tickets at the event for seats in the stadium.
3. Sitting at the top of Arthur Ashe Stadium is actually nice. We sat behind the baseline, which is awesome for not moving your head from side to side during play. We were able to see the play from a good distance and sit in the shade. We sat in section 340.
4. It is hot, at least when we went. On Wednesday, it was 90 degrees about 100 degrees on the court. We were worried about the rain not the sun. Drink water. Find shade. All those good things.
5. In the entrance for Louis Armstrong Stadium are concessions with hardly any lines and cover to walk underneath with fans. Use that for a break from the heat.

New York City Playlist on Spotify