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Monday, September 4, 2023

US Open - New York Visit - Shawn and Andrea - Walking Food Tour and Bike Tour

Andrea and I went to New York in 2017 and decided that we would go with the kids this year. Andrea planned the trip to be over the Labor Day holiday so the kids wouldn't miss as much school, but as the date got closer we thought that maybe it would be more fun as an adult trip instead. Amanda and Ryan graciously agreed to let our kids hang out at their place Saturday-Monday, so we changed our reservations and the kids were also happy they wouldn't have to miss any school. The other two nights we were gone, the kids stayed home alone and got themselves up and to school by themselves. It was the first time for them staying overnight alone.

We flew out super early on Friday morning and after dropping our bags off at the Conrad Hotel we headed straight over to the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Well, we kind of headed straight over. I pulled up Google's recommended subway route and we got aboard a train. While we were sitting on it, Andrea pulled up another route and we decided to maybe change to that route. We ended up getting turned around somewhere along the way. The ride took about twice as long as it should have, but we got there eventually. 

Friday and Saturday were forecasted to have the best weather and although we hadn't necessarily intended to go to the US Open immediately, the weather made it necessary. Friday's high was in the low 70's and it was actually a little cool in the shade at times.

We didn't stay too late on Friday as we were pretty worn out from our early morning flight. We got back to the room and I got some pizzas from a nearby place that sold 99 cent pizza slices. It was kind of nuts that for $11 we got five slices of pizza and a couple of cokes. I told Andrea that our entire dinner cost half as much as one of the chicken nachos we bought at the US Open earlier in the day.

Friday Matches:

  • Taylor Townsend vs Karolina Muchova in Louis Armstrong
  • Iga Swiatek vs Kaja Juvan in Louis Armstrong 
  • Jennifer Brady vs Caroline Wozniacki in Arthur Ashe
  • Austin Krajicek & Jessica Pegula vs Laura Siegemund and Sander GillĂ© (Mixed Doubles)
  • R. Montgomery & C. Ngounoue vs M. Kolodziejova & L. Noskova
Saturday morning we headed out to the US Open after picking up some muffins from a nearby bakery. Our trip in was much smoother than on Friday and the weather was great again on Saturday. We only watched a few matches in their entirety, but we did wander around and watch a few of the other matches and took in the event in general. Friday we'd purchased actual Arthur Ashe tickets, although we never sat in our specific seats. On Saturday we only got grounds passes since the ticket prices were absurd this year. The grounds pass got us in to all the general seating areas of all the matches, except for the matches in the Arthur Ashe stadium. Since we were at the tournament in the early rounds, there were lots of matches going on all over the place and there was plenty to see. 

Saturday Matches:
  • Madison Keys vs Ludmila Samsonova on Louis Armstrong
  • Aliona Bolsova & Rebeka Masarova vs Taylor Townsend & Leylah Fernandez
  • A few other doubles matches that weren't the most exciting or memorable
We were going to stay for one more match, but we were getting tired and decided it would be better if we could beat the rush and leave a little earlier. We stopped off and grabbed some pizza from the same place on the way back to the hotel. After dinner we realized that we'd had chicken nachos for lunch and pizza for dinner again, exactly like Friday. Not the height of NY cuisine, but we both enjoyed it and that's what counts. We later learned from one of our guides, they are changing the pizza shop to $1.50/slice soon.

After Saturday, the weather was hot. Instead of the low 70's it was in the low 90's. We decided it would be miserable sitting in the sun at the US Open and opted to do some sightseeing instead. Sunday morning we met up with a tour guide Alex to do a High Line and Greenwich walking tour. After about an hour and a half, we met up with the rest of our group to do a Food Tour. The group was small, and our guide did a nice job of showing us the interesting landmarks and history of the area. 

We started the food tour at a French bakery where we tried a Merveilleux pastry. 

Next we stopped at a British shop where we had a warm cheese, onion, potato pie. Sadly we forget exactly what it was called.

We stopped on the street of the apartment from the show "Sex and the City" and Andrea got a pic with the front door.

Of course we had to try some New York style pizza. Our tour guide was aghast at our choice to eat the 99 cent pizza slices the past couple of days. We had pizza at Bleeker Street Pizza and then went next door to Taco Mahal to try an Indian chicken curry taco that was super flavorful.

We stopped by the apartment used for the show "Friends" and then we insisted on stopping on Cornelia Street so Andrea could take a pic outside of Taylor Swift's old apartment for Paige.

We ended our tour with cookies and cupcakes at Molly's Cupcakes. After the tour, we realized that we'd gone even further South and farther from our hotel. We wandered back the way we came and stopped by the Chelsea market and walked a bit longer on the High Line to see some of the paths that we'd skipped earlier. We ended up walking a total of 10 miles.

We wrapped up our day with some tennis on TV in the hotel and then Ice Cream at Van Leeuwen. Andrea loved the Honeycomb flavor the best and I got the Mint Chip and Pistachio flavor, the Pistachio was the best.

Sunday was another hot day, so no tennis for us, but we did schedule a bike tour of Central Park. The tour started off a little awkwardly at a super skinny storefront where we waited in a long line while the staff tried to maneuver bikes past everyone. We finally got started, walking our bikes to Central Park and then we jumped on and got going without much instruction. Although our tour guide told us that we should obey traffic laws, be careful, and to stop at lights, he did none of those things and it was a bit stressful trying to keep up with him. As it was Labor Day, and a warm day in NY, it was crowded. There were horse drawn carriages, pedicabs, casual bikers, serious bikers in their fancy gear, scooters, roller skaters, dogs, and people everywhere. Our tour guide ran right through red lights, split between pedestrians on the crosswalks, and our group got separated a number of times. 

The worst moment was when one of our tour members had their chain slip off and our guide had to ride back to help him. Our guide had stopped us in the center of the road and told us just to clump together and that we'd be fine. He said that although people would probably yell at us, we should ignore them and we were invincible together. We would be "titanium" he said and that we'd be fine. After getting complained at by a few people, Andrea and I pulled off the road to a sidewalk nearby and eventually everyone else did too as it was super uncomfortable stopped in the middle of the road. 

We survived, and nobody got injured, but we were relieved when it ended. It was not a relaxing ride.

For lunch on Sunday we picked up some sandwiches from the Deli near our hotel, Premier Deli Cafe, and watched tennis on TV while we enjoyed the air conditioning. 

In the evening we got back out and decided to take a leisurely walk around town. We went back to Central Park and wandered around, enjoying all the wild and weird people. We watched some pickleball, a roller skate dance party, volleyball, and saw lots of picnics. On the way back we decided it would be fun to get a pedicab, so we flagged down a guy that was eager for work and he cheerfully drove us around for a half hour. 

For dinner, of course we had more ice cream from Van Leeuwen. This time from the Times Square location, so I snapped a pic of Andrea and her waffle cone with the NY lights behind her.

Overall it's been a fun visit and we are thankful that the weather's cooperated for the most part. A little cooler would have been nice, but it is still an improvement from the Florida summer heat we've been living with.

We enjoyed our time in New York, but it will be nice to get home to our quiet life in the suburbs!

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