The 2007 US Open came to an end yesterday night with an amazing men's singles final match won by Roger Federer.
I was fortunate enough to have been able to attend this event during the Labour Day weekend, and now that I have had a week to reflect on this great trip, here is a brief list (by no means complete) of some things I picked up:
- Matches at Arthur Ashe Stadium are not always the best matches (compare the Del Potro/Djokovic match on Ashe vs Moya/Kohlschreiber and/or Robredo/Gulbis lineup on the Grandstand late Sunday night). Know the order of play on all the courts, and move around as necessary to catch the best matches;
- Want to buy US Open merchandise? Purchase them during a match, not in between matches, and certainly not in between day and night sessions, otherwise be prepared to wait. On that note, if a booth doesn't have what you want, walk around the grounds or even inside Ashe to see if what you want is available. But don't leave it until the end of the night session, at this point, even the vendors are ready to go home.
- Same goes for food. If you are hungry during the second night match, there might not be any food left, so plan accordingly.
- Got an American Express card? Take advantage of what they have to offer to their cardholders. They had free radios and portable TVs (loaners) available, as well as free souvenir pins for those who spent over $75 on the grounds using their AMEX credit cards.
- The $7 Unlimited 1 day MetroCard for New York City Transit is a great deal. Do your 'touristy' stuff during the day, and then use it to get to USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center all on one fare. If you don't mind splurging, the Long Island Railroad is another option for $8 (round-trip). Taxi? Costs much more (at least $30 from Manhattan)and takes just the same amount of time. Driving? Good luck finding cheap parking.
- If you are travelling in a group, make sure everyone has their ticket in their own possession. Don't hold someone else's ticket for them. If you were ever to get separated from your group without your ticket, trying to find one person amidst 23,000 or more people is not an easy thing to do.
- Hate the long line-ups at the East Plaza Gate (especially if you take the subway/train)? Take a walk down to the South Plaza Gate and you will find a significantly shorter line. While you are there, take a little detour and check out Unisphere and/or the rest of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.
- We all remember Pong. Essentially you get an overhead view of the two 'players' with the ball and net across the middle. If you want to see real players from a similar view, go to the mid-level of Louis Armstrong Stadium, and then walk over to the bridge over the west side of the grandstand. You will get a near-overhead view of the action, one that is much closer than those shots from the Goodyear blimp that we are all fond of on television.
- Leave your backpack at home or at the hotel. You won't be able to get on the grounds with it. If you are bringing that much stuff to the grounds, chances are, you are bringing way too much. Carry your stuff in, and find a bag inside the grounds, as many sponsors have bags you can get for free while supplies last. If you must bring a bag, make sure it is no larger than 12″ X 12″ X 16″ (your bag will be subject to search, which involves another longer line-up). See the 'Security Information Page' at the US Open website for further information. My personal suggestion to avoid all this hassle is to wear pants/shorts with lots of pockets (i.e. cargo style) and if necessary, hand-carry a jacket.
- The US Open isn't the only game in town in this city that never sleeps. For example, we ran into Brazilian Day festivities on the Avenue of the Americas. Enjoy New York and all it has to offer, with friends, family or loved ones. Who knows, maybe you will be the next to write about your experiences online.