To kick off my Year of Baseball* Julie and I headed to New York on Friday for the Mets home opener at Citi Field. We got to the stadium a couple hours before gates opened so we could take in the scenery*** and hang out at the stadium bar so we were sure to get a bobble head. The game didn’t really turn out the way we would have wanted with the Nationals winning 6-2., I’ve yet to see a win at Citi Field but I always enjoy the food.
Julie and I actually kept score this time using the Eephus League Official Scorebook which was not nearly as complicated as I expected.
* Year of Baseball Stats:
Game No. 1
Stadium Opened: March 29, 2009
Food: Cheese Burger from Shake Shack, Fried Chicken Leg from Blue Smoke,
Beer: 1 Brooklyn Lager, 1 Miller Lite, 3 Budweiser,
Opponent: Washington Nationals
Pitchers: W: J. Zimmermann, L: R. Dickey
Miles From Home: 711.47
Ticket Face Value: $49
Seat Location: Section 424, Row 6, Seat 12
** The majority of these photographs were taken by Julie and the full set can be found at chicagometsfan.com.
*** If you’ve never been to Citi Field (or Shea Stadium for that matter) you’re truly missing the ambiance of Flushing, NY. The street that surrounds the stadium along the outfield is just a series of chop shops. It’s truly a site to see.
**** The View From My Seat.
***** Previous Mets home opener at Shea Stadium back in 2007.
This past trip to New York led Julie and I to Grant’s Tomb on the northwest side of Manhattan. As National Parks go this has to be the most low maintenance park in the country. There were three other people at the tomb while we were there and one of them was the Park Ranger. To say it was on a large scale would be an understatement. The entire building is basically one large room leading down to where Grant and his wife are held in these massive granite sarcophagi. The tomb is a little out of the way but well worth the trip if you’re in Manhattan looking to get off the beaten path.
* By far the most interesting part of the Tomb are the busts of Grant’s generals which sit on display around the sarcophagi. The one watching over Grant is of course William Tecumseh Sherman who once famously said:
“General Grant is a great general. I know him well. He stood by me when I was crazy, and I stood by him when he was drunk; and now, sir, we stand by each other always.”
This past weekend several gentlemen gathered in New York for my bachelor party. With everyone arriving at various times and coming from various points throughout the nation the airline gods for once shined upon us. James and I started the trip at the Waldorf Astoria drinking Manhattans and mingling with the Pharmaceutical Industry sans James Cameron. We ended the trip four days later watching an awkward teenager continually fall in a dramatic manner on the ice rink at Rockefeller Center. The basic plan was as follows:
Rendezvous on Thursday night, grab some drinks, then on Friday get to Blondies in enough time to snag a table for the remainder of the day and hold our ground until Josh and Luke arrived later in the evening. We then headed to a couple of bars before ending up at McAleer’s Pub for the Ohio State – UC Santa Barbara game and an epic arm wrestling match. On Saturday Rob and Dom arrived and we made our way to the Brooklyn Brewery (turns out our cab driver knew his way around Brooklyn as well as I do, which is to say he didn’t). Jim managed to score a table and some free wooden beer tickets from some ‘contacts’. By far the high point of the brewery, outside of the beer, would have to be seeing Chester B. Arthur and this guy. After the Brewery we marched on to Barcade for some vintage video game action before continuing on our Judgment Night-like march through Brooklyn. There were doubts but we did arrive at Peter Luger Steak House on time and James used his persuasive skills to get us seated. After dinner we headed to McSorley’s Old Ale House and used our chocalate golden coins as currency. Our night began to wind down at Spitzer’s Corner before eventually heading back to the hotel/german bar next door.
It took us a couple of tries to find the basketball game but when we did it was at McAleer’s. As you can see in the photograph there was a dispute that could only be settled by gentlemen. I’m pretty sure Josh let me win but then again Luke’s facial expression during my fist pump lets me believe it was a legitimate victory. The truth is probably somewhere in between.
Hanging out at the Brooklyn Brewery very well might have been the highlight of the trip for me. We had a large table which was key, the beer was great and most of it was free due to Jim’s contact who got us the table. The setup was much different than any of us expected, a large warehouse like room with picnik tables. We decided to skip the tour to make room for Barcade and make the most of our table while we had it.
Getting to Barcade and walking to Peter Luger’s was interesting enough. The walk included some of the props seen below. Barcade also has a great beer selection and we might have ordered some of the best pizza on the planet from Carmine’s Pizza. The games were probably better than the beer selection and that’s saying alot. I had some cast ale that Josh insisted on and it was great.
As Jim would say, James ‘out lawyered them’ and managed to get us into Peter Luger’s when there were some doubts about our reservation. In a word it was amazing. We probably ordered too much food but that would serve Josh and Nick well in the morning. The shrimp was the largest I’ve ever seen. Probably one of the most impressive feats of the weekend was Rob carring a bag of prime meat around New York for the next 5 hours.
McSorley’s being one of the older bars in the country is my kind of place. We scored a table in the back room via our Peter Luger chocolate coins and held our own for a good portion of the evening. I made sure to take care of Mikey as he ‘likes the sweets’. There were no speeches and the whole place was pretty cordial except for the girl who was holding a clinic on how to drink six beers simultaneously.
On both Thursday and Saturday night we ended up at Spitzer’s Corner since it was close to our hotel and had an extensive beer list. If I recall correctly we had the same waitress both nights but she cared much less for our humor the second time around.
In summary, I’d say we all had a good time. Clearly we weren’t shooting for your average bachelor party hence the walking tour of Brooklyn and the near uncanniness of being in so many bars during March Madness without televisions. As all trips to New York go we saw some baffling things which will never make sense and we overheard some intense conversations/domestic disputes.
Thanks to everyone who attended.
* The complete set of photographs are here.
**There is no reason for there to be such a thing as ‘seafood sausage’.