Our Last Day in New York…

Our last full day in New York was going to be all about Brooklyn, at least the first 2/3 of the day. We got up fairly early, had some leftover pizza from Lombardi’s for breakfast and headed into the City.

Our first stop was to drop Yvonne off so she could walk the Brooklyn Bridge. After she got out of the car, I headed across to Brooklyn to wait for her. I knew I would have a decent amount of time because she said she wasn’t going to rush at all, I don’t blame her, so I drove around looking at things and then after a little while I had to go to the restroom so I started looking around for a place to go and thought about Junior’s in Flatbush. Junior’s is world famous for it’s cheesecakes. I have never had any, though we see it every year at Christmas time on QVC. I figured it was a great place to stop, so I did and OMG, the cheesecake is AMAZING! I had the strawberry cheesecake and it was simply the best I have ever had. As I was finishing up my slice Yvonne called to tell me she was almost off the bridge and to let me know where I could pick her up, so I headed that way to get her.

Once I had picked up the wife and got her something to drink, we decided to park the car and jump on the Brooklyn Loop of the double decker bus tours. As many times as we have both been to NYC and done the bus tours, neither of us have done the Brooklyn loop so we were both looking forward to it. However, it was easier said than done honestly as we parked by a library and walked up to the bus stop listed on their map. We stood there, in sweltering heat, for almost 30 minutes waiting til finally we could see a bus coming. It came and went right by us and down the block to the next corner where it stopped and people got off. By the time we tried to get there we missed it and it was on its way. This pissed me off, so I called the tour company and asked them what was up with that. The 3 people I talked to had no idea what was going on and why the bus didnt stop where it should have and told us to wait right there and another would be by in about 15 minutes. It was closer to 25 minutes before the next bus came pulling up and we were ready for it this time as it once again went right by us and down to the end of the block. Yvonne got there first and had them wait for me. When I got there I noticed that the top was jammed with people and the bottom only had a couple people there, so Yvonne went up top and I stayed down below. On a hotter than blue blazes day like it was this day this would normally be a good thing. However, the A/C on this bus was BROKEN! Man that sucked big time and as soon as I got the chance I climbed the small staircase up top to be able to get some air.

The Brooklyn Loop is pretty cool, I cant honestly say that I remember much about what the guide told us, thank goodness for pictures, but I do remember that after crossing one of the bridges back into Manhattan, we had to stop at the South Street Seaport and we were forced to switch buses. This put us in a line with a bunch of other people and people that evidently never grew up and don’t know what it means to stand in a line like adults as they kept crowding, pushing and shoving. Needless to say, we backed off, got something to drink and waited for the next one. The worst part of this is that we found out, thanks to the previous driver, that we were in the wrong line! Once we finally got in the right line it was just a matter of minutes before we got back on the bus and headed back into Brooklyn to complete the Brooklyn Loop of the tour.

We both had different things to do this night. Yvonne was going to go see “American Idiot” on Broadway and I was going to Citi Field for the Mets vs Cardinals game. We still had plenty of time though, so we decided to head out to “Coney Island” as neither of us had ever been there. The big pull for me to wanna go there was mainly so I could say “I’ve Been There!” and of course to have lunch at Nathan’s! 🙂

The drive out took longer than I thought it would honestly, but once we got there, found and paid for a parking spot and walked up to the boardwalk, it was worth it. I didn’t really care much for the rides and all that stuff, or for walking out on the sand to the water (Yvonne did), but to get to walk the boardwalk a little while and just look at things, was pretty cool. We eventually made our way back to the original Nathan’s and ordered up some lunch. I have been a fan of Nathan’s ever since I first tried them 5 years prior. To me they are without a doubt the best hot dog on the market. To get to have a couple where it all started was just simply awesome! This is also where every year at Noon EST on the 4th of July they hold the hot dog eating competition that can be seen on ESPN. After ordering our dogs, we went outside to find a table to sit and enjoy them. Man they were awesome! It eventually became time to leave as Yvonne had to get on the subway for her ride up into the City to see her musical and I was going to be driving up to Queens and Citi Field. As we got up from our table, I realized that our parking meter had about 2 minutes left on it and I had to go to the restroom. I opted to go first, then head to the car and as I got there, you betcha, I GOT A FREAKIN TICKET! It was written just 2 minutes after the meter expired. That tells me that someone was more than likely waiting for it to expire (btw, flash forward, I fought this one online last year as well and I never heard back from them on it. I explained that I am handicapped, my placard could be easily seen in the front window and how I had to use the restroom and was only a couple minutes late. Maybe they are ok with that as I never heard back from them.) For those scoring at home, or even if you are alone, that gives me 3 parking tickets on this trip (1 in DC and 2 in NY) for a total of $105 in fines! Let me also say that I have only got 1 parking ticket ever in my life and it was only for $10 and like 20 years ago. (flash forward, I got another one, this time for $30 in Olympia, WA… that trip jinxed me!).

The drive to the game at Citi Field was pretty uneventful, except that I did stop in Hollis, just so I could say “I’ve Been There!” when I hear Run-DMC’s “Christmas In Hollis”, love that song! 🙂

This was my 2nd game at Citi Field. My 1st was last summer with my buddy Bob. As I pulled up a couple things caught my attention. First off, to pay for parking they accept credit/debit cards. That is soooo awesome because I so very seldom carry cash on me. Secondly, my GPS was showing that I was driving in the middle of old Shea Stadium lol 🙂 Of course the parking lot I was about to park in was where Shea Stadium once stood. Guess this means it’s time to update my maps on my GPS. 🙂

What can really be said about Citi Field that hasn’t already been said? The entry rotunda is simple amazing. I do have 1 complaint about it though (there is always something, yeah?) and that is that to get to the main concourse you have to either go up an escalator or beg a ride on an elevator around the corner that is reserved for the “big wigs”. Both of my trips I have done the begging because I cant stand escalators (Thank you The Ballpark In Arlington!).

Once up on the main concourse I did my usual and started my walk around the park. I knew I wouldn’t be able to get a full game in tonight because I had to pick my wife up in Manhattan after her musical got over, but I should be able to get until the 7th Inning Stretch. I first stopped just to the 3rd base side of home plate and enjoyed a couple innings from that vantage point. From here I was able to get some pretty decent picture of not only the ballpark, but Albert Pujols as well. That guy is simply amazing. Was great getting to see him play live as I have only been able to a small handful of times.

After leaving that viewpoint I made my around the left field foul pole and out to the center field area. When I visit a ballpark I like looking for things that are unique to that park. One thing I spotted at Citi Field was a beer stand called “Beers Of The World”. While there really wasn’t any that I would want to drink (mainly because I have before and , well, not my thing), I still found it to be pretty cool that it wasn’t your usual Bud, Miller & Coors stand. As cool as this stand was, the best beer stand in all of the Major Leagues (in my opinion) is out in center field at Citi Field… “Big Apple Brews”! They have at least 40 different beers there to chose from. They are all bottled, which is neither here nor there really, but they are kinda spendy at $7.75 a bottle! That’s quite the mark up, however, everything at ball parks is expensive and at least you have the chance to try so many different beers if you want to. I opted for the Goose Island Honker’s Ale. I had had the Goose Island IPA earlier in the trip, so I thought I would try this offering from them. It wasn’t bad, but nothing I have to go in search of, really.

As I enjoyed my beer I continued my walk around the park and headed towards the right field foul pole. In center field, on your way to either right of left, there is a bridge there. It’s very cool looking and is there to celebrate the bridging of the old and new, between Shea Stadium and Citi Field. I think it was clever as it fits in so nicely considering all of the bridges in the NYC area.

Like I said earlier, this was my 2nd trip to Citi Field. I remember leaving after my first game there last summer and really raving about it. Citi Field has taken some heat and to the point that some people refer to it as “Shitty Field”. I am going to have to assume that it’s Yankee fans that do so and simply because it is not a huge as the new Yankee Stadium. Well, to me, that is a VERY good thing. See, at Citi Field, it actually feels like you are at a baseball stadium. Yankee Stadium is just so freakin’ massive that I have yet to have that kind of experience (I will, again, admit that my 1st run through Yankee Stadium it rained the entire time and we didn’t see a game. My 2nd it was a gray day and started storming in the 6th inning, so maybe that’s why I feel the way I do, I dunno). No matter what the reasoning is, I currently have Citi Field ranked as # 6 on my list of the “Top 30” 🙂

After a quick look at a clock I realized I had to rush things a bit and the game was running long (normally this would have been just fine with me), but since I had to pick up the wife, I had to get going. I finished up my walk around the park, rode the elevator back down to the ground level, took my usual “I’m a tourist” pictures, got in my car and left heading back into Manhattan.

The drive in took longer than I expected, with road construction and all, so after a couple calls with the wife, she met me a couple blocks from the theatre and we headed back to our hotel across the river in New Jersey.  This sadly concluded our trip to New York City. It was an awesome trip with seeing Wicked, a 3 hour limo ride, Citi Field, Yankee Stadium, had  some amazing food and so much more. We are already looking forward to returning to The Big Apple! 🙂

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