Sunday, September 6, 2009

A fan's take on the US Open

With all due respect to the Mets [sarcasm], a first week US Open day session ticket is the best bang-for-your-buck in all of sports [seriously]. A $62 ticket got me 11 hours of live tennis on Friday. Planning back in June, I had no way to know that the better marquee matches would be played Thursday afternoon and Saturday afternoon, but it was still a good day. The US Open of course is located on the old World's Fair grounds adjacent to the Shea Stadium/Citi Field site.

One thing I observed was just lots of people. The US Open is out-drawing the Mets and setting attendance records on an annual basis now. They need to expand some of the side courts to handle the larger crowds during the first week. Fans can sit on small bleachers (2 or 3 rows deep) next to each side court (not including the main 3) on one side, and in some, both sides, to watch the action on that court (the other side is usually a larger set of bleachers for a couple hundered fans). these are nice because you can turn around and watch another court. Fine for small crowds, but there were some matches where the big bleachers were filled and the open side was swelled with people that fans were lined up on the top of the other set of bleachers to stand over the crowd and between was lined up 2 or 3 deep to try to watch that action. They really need to expand the seating area to fix that.

I'll get an album on webshots at some point.

Another thing I noted was about Arthur Ashe Stadium itself. Back in April, I had compared it to the brand new Citi Field, saying how generic-looking Citi Field was from the inside. Not a knock on Arthur Ashe Stadium, but one on Citi Field, since a baseball stadium belonging to a team should not have that generic look.

I also mentioned that the plexiglass safety barriers that Citi Field uses are similar to the ones at Ashe Stadium, which I've noted (maybe just to myself) create obstructions. I got to see Ashe Stadium in person for the first time since making those comparisons. In the tennis photo here, there is plexi glass behind the railing from the stairs. Both stadiums use a similar design with boxes below the concourse level and the regular seating above it, with stairs from the concourse up to the first row. Somehow, Ashe Stadium did it better.

While annonying at Ashe Stadium to have them, the two facilities are constructed around them differently, and they can block your view of lower seating and not the court by moving just 2 or 3 rows back, and not even block anything by moving just 5 or 6 seats away from the aisle. That's really not so bad. Citi Field has larger plexiglass and seats that are pitched differently and angeled differently that it causes more obstructions.

Here I'm able to move just a few seats over and this is not a problem. I don't remember being able to do that at Citi Field. Going 10 rows up at Ashe Stadium, this is a non-issue. Not at Citi Field.

A few other things - beware of the sun. It'll get you. Wear sunscreen and sunglasses if you have them. It's quicker to get in to the complex if you don't have any bag/purse at all, but if you must, small ones only. Their rule, not mine. Drink plenty of water and/or gatorade. Forget about the dollar cost. If you want to spent 10 hours there, you need it. Take mass transit. It's just easier, especially for the days when the Mets are home. If you're taking the (LIRR) train, they run all day. Just like after a Mets game, if the track-level platform fills up, they'll hold you and you may miss your connection at Penn Station. Actually, that was almost the case Friday night just after I got down there, along with the 8th inning departers from Citi Field.

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