A New York State Of Mind

Once again, a little off topic…but I can’t resist. After baseball’s all star game this summer it dawned on me that venerable Yankee Stadium was going to be torn down at the end of the season this year and I’ve never been there. The temptation was too great, so I and my friend and client Gil Bergman flew back to New York on Monday of this week and saw the Yankees play the Red Sox on Tuesday night. I’ve been to New York several times but I never seem to get tired of it…it’s a truly amazing place. The experience there is like nowhere else, at least that I’ve ever been, and I just felt like chronicling some observations.

1) New York truly is the “City that Never Sleeps”. On our first night there we went down to Little Italy for dinner and I don’t think there was an empty seat in any restaurant on Mulberry Street…and this was on a Monday night! (Luckily I made reservations!) We stayed in mid town and when we went up to our room to crash I looked out the window at the outdoor patio restaurant 17 floors below us on 7th Avenue and noticed that every table was full…at 12:15AM! Did I mention that this was on a Monday night?

2) The portions in every restaurant we ate in were preposterously large. At the Carnegie Deli we had sandwiches that were at least 4 to 5 inches high. We had to eat half of the meat with a fork before we could pick it up. I had blueberry pancakes at a place called Norma’s on 57th Street that were the size of the dinner plates we use at home (3 of them in the order)…I could only eat half of them. After the game we split a slice of Cheescake that was the size of my shoe. I’ve been eating nothing but salads since I’ve been home! I feel like I should fast for the next couple of weeks straight!

3. People in New York are actually incredibly friendly and engaging. Everywhere we went people were talking about the Democratic Convention. On the subway, in the Hotels, on the street, at the Yankees game. When we went to have our cheesecake, at 11:00PM, the place we were had 2 TV’s on showing the DNC and most everyone there was watching it like they would the Super Bowl. Waiters were debating with diners. I found the level of engagement to be incredibly refreshing.

4. Yankee Stadium is obviously 85 years old. The central concourses feel like tunnels they’re so narrow, by our standards. On the Loge level where our seats were there are 3 men’s rooms, each of which is about the size of the one in my office. The place holds 57,000 fans. Didn’t people go to the bathroom in 1923? As for concessions, you can get hot dogs, bratwursts, peanuts, popcorn and cracker jacks. You can also buy Miller Lite, Coors Light, Bud and Bud Light. That’s about it…as far as I saw. I hate to say it…but I’m used to Crab sandwiches and caeser salads, lattes and Haagen-Daz, 20 clove garlic chicken sandwiches and garlic fries…and to top it off about 10 varieties of micro brewed beer and a glass of Pinot Grigio. That’s what they offer at AT&T park during Giants games. I’m clear that I’m a spoiled brat! Oh yeah, I’ve never been anywhere that had more knowledgable baseball fans. It was a real pleasure to just listen to the conversations around me during the game…these folks really know their stuff!

5. 20 or so years ago when I was in New York West 42nd Street was the sleeziest place imaginable. It was nothing but porn shops, strip bars and hookers. Now I could barely walk down the street because there are so many families with kids in strollers there. The street has become the family destination spot in all of Manhattan. There’s a large Century Theater multiplex, a Dave & BustersMadame Tussauds Wax Museum plus a number of other attractions for families…including a stage production of The Little Mermaid.

The Yankees lost the game we saw…but I think I’ll be a fan of New York for a long, long time.

Comments

  1. Jim – I’m a NY transplant. You are so right – there’s no other city that can compare to NY. I miss living and working in Manhattan. I remember going to see Shindler’s List for a midnight show. Got out at 3am and there was still plenty of people walking around. As diverse as the Bay Area is, it’s not even close to NY.

    Next time, go in the Spring and visit the street fairs in Manhattan. They can stretch more than a mile and it’s great to walk them and sample the different foods.

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