US Open Tips

September 25, 2009

A few weeks ago my wife and I, accompanied by her mom and dad, made a trip to New York City for the US Open Tennis Championship. It was a blast. Here are a few things worth sharing that we learned during our three days.

1. Go the first week. The tournament is two weeks long. The first week I think is best to see live. You’ll see a lot of quality tennis in just a few days. We saw almost all of our favorite players and became fans of several others. We were there about ten to twelve hours each day.

2, Buy General Admission Tickets. Save your money on the expensive tickets. General Admission cost around $40. What you get for your money is access to every court in the place with the exception of Arthur Ashe. The super big stars play on Ashe but they can’t all play there at once! This means that some of the big names play on the smaller courts including Louis Armstrong and the Grandstand.

3. Download the iPhone app. Yes, there’s an app for that. Save your $7.00 for the days scheduled and download the free application.

4. Visit the side courts. We got to see a lot of tennis in just three days. Most of the best tennis was either in the Grandstand or Armstrong. However, it’s worth checking out the side courts just for the fact that you are so close.

5. Getting around in Armstrong. Up until a few years ago, this was the main stadium. I would also note that it is connected to the Grandstand and most night matches (besides Ashe) will be here.

  • Start with taking the stairs to the very top upper deck.
  • Check out the bathrooms up there; the aren’t crowded. Can’t say that about elsewhere on the grounds.
  • Easier access to refreshment stands. Cold beverages, good, etc.
  • From the upper deck one can come and go during sessions. Otherwise you have to wait until the change overs to be seated.
  • Once you’re In the upper deck you can  work your way down to better seats.
  • On a hot day there is a breeze up there which is oh so important when it’s really hot.
  • When you do venture down, remember that the west side seats have less legroom, east side more legroom.
  • The west side offers more shade on a sunny afternoon.

6. Tips on getting there. I should mention here that we stayed in Times Square. Wherever you are, take the subway. The gates at Flushing Meadows open at 10:00 AM. Play starts at 11:00 AM. The smart money (for us at least) was on leaving at 9:00 AM. There’s an express train from Times Square so visit mta.info.com before your trip and get familiar with the route. Each ride on the subway is $2.25 each so plan ahead and get your MTA card loaded with as many trips as you will use. When you read a subway map in the tunnels note that they read down. So, if you are on Wall Street and are trying to get to 34th Penn Station, 34th needs to be below Wall Street on the map.

7. Essential gear.

  • Hat.
  • Sunscreen.
  • Water bottle (& refill). Pay $10 for it there? That’s about as much as dinner for one on the grounds.
  • Cash and Credit.
  • Shoulder Bag. One strap only. Leave your backpack at home as they are banned. It’s not so odd. If you think this is weird, just think about all the rules at the airport.
  • Cliff Bars.
  • Camera with a good zoom.

I’m sure I left some good stuff out. Let me know if you have any questions.

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