Over my 48 years, I’ve done my fair share of travelling across these United States. I thought it would be an interesting experiment go look back at those trips to each of the 31 states I have visited (62% isn’t bad, is it?) and see if, and when, I may be returning. Working in alphabetical order, we continue today with the 11th state to be added to the Union: New York.
State: New York
Joined the Union: 1788
I’ve made three visits to the Empire State, two to New York City and one upstate.
My first visit to New York came in March of 2003, when the Cubs were scheduled to open their season in Queens against the Mets. After arriving at our Newark hotel, we took the train into Manhattan, meeting up with a friend of my traveling companion and grabbing a late dinner at the Tick Tock Diner across the street from Madison Square Garden. During the meal, plans were made to meet up again the following day for a tour of the city.
After a morning in Jersey, it was back to Manhattan, where we ditched the rental car at a church and headed out on foot for a tour of the city. Our first stop was Ground Zero, where we saw what remained of the World Trade Center a year and a half after 9/11. From there, we headed to Chinatown, where we hooked up with our friend from the night before, who scored box seats for Monday’s opening day tilt from the nuns that lived in her building, a welcome upgrade from the upper-level tix we had scored on eBay prior to leaving home. The rest of the day was spent walking around and seeing the sites, including a trip to St. Mark’s Comics. Eventually, we found our way back to the car and headed back to the hotel.
Monday morning was the big day and meant traveling from New Jersey across Manhattan, and then onto Long Island and into Queens to get to Shea Stadium. We listened to Howard Stern on his flagship station while working through traffic. Eventually, we arrived at Shea Stadium, where the newly acquired Tom Glavine, a future Hall of Famer, was on the mound for the Mets. He made it through 2 pitches before the crowd turned on him. Things quickly turned south for the Mets as the Cubs scored 4 runs in the top of the first on their way to a 15-2 victory, behind two home runs from Corey Patterson.
Following the game, it was time for the long drive home. Unfortunately, we were stuck in Queens and had to work our way west again with the afternoon’s traffic at its peak. We passed through the Bronx and Yankee Stadium as the hosts on sports radio WFAN were discussing the new YES network and the attempts to get picked up by cable networks in New York before the Yankees opened their season the next day. Eventually, we made it out of New York and were on our way back to Illinois.
My second trip to the state of New York came in 2015 as part of my vacation to Toronto. After a morning jaunt along Niagra Falls, my travelling companion and I headed back to the good old US of A, towards Cooperstown, NY, where the Baseball Hall of Fame beckoned. After heading to the center of town and parking at fabled Doubleday Field, we entered the museum. There aren’t enough words to describe all that was seen at the Hall of Fame. All of the baseball history you could shake a stick at, except for the portion covering the 70s through the current day, which had closed down for renovations that very day. Finally, we entered the Hall of Fame Gallery, housing the plaques honoring each player voted into the Hall. My first destination, after the centrally located first class, was the previous year’s electees, where I found both Frank Thomas and Greg Maddux. Continue reading →