Monday, August 19, 2019

How to Be a Yankee Fan In Seattle -- 2019 Edition

Next Monday, the Yankees begin a series in Seattle, against the Mariners at T-Mobile Park.

Yes, the city in that photo really is Seattle. Yes, that really is a nice blue sky overhead. When the clouds part, and you can see Lake Washington and the Cascadia Mountains, including Mount Rainier, it's actually a beautiful city. It's just that it rains so much, such a sight isn't all that common.

Before You Go. Seattle is notorious for rain, but T-Mobile Park has a retractable roof, so the games will not be rained out. Before you go, check the websites of the Seattle Times and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer for the weather forecast. Right now, it looks like you might get away with no rain, and even nice weather: They're predicting the mid-70s for daylight and the high 50s for evenings, and hardly any chance of rain for any of the days. The roof might even be open.

Seattle is in the Pacific Time Zone, 3 hours behind New York. Adjust your timepieces accordingly.

There is high-speed passenger ferry service from Seattle to the Canadian city of Victoria, the capital of the Province of British Columbia. But it takes 2 hours and 45 minutes, and costs a bundle: $170 round-trip. (The scenery in Washington State and British Columbia is spectacular, and this is clearly part of what you're paying for.) From there, you can easily get to Vancouver. Currently, the exchange rate is US$1.00 = C$1.33, and C$1.00 = 75 cents.

If you want to make this trip, you will have to give confirmation within 48 hours of booking. And it's a passenger-only ferry service: No cars allowed. If you'd like to make a side trip to Vancouver, you're better off driving or taking the train. But any way you go over the border, you should have your passport with you.

Vancouver does have a baseball team, the Vancouver Canadians. Now a farm club of the Toronto Blue Jays, they've won their league's Pennant 11 times, including in 2017, and the Triple-A World Series in 1999.

The 5,157-seat Scotiabank Field at Nat Bailey Stadium is a classic, built in 1951 with support poles holding up an overhanging roof like old-time parks. But the team is no longer Triple-A: It's in the Northwest League, short-season Class A like the Staten Island Yankees and the Brooklyn Cyclones. "The C's" will be at home during the week in question.

Speaking of which...

Tickets. Unlike the Seahawks and Sounders, who sell out every home game, the Mariners are averaging 22,317 per home game this season, about 45 percent of capacity, and down nearly 6,000 from last season. Even for a game against the Yankees, getting tickets shouldn't be a problem.

Main Level Infield Boxes will set you back $120, Main Level Outfield Boxes $47, Upper Level "View Boxes" $45, View Reserved $32, and Bleachers $32 – and you'll be a lot closer than you would have been if you'd had similar seats at the Kingdome. The upper deck outfield seats in that concrete toadstool might as well have been in Calgary.

Getting There. It's 2,854 miles from Times Square to Pioneer Square in Seattle, and 2,856 miles from Yankee Stadium to T-Mobile Park. In other words, if you're going, you're going to want to fly.

After all, even if you get someone to go with you, and you take turns, one drives while the other one sleeps, and you pack 2 days' worth of food, and you use the side of the Interstate as a toilet, and you don't get pulled over for speeding, you'll still need over 2 full days to get there. One way.

But, for future reference, if you really, really want to drive... Get onto Interstate 80 West in New Jersey, and stay on that until it merges with Interstate 90 west of Cleveland, then stay on 90 through Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, into Wisconsin, where it merges with Interstate 94. Although you could take I-90 almost all the way, I-94 is actually going to be faster. Stay on I-94 through Minnesota and North Dakota before re-merging with I-90 in Montana, taking it through Idaho and into Washington, getting off I-94 at Exit 2B.

Not counting rest stops, you should be in New Jersey for an hour and a half, Pennsylvania for 5:15, Ohio for 4 hours, Indiana for 2:30, Illinois for 2 hours, Wisconsin for 3:15, Minnesota for 4:30, North Dakota for 6 hours, Montana for a whopping 13 hours (or 3 times the time it takes to get from New York to Boston), Idaho for 1:15 and 6:45 in Washington. That's 50 hours, and with rest stops, you're talking 3 full days.

That's still faster than Greyhound (69 hours, changing buses 5 times, in Pittsburgh, Chicago, Minneapolis, Billings and Spokane, $510 round-trip, though it can drop to $399 with advanced purchase) and Amtrak (70 hours, changing in Chicago, $596 before booking sleeping arrangements).

On Amtrak, you would leave Penn Station on the Lake Shore Limited at 3:40 PM Eastern Time on Friday, arrive at Union Station in Chicago at 9:50 AM Central Time on Saturday, and board the Empire Builder at 2:15 PM, and would reach King Street Station at 10:25 AM Pacific Time on Monday.

King Street Station is just to the north of the stadium complex, at S. King St. & 3rd Ave. S., and horns from the trains can sometimes be heard as the trains go down the east stands of CenturyLink Field and the right-field stands of T-Mobile Park. The Greyhound station is at 811 Stewart St. at 8th Ave., in the Central Business District, about halfway between the stadiums and the Seattle Center complex.

A round-trip, nonstop flight from Newark to Seattle, if ordered now, could be had on United Airlines for under $700. Link Light Rail can get you out of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac), and the same system has Stadium Station to get to T-Mobile Park and CenturyLink Field. The fare is $2.75.

Once In the City. Founded in 1853, and named for a Chief of the Duwamish Indians, Seattle is easily the biggest city in America's Northwest, with 700,000 people within the city limits and 4.5 million in its metropolitan area.
Just as Charlotte is called the Queen City of the Southeast, and Cincinnati the Queen City of the Midwest, Seattle is known as the Queen City of the Northwest. All its greenery has also gotten it the tag the Emerald City. 

With Lake Washington, Puget Sound, and the Cascade mountain range nearby, including Mount Rainier, it may be, on those rare clear days, America's most beautiful metro area.
The Times is Seattle's only remaining daily print newspaper. The Post-Intelligencer is still in business, but in online form only. This is mainly due to the high cost of both paper and ink, and has doomed many newspapers completely, so Seattle is lucky to still, sort of, have 2 daily papers.

East-west street addresses increase from Puget Sound and the Alaskan Way on eastward. North-south addresses are separated by Yesler Way. ZIP Codes in the State of Washington start with the digits 980 to 994. In Seattle proper, it's 980 and 981; and for the suburbs, 982, 983 and 984. The Area Code for Seattle is 206. Interstate 405 serves as Seattle's "beltway." The city's population is about 66 percent white, 14 percent Asian, 8 percent black, 7 percent Hispanic, and 4 percent Native American. Seattle City Light is their electric company.

Sales tax in the State of Washington is 6.5 percent, but in the City of Seattle, it's 9.5 percent. Off-peak bus fare in Seattle is $2.25. In peak hours, a one-zone ride (either totally within the City of Seattle or in King County outside the city) is $2.50 and a two-zone ride (from the City to the County, or vice versa) is $3.00. The monorail is $2.25. The light rail fares, depending on distance, are between $2.00 and $2.75. Fares are paid with a farecard, or, as they call it, an ORCA card: One Regional Card for All.
Although Seattle is the largest city in the State of Washington, the State Capitol is Olympia, 60 miles to the southwest. It can be reached from Seattle by public transportation, taking Bus 594 to Lakewood, and then transferring to Bus 620. It takes about 2 1/2 hours.
The Washington State House in Olympia

Going In. The official address of T-Mobile Park is 1516 First Avenue South. It is in a neighborhood called SoDo, for "South of Downtown." This led to M's fans saying their hyped-up but ultimately failed 2001 team had "SoDo Mojo."

First Avenue is the 3rd base side, the 1st base side is Atlantic Street/Edgar Martinez Drive, the left field side is Royal Brougham Way (Royal Brougham was not a car or a brand of booze, but the name of a Seattle sportswriter who championed the city as a site for major league sports), and the right field side is the railroad.
Parking is $20. With the ballpark being at the southern edge of downtown, if you drive in and park, you're likely to enter on the left field or 3rd base side.
Statue of Ken Griffey Jr. at home plate gate

It opened midway through the 1999 season. For its 1st 20 seasons of operation, the ballpark was known as Safeco Field, for an insurance company. But the naming rights ran out, and T-Mobile snapped them up. Unfortunately, their pink color scheme now pervades the ballpark, and it really clashes with Mariner blue & green.

Michael Kun and Howard Bloom, Red Sox fans and the authors of The Baseball Uncyclopedia, have said that Safeco is the best ballpark ever built, better than their beloved Fenway, mainly because it's more comfortable and convenient. It's certainly a far cry better than its predecessor, the hideous concrete King County Domed Stadium, a.k.a. the Kingdome (1976-2000).
But there are 2 things that I believe damage T-Mobile Park's atmosphere. Well, 3, counting the new pink corporate color scheme. The roof hanging over right field makes it look less like a ballpark and more like an airplane hangar. (The same effect is worse in Houston, worse still in Milwaukee, and worst of all in Phoenix.) And being next to King Street Station, you're going to hear almost as many train horns as you would hear planes in Flushing Meadow. But it's still a pretty good ballpark.

Seating capacity is 47,476. The field has always been natural grass (unlike the Kingdome, which used artificial turf), and asymmetrical, and points northeast. Outfield distances are as follows: 331 feet to left, 388 to left-center, 405 to center, 385 to right-center, and 326 to right. Home plate is the same one used at the Kingdome, so it's been in use since 1977.

Unlike the homer-happy Kingdome, T-Mobile is a pitcher's park, leading to Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez wanting to leave the Mariners, and convincing Felix Hernandez to stay. (Although it didn't convince Cliff Lee to stay. Randy Johnson was already gone by the time Safeco opened.)

Richie Sexson hit the longest home run at T-Mobile Park so far, a 467-foot shot in 2006. Mark McGwire hit the longest at the Kingdome, a 538-foot drive off Randy Johnson in 1997.
The Kingdome. It served its purpose, getting Seattle
into MLB and the NFL, and was thankfully replaced.

The Emerald Bowl, an end-of-season college football game, is played at T-Mobile Park. On March 2, 2002, it hosted a soccer game between the national teams of the U.S. and Honduras, and the U.S. won.

CenturyLink Field, formerly Seahawks Stadium and Qwest Field, home of the NFL's Seattle Seahawks and MLS' Seattle Sounders, is just to the north of T-Mobile Park, across Royal Brougham Way, on the site of the Kingdome. 

It is regarded as the loudest outdoor facility in the NFL (especially now that the Washington Redskins have left compact RFK Stadium and moved to their far less atmospheric stadium in the suburbs), and it has one of the better soccer atmospheres in the U.S. as well.

The U.S. soccer team has played at CenturyLink 5 times, and won them all, most recently a Copa America match with Ecuador on June 16, 2016. It also hosted the 2009 MLS Cup Final. It has been selected by the U.S. Soccer Federation as a finalist to be one of the host venues for the 2026 World Cup. CenturyLink is a telecommunications outfit, which bought similar company Qwest.
T-Mobile Park, with CenturyLink Field behind left field

Food. As a waterfront city, and as the Northwest's biggest transportation and freight hub, it is no surprise that Seattle is a good food city, with the legendary Pike Place Market serving as their "South Street Seaport." Fortunately, T-Mobile Park lives up to this.

They have the usual ballpark fare, and baseball-named stands like the Batter Up Bar at Section 6, Big League Burger at 106, High Cheese Pizza at 109, 132, 141, 241 & 329; Grounds Crew Espresso at 111, The Natural (I'm guessing organic, or at least food with no artificial flavors) at 131, the Asian-themed Intentional Wok at 132, Double Play Chicken & Sausage at 137 & 341, Grounders Garlic Fries (the snack made famous by the San Francisco Giants) at 148, 326 & 337; Bases Loaded at 212, the Hot Stove Broiler at 218, Frozen Rope Ice Cream at 313 & 330, Good Hops Beer (as opposed to "bad hops") at 320 & 330, the Sweet Spot at 332, and the Caught Looking Lounge behind the bullpen.

The Left Field Gate has a stand called Blazing Bagels, a seafood stand called the Way Back Crab Shack, and a bar called the Flying Turtle Cantina. There are local favorites like Ivar's Seafood & Chowder, and ShishkaBerry's chocolate-dipped strawberries. There's no Starbucks or Seattle's Best Coffee stand at T-Mobile Park, but the city's coffee-soaked reputation is backed up with Grounds Crew Espresso.

As far as I know, T-Mobile is the only ballpark that has a vegetarian-only concession stand, All American Vegetarian, under Section 132. The ING Direct Hit It Here Cafe is behind the right field fence and provides views of the field. In the tradition of Boog's Barbecue in Baltimore and Bull's Barbecue in Philadelphia, Mariner legend Edgar Martinez opened Edgar's Cantina at T-Mobile in 2017.

According to a recent Thrillist article on the best food at each MLB stadium, the best thing to eat at T-Mobile Park is Liege waffles -- Liege being a city in Belgium, a country known for its waffles among other things -- at Sweet Iron at Section 136.  

Former Yankee and Mariner 3rd baseman Mike Blowers, who grew up near Seattle and is now a Mariners broadcaster, started a food-related team tradition in 2007. During an Interleague game against the Cincinnati Reds, a fan tried to catch a foul ball along the right-field line, but instead spilled his tray of fries along the track. While chatting on the air and seeing the mishap, Blowers' partner, former WCBS-Channel 2 & WFAN announcer Dave Sims, suggested that Blowers should send a new tray of fries to the fan. 

Blowers agreed, and sent his intern to deliver a plate of fries to the man. During the next game, fans made signs and boards, asking Blowers for free fries as well. Coincidentally, every time the fries were delivered, the Mariners seem to score or rally from a deficit, and thus the Rally Fries were created.

This became so popular with the fans that signs were even seen when the Mariners were on the road, though Blowers doesn't award winners on the road. Sometimes, in the tradition of the game show Let’s Make a Deal, fans wear costumes to get Blowers' attention. Silly? Sure, but it beats the Angels' stupid Rally Monkey.

Team History Displays. The Mariners began play in 1977, and have never been to the World Series. There are only 2 teams in the 4 major North American sports that have waited longer to get to the Finals: The NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs (1967) and the NBA's Atlanta Hawks (who have played in Atlanta since 1968, and haven't reached the Finals since they were in St. Louis in 1961). If you count multiple cities, add the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals (1969/2005) and the NBA's Sacramento Kings (have only played in Sacramento since 1985 but haven't reached the Finals since they were the Rochester Royals in 1951, beating the Knicks).

Nevertheless, the Mariners have won 3 American League Western Division titles, in 1995, 1997 and 2001, and also won the AL's Wild Card in 2000. In 1995, they beat the Yankees in a remarkable AL Division Series before losing the AL Championship Series to the Cleveland Indians. In 1997, they lost the ALDS to the Indians. In 2000 they beat the Chicago White Sox, and in 2001 they beat the Indians. But in both 2000 and '01, they lost the ALCS to the Yankees. (Remember: 116 wins don’t mean a thing if you don't get that ring! Then again, we didn't get it that year, either.)

The 3 Division Title banners hang in right field. The one for 2001 mentions the 116 wins. There is also a single banner for all 3 ALCS berths.
There is no mention (as far as I know), anywhere in the stadium, of the achievements of the Mariners' Pacific Coast League predecessors, known as the Indians 1903-37, the Rainiers 1938-64 and again 1972-76, and the Angels 1965-68. Seattle won PCL Pennants in 1924, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1951 and 1955.

So if you count Triple-A Pennants won by current MLB cities, Seattle has waited longer for their next Pennant than any other city except Washington, D.C. (the 1933 Senators). And every other minor league city that has become a major league city, but one, has won an MLB Pennant since: Milwaukee won its 1st in 1957, Los Angeles in 1959, San Francisco in 1962, Minneapolis-St. Paul in 1965, Baltimore in 1966, Oakland in 1972, Kansas City in 1980, San Diego in 1984, Atlanta in 1991, Toronto in 1992, Miami in 1997, Phoenix in 2001, Houston in 2005, Denver in 2007, and Tampa Bay in 2008. The only other exception is Montreal, which came so close in 1981, and had another chance cut short in 1994, before their team was moved away in 2004.

Indeed, it can be said that Seattle is an underachieving city in sports, period. Until the Seahawks won the Super Bowl in early 2014, the city had won only 2 World Championships, ever: The 1917 Stanley Cup (I'll get to that in "Sidelights") and the 1979 NBA Championship. And since the SuperSonics' back-to-back Finals appearances in 1978-79, the city's only trips to the Finals had been the 1996 Sonics and the 2005-06 Seahawks, until the recent Seahawk Super Bowls.

There's a Mariners Hall of Fame display under the 3rd base stands. The 9 members are:

* 1984-91 1st baseman Alvin Davis.
1987-2004 designated hitter Edgar Martinez, now back as a coach.
1988-2001 right fielder Jay Buhner -- as a Yankee Fan, you may remember him.
* 1989-98 pitcher Randy Johnson.
* 1989-99 and 2009-10 center fielder Ken Griffey Jr.
1994-2005 catcher Dan Wilson.
1996-2006 pitcher Jamie Moyer.
* 1993-2002 manager Lou Piniella -- as a Yankee Fan, you definitely remember him.
* And Dave Niehaus, who broadcast for the M's from their 1977 debut until his death following the 2010 season.

There are also statues of Griffey behind the home plate gate, and of Niehaus on the center field concourse.
Johnson was the 1st player with significant production as a Mariner to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, but his plaque shows him wearing an Arizona Diamondbacks cap. Griffey became the 1st to go in with his plaque showing him wearing a Mariner cap. Martinez has followed him.

Although Gaylord Perry (who won his 300th game against the Yankees at the Kingdome in 1982), Goose Gossage, Rickey Henderson, manager Dick Williams and executive Pat Gillick have all been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, none have gotten in due to anything they did while employed by the Mariners' organization. Niehaus has been awarded the Ford Frick Award, considered the broadcasters' equivalent to Hall of Fame induction.

Griffey was also the 1st Mariner to have his number retired, 24. They have also 11 for Martinez, and the universally-retired 42 for Jackie Robinson. When they signed Robinson Cano in the 2013-14 off-season, they gave him 22, which he had worn for the Yankees until Roger Clemens' return, rather than the 24 he had been wearing for the Yankees.
Buhner's 19 has not been given out since they left the team. But Johnson's 51 was given out to Ichiro Suzuki, for whom it will likely be retired someday. The M's also have not issued Number 00 since Jeffrey Leonard left the club, as the number is worn by their mascot, the Mariner Moose. Previously, the Moose wore the year as his number, i.e. he wore 95 in the club's most iconic season.

In 1999, despite still being active and only 29 years old, Griffey was named to both The Sporting News' 100 Greatest Baseball Players and the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. In 2006, Mariner fans chose Griffey in a poll conducted for the DHL Hometown Heroes contest.

With neither Portland nor Vancouver having ever had a Major League Baseball team, and being far removed from even their American League Western Division rivals (Oakland, Anaheim, Dallas and Houston), the Mariners don't have a geographical rival. Given their Playoff history, it can be argued that the Mariners' biggest rivals are... the Yankees. 

Stuff. The main Team Store is located along the 3rd base side. Additional merchandise locations and novelty kiosks are open throughout the stadium during all home games. As far as I know, they don't sell hats resembling sailor's caps with the team logo on them, keeping with the "mariner" image; or hats resembling the antlers of the Mariner Moose, but if they do, I'll bet they're a big seller.

Having never been to the World Series thus far, the Mariners don't commemorate their history with many books, but there is an Essential Games of the Seattle Mariners DVD collection. It features only 4 games, as opposed to most of these (including the Yanks' and Mets') having 6: The 1995 AL West Playoff with the California Angels (as the Anaheim team was then officially known), forged when the Halos had an epic collapse and the M's an equally amazing comeback; 1995 ALDS Game 5 (known to us as Donnie Baseball's swan song), 2000 ALDS Game 3, and the 2001 AL West clincher against the Indians (not to be confused with the '01 ALDS clincher, also against the Indians).

There are books about the Mariners, in spite of their comparative lack of history. The staff of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer chronicled the club's most important season, the one that got fans to vote to get Safeco/T-Mobile built and save Major League Baseball in the Northwest, in A Magic Season: The Book on the 1995 Seattle Mariners

C.N. Donnelly wrote Baseball's Greatest Series: Yankees, Mariners, and the 1995 Matchup That Changed History. (It may not have been the greatest postseason series in baseball history, but it sure did change history: Not only did it save baseball in Seattle, but it forced the Yankees to make the changes that led to the 1996-2003 dynasty.) A more acerbic look at this glory-hungry franchise is Shipwrecked: A People's History of the Seattle Mariners, published in 2012 by Jon Wells.

During the Game. A recent Thrillist article on "Baseball's Most Intolerable Fans" ranked the Mariners' fans 20th -- just above the most tolerable 1/3rd of baseball fans. The article pointed out that...

The highlight of Mariners fandom was winning a divisional playoff game in 1995. People born after that game will be able to legally drink soon. There are kids in Seattle high schools right now who don't even remember the team being relevant. So M's fans are now made up of older people with revisionist history about how "fun" the Kingdome was, and younger people who go to Safeco and talk about the Seahawks. Seattleites have shown they can be great fans when a team even tries to win, but despite spending the GNP of Fiji on free agents, the Mariners haven't made a playoff push in over a decade. 

Well, there was the 116-win season of 2001, so a fan born in the last years of the Kingdome wouldn't remember that, either. But at least they don't remember how inadequate as a baseball facility the Kingdome actually was.

Wearing Yankee gear in Seattle, including inside T-Mobile Park, will not endanger your safety. Although Mariner fans hate the Yankees more than any other team, including their AL West opponents (the Angels, A's and Texas Rangers), they are generally nonviolent. Laid-back, even: When Clay Bennett bought the NBA's Seattle SuperSonics and moved them to Oklahoma City, there was a lot of sadness, but not much of a protest, even though the Sonics were the city's 1st major league sports team, had usually been good, and won what was then the city's last major championship.

None of these games against the Yankees will feature a promotion. The Mariners hold auditions for National Anthem singers, instead of having a regular. They don't have a lot to hold your attention during a game. They copy the Texas Rangers' Dot Race, the Milwaukee Brewers' Sausage Race, and the Yankees' Great City Subway Race, with an animated hydroplane race on the scoreboard, in honor of Seafair, held in Seattle every Summer. Each boat is sponsored by a local business.

Aside from the Rally Fries, there's no special "Get Loud" device, unless you want to count the playing of "Louie, Louie" by Northwest-based band the Kingsmen, which is played after "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" at the 7th Inning Stretch. Their postgame victory song is "Fire" by Seattle native Jimi Hendrix.

Since Edward McMichael, a.k.a. Tuba Man, died, there's been no really noticeable Mariner fans like New York cowbell men Freddy "Sez" Schuman and Milton Ousland (Yankees) and Eddie Boison (Mets).

In 2011, the Mariners' marketing staff came up with an idea to encourage the growing fanbase of "King Felix." (Funny, but I thought you had to have a crown to be a king. He's never even seen a postseason game except on television. In fact, since he got to Seattle, the Mariners have never even come close.) Every Hernandez start at T-Mobile is now accompanied by a King's Court section, a place for his fans to sing, dance and cheer while donning custom-made shirts. 

The team encouraged fans to dress like Larry Bernandez, Hernandez's alter ego from a Mariners TV Commercial, or show up in wacky costumes, rewarding the best with a ceremonial turkey leg. (The favorite snack of 16th Century English monarch King Henry VIII.)

Do they know this is a ripoff of a section at Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium, where fans used to wear werewolf masks and call themselves The Wolf Pack when Randy Wolf pitched for the Phillies? Those same fans also put on sombreros for Vicente Padilla and called themselves the Padilla Flotilla, and big fake mustaches for Sal Fasano and called themselves Sal's Pals. (Then again, Yankee Fans have done the same, with "Judge's Chambers" in right field for Aaron Judge.)

Fitting in with the Pacific Northwest's image, the team's mascot is the Mariner Moose. You may remember a real moose walking through the streets of Cicely, Alaska in the opening sequence of the TV show Northern Exposure. That sequence was filmed in Roslyn, Washington, 82 miles down I-90 to the southeast of T-Mobile.

You may also remember that, during the 1995 ALDS between the Yanks and M's, the Moose was doing the artificial-turf equivalent of water-skiing behind an ATV, when he lost control and his rollerblades led him to crash into the outfield wall, breaking his ankle. He continued performing on crutches (though not doing the skating) through the rest of the Playoffs. He wore Number 95 at the time, matching the year, but has worn Number 00 since 2000.
The Moose with his pals: Squatch,
of the now-lost SuperSonics, and Blitz of the Seahawks.

After the Game. SoDo is not an especially high-crime area, and, as I said, Mariner fans do not get violent. You might get a little bit of verbal if you're wearing Yankee gear, but it won't get any worse than that.

Two bars are usually identified with Mariners and Seahawks games. Sluggers, formerly known as Sneakers (or "Sneaks" for short), is at 538 1st Avenue South, at the northwest corner of CenturyLink Field. A little further up, at 419 Occidental Avenue South, is F.X. McRory's. Keep in mind, though, that these will be Mariner-friendly bars.

As for Yankee-friendly bars, while there are Yankee Fans everywhere, I couldn't find anything specific on the Internet. I've been told that the following are good for football Giants fans, but I cannot confirm any of these: Buckley's (232 1st Ave. W. at Thomas St.), Goldie's (2121 N. 45th Street), the Lucky 7 Saloon (12715 NE 124th Street in Kirkland) and Big Daddy's Place (13420 NE 177th Place in Woodinville). 

Buckley's is just to the west of Seattle Center, near the waterfront. The rest are a fur piece from T-Mobile or even downtown: Goldie's is 6 miles north of the ballpark, the Lucky 7 is 18 miles northeast, and Big Daddy's is 22 miles northeast.

If you visit during the European soccer season, which is once again upon us, the leading "football pub" in the Pacific Northwest is The George and Dragon Pub, 206 N. 36th Street, 5 miles north of downtown. Bus 40.

Sidelights. On November 30, 2018, Thrillist published a list of "America's 25 Most Fun Cities," and Seattle came in 11th. Aside from the Seattle Center and the T-Mobile/CenturyLink complex, Seattle doesn't have a lot of sports sites worth mentioning. But there are places that should be mentioned.

* Sick's Stadium. The PCL team played 2½ miles southeast of T-Mobile Park, first at Dugdale Field (1913-1932) and then at Sick's Stadium (1938-68 and 1972-76, built by Rainiers' owner Emil Sick). The Seattle Pilots also played at Sick's, but lasted only one year, 1969, before being moved to Milwaukee to become the Brewers, and are now chiefly remembered for ex-Yankee pitcher Jim Bouton's diary of that season, Ball Four.
The book gives awful details of the place's inadequacy: As an 11,000-seat ballpark, it was fine for Triple-A ball in the 1940s, '50s and '60s; expanded to 25,420 seats for the Pilots, it was a lousy place to watch, and a worse one to play, baseball in anything like the modern era.

Elvis Presley sang at Sick's on September 1, 1957 (since it had more seats than any indoor facility in town); supposedly, Hendrix, then 15, was there. A few days prior, Floyd Patterson defended the heavyweight title there by knocking out fellow 1956 Olympic Gold Medalist Pete Rademacher.

Demolished in 1979 after the construction of the Kingdome (whose inadequacies were very different but no less glaring), the site of Sick's Stadium is now occupied by a Lowe's store. 2700 Rainier Avenue South, bounded also by McClellan & Bayview Sts. & Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Mount Baker station on the Link light rail system.

Husky Stadium. The home of the University of Washington football, the largest stadium in the Pacific Northwest (including Canada) is right on Lake Washington, and is one of the nicest-looking stadiums in college football. A rare feature in major college football is that fans can dock right outside and tailgate by boat.  (The only others at which this is possible: Neyland Stadium at the University of Tennessee, and Heinz Field for University of Pittsburgh games.)

It opened in 1920, making it the oldest stadium in the Pacific-12 Conference. The Seahawks played a few home games here in 1994, after some tiles fell from the Kingdome roof, and played their games here in 2000 and 2001 between the demolition of the Kingdome and the opening of what's now CenturyLink Field. In 1923, it was the site of the last public speech given by President Warren G. Harding before his death in a San Francisco hotel.

A major renovation was recently completed, necessary due to age and the moisture from being on the water and in Seattle's rainy climate. Pretty much everything but the north stand of the east-pointing horseshoe was demolished and replaced.

The Huskies played the 2012 season at CenturyLink, and moved into the revamped, 70,138-seat Husky Stadium for the 2013 season. Rutgers University will play its 1st game of the 2016 football game against Washington here, on Saturday, September 3. 3800 Montlake Blvd. NE, at Pacific Street. Light Rail to University of Washington Station.

* Edmundson Pavilion. Adjacent to Husky Stadium, at 3870 Montlake, is Alaska Airlines Arena at Clarence S. "Hec" Edmundson Pavilion, the home of "U-Dub" basketball since 1927. Hec was the school's longtime basketball and track coach, and "Hec Ed" hosted the NCAA Final Four in 1949 (Kentucky over Oklahoma A&M, the school now known as Oklahoma State) and 1952 (Kansas over St. John's). It has also hosted the State of Washington's high school basketball finals.

UW has been to the Final Four only once, in 1953, although they've won the regular-season title in the league now called the Pac-12 11 times, including 2012; and the Conference Tournament 3 times, most recently in 2011. Washington State, across the State in Pullman, reached the Championship Game in 1941, but hasn't been back to the Final Four since.

The Kingdome hosted the Final Four in 1984, Georgetown over Houston; 1989, Michigan over Seton Hall; and 1995, UCLA over Arkansas. It also hosted 3 U.S. soccer team matches: A win, a loss, and a draw; and Soccer Bowl '76, a 3-0 win by the Toronto Metros over the Minnesota Kicks.

* Tacoma Dome. The Sonics used this building during the 1994-95 season, as the Seattle Center Coliseum was demolished and the KeyArena put up in its place. Opening in 1983, it seats 17,100, and its most common use has been for minor-league hockey and concerts. 2727 East D Street, about 32 miles south of downtown Seattle. It can be reached from downtown Seattle by Bus 590, 592, 594 or 595, and it would take about 45 minutes.

The night Elvis sang at Sick's Stadium, September 1, 1957, he gave an afternoon concert in Tacoma, at the Lincoln Bowl, the football stadium of Lincoln High School. 707 S. 37th Street. The day before, he sang across the State, at Memorial Stadium in Spokane. He returned to Spokane to sing at their Coliseum on April 28, 1973 and April 27, 1976.

The Spokane Coliseum, at Boone Street and Howard Avenue, seated 5,400, lasted from 1954 to 1995, and was replaced by the 12,200-seat Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena, across the street. It's home to minor-league hockey's Spokane Chiefs, who, despite not being in Canada, won their junior hockey championship, the Memorial Cup, in 1991 and 2008. 720 W. Mallon Avenue. Spokane is 280 miles east of Seattle.

* Seattle Ice Arena. The Seattle Metropolitans played in the Pacific Coast Hockey Association from 1915 to the league's folding in 1926, and won 5 league championships: 1917, 1919, 1920, 1922 and 1924. In 1917, they defeated the National Hockey Association champion Montreal Canadiens, and became the 1st American team to win the Stanley Cup. This would be Seattle's only world title in any sport for 62 years.

They played at the Seattle Ice Arena, which seated only 4,000 people, and was demolished in 1963. The IBM Building, a typically tacky piece of 1960s architecture, now stands on the site. 1200 Fifth Avenue at University Avenue, downtown.
* Seattle Center and Key Arena. Erected for the 1962 World's Fair (as seen in the Elvis film It Happened At the World's Fair), Seattle Center, north of the sports complex at 400 Broad St. at John St., includes the city's trademark, the Space Needle. Admission is $22, less than the cost of the Empire State Building, and it's open 'til 11:00 PM, with great views of the region's natural splendor.

Seattle Center also has the Pacific Science Center (think of it the Northwest's version of the American Museum of Natural History and its Hayden Planetarium), the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame (not sure why Seattle was chosen as the Hall's location, although the city is a major aerospace center).

Also in this complex is Memorial Stadium, a high school football stadium built in 1946. It used to host the old North American Soccer League version of the Sounders, and now hosts the women's soccer team, the Seattle Reign. On June 24, 1975, it hosted a game between the national teams of the U.S. and Poland, ending in a draw.

Also in this complex is the site of the arena that was once home to the NBA's SuperSonics and the WNBA's Seattle Storm. The Storm's Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson were named to the NBA's 20th Anniversary 20 Greatest Players in 2016. A high school football stadium is also on the site. Number 33 bus, although the nearest Link station is several blocks' walk away.
The 1st arena on the site, the Seattle Center Coliseum, stood from 1962 to 1994. Elvis sang there on November 12, 1970; April 29, 1973 (2 shows); and April 26, 1976. The 2nd, the KeyArena, stood from 1995 until last year. It is now being redeveloped as a home for the NHL expansion team that will begin play in the 2021-22 season, and, the city hopes, a new version of the Sonics.

On May 12, 2014, the New York Times printed a story that shows NBA fandom by ZIP Code, according to Facebook likes. With the loss of the Sonics, Seattle fans not only refused to accept their former heroes as Oklahoma City Thunder (Thunders? Thundermen?), but also refused to accept the next-closest team, their former arch-rivals, the Portland Trail Blazers, 171 miles away, as their new team. They seem to divide their fandom 4 ways, none of which should surprise you: The Chicago Bulls, the Los Angeles Lakers, the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat. But if Seattle should ever get another team, these fans would certainly get behind the new Sonics.

At 967 feet high, Columbia Center, a.k.a. The Black Tower, is the tallest building in the Northwest, and, for the moment, the tallest building in North America west of the Rocky Mountains except for the U.S. Bank Tower in Los Angeles. (A building going up in San Francisco, and another in Los Angeles, are both expected to top the Black Tower by 2017.) If you're wondering about Seattle's most famous icon, the Space Needle was once the tallest structure west of the Mississippi River, but at 605 feet it is well short of the Black Tower.

Aside from Seattle Center and its Space Needle, and the stadiums, Seattle's best-known structure is the Pike Place Market. Think of it as their version of the South Street Seaport and Fulton Fish Market. (Or Philadelphia's Reading Terminal Market, Baltimore's Harborplace, or Boston's Quincy Market/Faneuil Hall.) It includes the 1st-ever Starbucks store, which is still open. Downtown, 85 Pike Street at Western Avenue.

If Seattle ever got a new NBA team, it would rank 17th among NBA metro areas in population. It would also rank 17th in the NHL. Until the new NHL team begins play, the closest NHL team is the Vancouver Canucks, 144 miles away. According to an article in the January 8, 2016 edition of Business Insider, the Canucks are the most popular NHL team in the State of Washington.

Aside from the Pacific Science Center and the Science Fiction Museum, Seattle isn't a big museum city, although the Seattle Art Museum, at 1300 1st Avenue at University Street, might be worth a visit.

The State of Washington has never produced a President, so there's no Presidential Library. Senator Henry M. "Scoop" Jackson ran for the Democratic nomination in 1972 and 1976, but didn't get particularly close. The State's never produced a Vice President, either. Thomas S. Foley served a District centered on Spokane in Congress from 1965 to 1995, and was Speaker of the House of Representatives from 1989 to 1995.

The TV show Northern Exposure was filmed in the State of Washington, and Twin Peaks was both filmed and set there: The former in Roslyn (hence, Roslyn's Cafe), about 85 miles southeast of downtown Seattle; the latter in North Bend, about 30 miles east. The science-fiction series Dark Angel, which vaulted Jessica Alba and NCIS' Michael Weatherly to stardom, was set in a dystopian future Seattle, but was filmed in Vancouver. So was The X-Files. So was Millennium. So was Kyle XY. So was Smallville, but that wasn't meant to be Seattle.

Arrow, about another superhero, is filmed in Vancouver, and, perhaps due to Green Arrow wearing a green costume, I've often thought of his hometown of Star City (renamed Starling City on the show) as being DC Comics' analogue for Seattle. While Frasier was set in Seattle, and Grey's Anatomy still is, there were hardly any location shots. The same is true for Here Come the BridesThe 4400 and
iCarly.

The most obvious film made and set in Seattle is Sleepless in Seattle, and the city was home to Matthew Broderick's and Ally Sheedy's characters in WarGames (in which Broderick's computer hacking has much greater consequences than it would 3 years later in the Chicago-based Ferris Bueller's Day Off).

Singles came along in 1992, at the height of grunge and the rise of Starbucks, which helped make Seattle the hippest city in the country in the years of George Bush the father and Bill Clinton's 1st term -- or, as Jason Alexander put it shortly thereafter on Seinfeld, "It's the pesto of cities." It also reminded us of how good an actor Matt Dillon is, how gorgeous Kyra Sedgwick is, and that Bridget Fonda (daughter of Peter, niece of Jane and granddaughter of Henry) and Campbell Scott (son of George C. and Colleen Dewhurst) were worthy of their genes.

There's also been It Happened at the World's Fair (Elvis playing a visitor to the 1962 Fair), McQ
(John Wayne as a present-day cop in one of his last films, in 1974), The Parallax View, Stakeout, Black Widow, The Fabulous Baker Boys, My Own Private Idaho, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, The Crush, Harry and the Hendersons, 10 Things I Hate About You, Agent Cody Banks, and the Fifty Shades series. An Officer and a Gentleman was filmed at the naval base in nearby Bremerton.

In spite of all the rain it gets, Seattle has a beach! Alki Beach is on a peninsula that forms West Seattle, and the ferries to Bremerton and Bainbridge pass in front of it. 1702 Alki Avenue SW, about 6 road miles from Pioneer Square. Bus 56.

*

So, if you can afford it, go on out and join your fellow Yankee Fans in taking over the Mariners' ballpark. And if they bring up 1995, feel free to bring up 2000 and 2001.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

How to Go to a Giants or Jets Game at the Meadowlands -- 2019 Edition


A new football season will soon be upon us, the 100th Season of the National Football League.

Despite my disillusionment over the game -- brought about by the frustrations over the poor performances of the football teams at East Brunswick High School and Rutgers University, the fecklessness of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, the cheating of the New England Patriots, and seeing what the game of football has done to men, including to their brains...

On Sunday, September 8, at 1:00 PM, the New York Jets kick off the regular season, at home at MetLife Stadium, in the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, Bergen County, New Jersey, against the Buffalo Bills. Later that afternoon, at 4:25 PM, the New York Giants kick off, away to the Dallas Cowboys. They play each other on Sunday, November 10, with the Jets as the designated home team, and thus with the season-ticket fan advantage.

*

I bring you my updated guide for how to go to an NFL game at the Meadowlands. This is, of course, less for those of you who are Tri-State Area fans, more for those of you visiting from other cities/metropolitan areas.

As I did last year, I'm doing this for the New York Giants and the New York Jets at the same time, and I'll also be doing this for each of their 2019 away opponents, including (should either team, or both, make it) any teams they go away to in the Playoffs.

According to a map based on Facebook "Likes," showing each County in the country, until 2013, the Jets had just one County where they had more fans than the Giants: Nassau County, Long Island, which had long been the location of their team offices and training camp, Weeb Ewbank Hall on the campus of Hofstra University, across from the Nassau Coliseum.

Now, even Nassau is listed as majority Giants territory. I guess Sports Illustrated had it right in 1986, when the Giants were on their way to their 1st Super Bowl win and the Jets were also Playoff-bound.
For those of you not old enough to remember the 1980s,
those really are professional football players of the time,
not the leaders of a gangsta rap group and a hair metal band.

Before You Go. In New York and North Jersey, anything is possible as far as the weather goes, but there are some usuals. It can get really hot early in the season, really cold from November on out, and the biggest thing wrong with Giants Stadium, the wind, wasn't fixed for MetLifeStadium, even with $1.6 billion at their disposal. So be aware of the possibility of any kind of weather. Check the newspaper or local TV websites for the forecast before you decide what to wear.

It's the Eastern Time Zone, so you don't have to worry about fiddling with your timepieces if you actually are a Giants fan, or a Jets fan, or a fan of any of the teams in the East visiting them this season. For the Giants, those teams would be: The Philadelphia Eagles and the Washington Redskins.
For the Jets: The New England Patriots, the Buffalo Bills, the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers. And for both teams: The Buffalo Bills and the Miami Dolphins.

It's 1 hour ahead of the Central Time Zone, from which the Giants are hosting the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings, and both teams are hosting the Dallas Cowboys.

It's 2 hours ahead of Mountain Time, and only the Arizona Cardinals are coming in from that Zone, to play the Giants. It's 3 hours ahead of Pacific Time, and only the Oakland Raiders are coming in from there.

Tickets. The games are usually sold out well in advance, with all 82,566 seats sold (if not actually occupied during the game). This is in spite of the fact of the familiar joke that the only reason anyone goes to Jet games is that they can't get tickets to Giant games.

That joke may no longer apply: In 2018, finishing an awful 5-11, the Giants averaged 76,940 fans per home game, about 93 percent of official capacity. The Jets, only 4-12, got more, 77,982, or 94 percent. It was the 2nd season in a row that the Jets outdrew the Giants. Pro-Football-Reference.com doesn't have a record, but that was probably the 1st time since the Giants were in their 1973-74 New Haven exile that the Jets got more per game.


Since both teams' games usually come close to a sellout, you may have to go to a source other than the team's website or Ticketmaster: The NFL Ticket Exchange, StubHub, Seatgeek, sites like that.

As with Giants Stadium, MetLife Stadium has 3 main decks. In the lower and middle levels, expect to pay $184 on the sidelines, and $162 in the end zones. In the upper level, $135 sidelines, $125 end zones.

Getting There. For reasons that will soon become clear, I'm advising you to get to New York/New Jersey by a means other than driving: Plane, train, bus. Then get a hotel nearby (there are several near both Newark Airport and the Meadowlands Sports Complex), and then either get a rental car or take public transportation (especially the latter if you're actually staying in New York City).

If you're driving, here's how to get to MetLife Stadium by car: 

* From New York City itself: Take the Lincoln Tunnel, which will empty out onto New Jersey Route 3, which will take you directly to the stadium. With regular traffic, it should take you 20 minutes from entering the tunnel to getting off Route 3. This will not be regular traffic, and you should avoid this at all costs. Better to take New Jersey Transit, as I'll explain in "Going In."


* For fans of the New England Patriots: It really depends on what part of New England you're starting from.
** From Cape Cod, Rhode Island and eastern Connecticut: Take I-95 South the whole way.
** From northern Connecticut, western Massachusetts and Vermont: Take Interstate 91 South until you reach New Haven, and then follow the preceding directions.
** From Boston: Take Interstate 90/Massachusetts Turnpike West to Exit 9, take Interstate 84 West to Hartford, take Exit 86 onto I-91, and then follow the preceding directions.
** From New Hampshire: Take Interstate 93 South until you get to Interstate 495, and take that until you get to the Pike, and then follow the directions from Boston.
** From Maine: You could take I-95 all the way, but it will probably be faster if you take it to I-495, and then follow the directions from New Hampshire.
** Once you get into New York City, cross over the George Washington Bridge, then get on the New Jersey Turnpike South, and take Exit 16W, and follow the signs for the stadium.
** The time you will need will also vary, depending on what part of New England you start from, but, from Boston, figure on at least 4 hours; northern New England, at least 5 hours. Counting a rest stop, count on at least 5 hours.

For fans of everybody else going to the Meadowlands this regular season, these are listed in order from least driving time to most:

* Philadelphia Eagles: Get into New Jersey and take the Turnpike North to Exit 16W, and follow the signs for the Stadium. About 1 hour and 45 minutes.

* Washington Redskins: Get on Interstate 95 North, and then take it to the Delaware Memorial Bridge, where it will flow into the New Jersey Turnpike, and follow the directions from Philadelphia. About 3 hours and 45 minutes. With a rest stop, probably at least 4 and a half hours.

* Buffalo Bills: The simplest way is to get on I-90, the New York State Thruway East, to Syracuse, then take Interstate 81 South to Scranton, switch to Interstate 380 South, to Interstate 80 East, then take that to Exit 53 for New Jersey Route 3, and take that to the Stadium. About 6 hours, maybe 8 hours with rest stops.


* Pittsburgh Steelers: Take Interstate 76, the Pennsylvania Turnpike, East to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, then take Interstate 78 East to the New Jersey Turnpike North to Exit 16W, and follow the signs for the Stadium. About 6 hours, maybe 8 hours with rest stops.

* Cleveland Browns: Take Interstate 480 East until it flows into I-80, and then follow the directions from Buffalo. About 7 hours, maybe 10 hours with rest stops.

Green Bay Packers: Take Interstate 43 South to Milwaukee, then, I-94 South to Chicago, and then follow the directions from there. About 15 and a half hours, around 21 hours with rest stops.

* Miami Dolphins: Take I-95 North to Jacksonville, and follow the directions from there. About 18 and a half hours, around 25 hours with rest stops.

* Minnesota Vikings: Take I-90 East to Chicago, and follow the directions from there. About 18 and a half hours, around 25 hours with rest stops.

* Dallas Cowboys: Take Interstate 20 East until you reach Atlanta, and then follow the directions from New Orleans. About 24 hours, maybe 30 hours with rest stops.

* Denver Broncos: Take Interstate 76 East to Big Springs, Nebraska, then I-80 East, then follow the directions from Chicago. Around 26 hours, at least 35 hours with rest stops.

Arizona Cardinals: Take Interstate 17 North to Flagstaff, then Interstate 40 across Arizona, New Mexico, and the Texas Panhandle to Oklahoma City. There, take Interstate 44 East to St. Louis. There, take Interstate 70 East across Illinois, Indiana and Ohio to Pennsylvania, and then follow the directions from Pittsburgh. About 36 hours, at least 48 hours with rest stops.

Oakland Raiders: Take I-80 all the way into New Jersey, to Exit 53 for Route 3, and take that to the stadium. About 42 hours, at least 56 hours with rest stops.

Be advised that traffic around the stadium is going to be hellacious, even though (unless you're foolish enough to drive to a New York hotel) you'll never actually be entering New York City. So, whatever driving time I gave you, allow yourself at least half an hour to get from Exit 16W to your parking space.

Once In the City. East Rutherford is a Borough of 9,164 people in Bergen County, New Jersey. Its most famous native is basketball announcer Dick Vitale. If not for the Meadowlands complex, which opened in 1976 with Giants Stadium and the Meadowlands Racetrack, added the arena now named the IZOD Center in 1981, and replaced the Stadium with MetLife in 2010, it might very well be best known for producing Dickie V, bay-bee! It's not like, aside from the Complex, there's anything noticeable about the town.


So if you're flying in, and your hotel isn't at the Complex or by the Airport, most likely, you'll be staying in Manhattan -- a.k.a. The City. Even people from Queens and Staten Island, which are in New York City, call Manhattan "The City." Be advised, though, that hotels are going to be cheaper in the "Outer Boroughs," and cheaper still in New Jersey, Long Island and Westchester.

Pennsylvania Station, a.k.a. Penn Station, is between 31st and 33rd Streets, between 7th and 8th Avenues. Port Authority Bus Terminal is between 40th and 42nd Streets, between 8th and 9th Avenues. They are one stop apart on the Subway's A, C and E trains. Outside Port Authority, there is a statue of Jackie Gleason dressed as bus driver Ralph Kramden on The Honeymooners, one of a series of statues commissioned by cable network TV Land (but the only one of these anywhere near New York).

The 7th Avenue entrance to Penn Station
and Madison Square Garden

When you get to your hotel, Penn Station or Port Authority, go to a Hudson News stand and pick up copies of The New York Times and the Daily News. Don't read the New York Post. Like anything owned by Rupert Murdoch, it's a bunch of right-wing lies with an occasionally good sports section added. The Times and the Daily News, however, are not only manned by responsible journalists, but have great sports sections.

The Times is the face New York City likes to show the rest of the world. The Daily News is the face the City prefers to show itself. The Post is a face only a mother could love. Not my mother, though. Nor hers. 

The sales tax in New York City is 8.875 percent, in New Jersey 7 percent. Consolidated Edison, or "Con Ed," runs the City's electricity; Public Service Electric & Gas (PSE&G) does it for North Jersey.

The city of New Amsterdam, and the colony of New Netherland, was founded by the Dutch in 1624. In 1664, the English took over, and named both city and colony New York, for the Duke of York, brother of King Charles II. As none of Charles' many children were legitimate, when he died in 1685, that brother became King James II -- and his reign did not end well, and let's leave it at that.

New York County, a.k.a. the Borough of Manhattan, was also named for James. "Manahatta" was an Indian word meaning "island of many hills." Kings County was named for King Charles, but the Dutch name Breuckelen stuck, and it became the City, and after 1898 the Borough, of Brooklyn. Queens County, or the Borough of Queens, was named for King Charles' Portuguese wife, Catherine of Braganza. Richmond County was named for one of Charles' sons, Charles Lennox, Earl of Richmond, but the Dutch name Staaten Eylandt stuck, and it became the Borough of Staten Island. And Jonas Bronck settled the land north of Manhattan, which became known as Bronck's Land, which somehow morphed into "The Bronx." Apparently, the "The" became attached because of the Bronx River that passes through it, as rivers are still frequently called that: The Hudson is, although never "The Harlem" or "The East." Anyway, it's the Borough of The Bronx and Bronx County.



So where does the City's nickname, the Big Apple, come from? There are plenty of theories, including a debunked one about a brothel owner named Eve. In his 1909 book The Wayfarer in New York, Edward S. Martin wrote, "Kansas is apt to see in New York a greedy city... It inclines to think that the big apple gets a disproportionate share of the national sap." But this earliest known usage didn't catch on.

John J. Fitz Gerald, horse racing reporter for the New York Morning Telegraph, first used it on May 3, 1921: "J.P. Smith, with Tippity Witchel and others of the L.T. Bauer string, is scheduled to start for 'the big apple' to-morrow." He used it frequently thereafter. Supposedly, jazz musicians soon took it up, and spread the name across the country. Variations include Los Angeles as the Big Orange and Tampa as the Big Guava.

New York has been the most populous city in America since surpassing Philadelphia in the post-Revolutionary period, and now has about 8.6 million people living in the Five Boroughs. About 23.9 million live in the New York Metropolitan Area, a.k.a. the New York Tri-State Area.

New York has a street grid, but doesn't quite follow a centerpoint system. For the east-west numbered Streets, below Washington Square Park, Broadway is the divider between the East Side and the West Side; above Washington Square to the Harlem River, it's 5th Avenue; in The Bronx, it's Jerome Avenue, which borders the 3rd-base stands of the new Stadium.

On the East Side, the Avenues go 5th, Madison, Park (which takes the place of 4th Avenue above Union Square), Lexington, 3rd, 2nd, 1st, York, East End. Numbered Streets will reach an address of 1 at 5th, 100 at Park, 200 at 3rd, 300 at 2nd, 400 at 1st. On the Lower East Side, this extends to 500 at Avenue A, 600 at Avenue B, 700 at Avenue C and 800 at Avenue D. (A, B, C and D, hence the nickname for this neighborhood: "Alphabet City.") The Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive (FDR Drive), formerly the East River Drive and once so dangerous it was called the Falling Down Roadway, separates the island from the East River.

On the West Side, the Avenues go 6th, a.k.a. Avenue of the Americas, Lenox Avenue or Malcolm X Blvd. above Central Park; 7th, a.k.a. Fashion Avenue, or Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. above Central Park; 8th, Central Park West above 59th Street, or Frederick Douglass Blvd. above Central Park; 9th, Columbus Avenue above 59th, or Morningside Drive above 110th; 10th, Amsterdam Avenue above 59th; 11th, West End Avenue above 59th, merging with Broadway at 108th; and Riverside Drive. The West Side Highway, a.k.a. the Joe DiMaggio Highway, separates the island from the Hudson River.



The north-south numbered Avenues start with 1 at their southern ends, and the addresses go up going Uptown, but there's no set pattern (every X blocks = 100 house numbers), and the vary as to where they begin:
Broadway, The Battery at the island's southern tip; 1st and 2nd, Houston Street (roughly, Zero Street -- and that's pronounced HOW-stin, not HEW-stin like the Texas city); 3rd, 9th Street; Lexington, 21st Street; Park, 32nd Street (Park Avenue South extends to 17th Street); Madison, 23rd Street (at Madison Square); 5th, Washington Square North (roughly, 6th Street); 6th, Franklin Street (the only numbered Avenue below Houston, so it's about -12th Street); 7th, 11th Street (7th Avenue South extends to Carmine Street, roughly at Houston or Zero); 8th, Bleecker Street (roughly 10th Street at that point); 9th, Gansevoort Street (roughly 12th Street); 10th and 11th, 13th Street; 12th, 22nd Street.
Times Square

The Subway system looks complicated, and it is. The blue lines (A, C & E), orange lines (B, D & F) and red lines (1, 2 & 3) are on the West Side; the green lines (4, 5 & 6) on the East Side; the yellow lines (N, Q & R) go from the East Side when Downtown to the West Side in Midtown, and then cross over to Queens. A single ride is $2.75, and you're better off getting a multi-ride MetroCard. There will be a $1.00 charge for a new card.

But the Giants and Jets don't play in New York City -- the former hasn't since 1975, the latter since 1983. So here's pertinent information for New Jersey: ZIP Codes in North Jersey tend to begin with the digits 07, including 071 for Newark and environs, 072 for Elizabeth, 073 for Jersey City, and 075 for Paterson. Central and South Jersey got ZIP Codes starting with the digits 08, including 084 for Atlantic City, 086 and 086 for Trenton, and 089 for New Brunswick and environs. Interstates 278 and 287 form highway "beltways" for New York City and Newark.

New Jersey's original Area Code was 201. 609 was split off in 1958, 908 in 1991, 732 in 1997, and 856 in 1999. Now, they serve as follows: 201, with 551 overlaid in 2001, serves only Bergen and Hudson Counties (including the Meadowlands, and thus MetLife Stadium, and Harrison, and thus Red Bull Arena); 609 serves Mercer County (including the capital of Trenton and Princeton University) and the Southern Shore region (including Atlantic City); 732, with 848 overlaid, much of Central Jersey (including Rutgers University) and the Northern Shore region; 856, the Delaware River region that serves as suburbs of Philadelphia; 908, the Counties of Union, northern Somerset, Morris and Warren; and 973, with 862 overlaid, the Counties of Essex (including Newark, and thus the Prudential Center) and Passaic.

About 36 percent of the City's population is foreign-born. The racial breakdown is 33 percent non-Hispanic white, 29 percent Hispanic (white or black), 25 percent African-American, and 12 percent Asian.

Non-Hispanic whites have slightly less than a majority in Manhattan (48 percent), non-Hispanic whites still have a slight plurality over non-Hispanic blacks in Brooklyn (35 to 34 percent), The Bronx is majority Hispanic (53 percent), non-Hispanic whites have the slimmest of margins over Hispanics in Queens (both about 27 percent) with Asians close behind at 23 percent, with Staten Island being the whitest (64 percent), most conservative, most bigoted, and all-around nastiest Borough.

Among Hispanics, Puerto Ricans outnumber Dominicans 2 to 1 and Mexicans 4 to 1. Among blacks, there is roughly an even split between the descendants of Caribbeans (the Jamaica neighborhood of Queens does have a considerable number of Jamaicans) and those whose ancestors were taken directly from Africa to America.

Breaking it down among Asians, about 5 percent of the City's population is Chinese, 3 percent Middle Eastern, 2.7 percent Indian, 1 percent Korean, and Filipinos, Japanese and Vietnamese, in that order, having less than 1 percent. Aside from Lower Manhattan's Chinatown, most of the City's Chinese live in Queens, particularly in or around Flushing. Queens and Brooklyn have most of the City's Middle Easterners, while Queens and the East 20s in Manhattan have most of the Indians. The low West 30s in Midtown Manhattan are Koreatown.

Among non-Hispanic whites, New York's Top 10 specific ethnicities are: Italian, 8.2 percent; Irish, 5.3; German, 3.6; Russian, 3.1; Polish, 2.8; English, 1.9 Greek, 1.0; French, 0.9, Hungarian, 0.7; and Ukrainian, 0.6.

With "urban renewal," most of the old neighborhoods as they would have been known in the days of 3 baseball teams and 1 team each in the other sports are gone. The Irish remain all over. The Belmont section of The Bronx, Ozone Park in Queens, and the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst and Dyker Heights are more Italian than Manhattan's Greenwich Village and Little Italy.

Brighton Beach in Brooklyn is Russian and Ukrainian. Greenpoint in Brooklyn is Polish. Astoria in Queens is Greek. And the Lower East Side is a little of everything, but more Eastern Europeans of all varieties than anything else, even if the Hispanics living there call it "Loisaida."

In terms of religion, the City is 23 percent Protestant, 22 percent Catholic, and, surprisingly, only 2 percent Jewish. A whopping 37 percent chose not to tell the Census Bureau. There are still notable Jewish enclaves in Manhattan (the Lower East Side and the Upper East Side), The Bronx (Riverdale), and Brooklyn (Borough Park, more Orthodox and "Old World" than the others).

The Giants and Jets, of course, do not play in the City. The demographics are a little different for North Jersey: It's about 59 percent white, 19 percent Hispanic, 15 percent black, and 7 percent Asian.

Going In. What was originally named New Meadowlands Stadium opened on April 10, 2010, and became MetLife Stadium the following year, named for an insurance company.

Despite the fact that the Meadowlands Sports Complex is just 8 miles from Times Square, if you're in the City, getting to there by public transportation has never been easy. It used to be that the only way to do it was to get to the Port Authority Bus Terminal at 41st Street & 8th Avenue (A, C or E train to 42nd Street), and then take the New Jersey Transit 320 bus in. This is still possible, and, theoretically, you can get from bus station to stadium gate in 20 minutes.

But, as I said, the traffic will be bad, so make sure you leave Port Authority no later than an hour before kickoff (12:00 or 3:00 for most Sunday games). Round-trip fare is $9.00.

The new option, established with the new Stadium, is by rail. You can get to Penn Station, at 32nd Street & 7th Avenue (1, 2, 3, A, C, or E train to 34th Street), and then switch to New Jersey Transit rail. Even then, you'll have to change trains at Secaucus Junction. At least then, it will only be one more stop, although why the rail spur goes around the Stadium, and not right to it, I'll never know. NJ Transit makes no sense whatsoever. But if you do it right, it should take about half an hour.

Round-trip rail fare from New York's Penn Station is $11, and from Newark's Penn Station (from which you would also transfer at Secaucus Junction) it's $8.75. Service usually begins 3 1/2 hours before stadium events, with departures every 10 to 20 minutes, and every 10 minutes afterwards for 1 to 2 hours after events.
Meadowlands Station

The official address of the Stadium is 1 MetLife Stadium Drive. Parking is $34. Tailgating is allowed in the Stadium parking lots. The Stadium has 5 gates, all named for corporations: MetLife (an insurance company, in case you didn't know), Bud Light, SAP, Verizon and Pepsi. The SAP Gate is the closest one to the train station.
For Giants games, the exterior of the Stadium lights up in blue. For Jets games, it lights up in green. This is a way of finally giving the Jets and their fans, who for a quarter of a century were stuck playing "home games" at a stadium named for another team, a sense of home-field advantage. (To avoid bias, as Giants Stadium had with Giants' blue & red seats, the seats at MetLife are gray.)
There are large video boards at each of the four corners of the stadium. The field is artificial turf. Giants Stadium started with AstroTurf. In 2000, it was switched to real grass, but the overuse made the grass a mess, so they switched to FieldTurf in 2003, and neither the Giants nor the Jets have played a home game on real grass since.

While summer clothes may be fine for September or even early October, the wind can be nasty, so if you're going in mid-October or later, dress accordingly. Certainly, by early November, you should wear a winter coat, a hat, gloves, maybe even earmuffs.

MetLife Stadium is the only domeless Northern stadium to host a Super Bowl, Super Bowl XLVIII, on February 2, 2014. New Jersey Transit messed up the train service, but they lucked out with the weather: Kickoff temperature was a tolerable 49 degrees, and a snowstorm waited until the next day to arrive. The Seattle Seahawks clobbered the Denver Broncos 43-8.
The U.S. national soccer team lost to Brazil 2-0 at MetLife on August 10, 2010; lost to Brazil 2-0 again on September 7, 2018; and tied Argentina 1-1 on March 26, 2011, in front of 78,926 (myself included). It has been selected by the U.S. Soccer Federation as a finalist to be one of the host venues for the 2026 World Cup, and could end up hosting the Final.

It's hosted several Summer matches between off-season touring clubs, including both Milan clubs on August 4, 2013 (both lost, Inter 4-0 to Valencia of Spain, AC Milan 2-0 to Chelsea); Real Madrid's 1-0 win over Bayern Munich on August 3, 2016; Barcelona's 2-1 win over Juventus on July 22, 2017; Liverpool beating Manchester City 2-1 on July 25, 2018; Real Madrid beating AS Roma 2-1 on August 7, 2018; and Atletico Madrid's stunning 7-3 win over Real Madrid on July 26, 2019, the 1st Madrid Derby held outside of Europe.

As might be expected, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, hosted the stadium's 1st college football game, on October 16, 2010. Although it beat Army 23-20 in overtime, this was the game in which Rutgers linebacker Eric LeGrand was paralyzed. Syracuse has actually played more "home games" at MetLife than Rutgers, but have lost all 4, most recently to Notre Dame in 2014. The Army-Navy Game, which was occasionally played at Giants Stadium, will return to the Meadowlands in 2021. 

Jon Bon Jovi played the 1st concert at the new stadium, as he did at the Prudential Center. Other stars to play there include (if they've played there more than once, I'm listing their 1st appearance only): In 2010, The Eagles, and a show that included Usher, Drake and Nicki Minaj; in 2011, U2; in 2012, Bruce Springsteen and Tim McGraw (not together); in 2013, Wu-Tang Clan and Taylor Swift (the latter supported by Camila Cabello and Charli XCX); in 2014, BeyoncĂ© and her husband Jay-Z on back-to-back nights, Eminem, Rihanna and One Direction; 2015, AC/DC; 2016, Paul McCartney, Guns N' Roses (well, Axl Rose, anyway) and Coldplay; 2017, Metallica; 2018, Ed Sheeran; and in 2019 thus far, The Rolling Stones and Korean vocal group BTS.

On September 12, 2017, Thrillist had an article ranking all 31 NFL stadiums. MetLife Stadium came in 17th, just under the halfway mark: 

To paraphrase NJ legend Bruce Springsteen, MetLife Stadium is a $1.6-billion air conditioner stuck in the mud, somewhere in the swamps of Jersey... There's not a bad seat in the house. Hey, it was impressive enough to be the first open-air cold-weather stadium to host a Super Bowl, right?

MetLife, like its predecessor Giants Stadium, is known for its swirling winds and oft-frigid conditions that make life hell for kickers and quarterbacks visiting New York. The stadium gives off New York vibes that match the view of the Manhattan skyline. 

Food. I don't want this post to be any longer than it has to be, but the food options at MetLife are quite extensive. Whether they're appetizing is for you to decide. So here's a link.
Big Blue honor the following 42 individuals:

* From their 1927 NFL Champions: Founders/Owners Tim and Jack Mara, and two-way tackle Seve Owen (Number 55). Tim Mara and Owen are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. So is two-way end Ray Flaherty (1, retired); and quarterback Benny Friedman (6), who came a little bit after this and didn't stay for the next title.

* From their 1934 NFL Champions: The Mara brothers, now head coach Owen, center/linebacker Mel Hein (Number 7 retired), and running back/defensive back Ken Strong (50, retired). All of these except Jack Mara are in the Hall, as are Flaherty and two-way end Red Badgro (17).

* From their 1938 NFL Champions: Each of the preceding, running back/defensive back Alphonse "Tuffy" Leemans (4, retired), two-way end Jim Lee Howell (81). All of these except Howell and Jack Mara are in the Hall.

* From their 1941 team that finished 2nd in the NFL's Eastern Division: Two-way end Jack Lummus (29). He only played the 1941 season for the Giants, then enlisted in the Marines, and died fighting the Japanese at Iwo Jima, from stepping on a land mine, but not before his heroics there got him the Congressional Medal of Honor, though he never knew it.

* From their 1944 team that lost the NFL Championship Game to the Green Bay Packers: The Mara brothers, Owen, and two-way tackle Al Blozis.

Blozis' Number 32 is retired -- not because he was a great player, but because he then went into the service and was killed in action in World War II. A native of Garfield, Bergen County, New Jersey, Blozis played 3 seasons for the Giants before being drafted, and was killed fighting the Nazis in France. Blozis and Lummus both had plaques in their memory on the center field clubhouse at the Polo Grounds, along with baseball Giants John McGraw, Christy Mathewson and Ross Youngs, former Mayor and Giants fan Jimmy Walker, and a monument for Eddie Grant, the baseball Giant killed in World War I.)

* From their 1956 NFL Champions: The Mara brothers, Howell (now head coach), athletic trainer John Johnson, quarterback Charlie Conerly (Number 42 retired), running backs Frank Gifford (Number 16 retired) and Alex Webster (29), offensive tackle Roosevelt Brown (79), defensive end Andy Robustelli (81), linebacker Sam Huff (70), and defensive back Emlen Tunnell (45).

Each of these except Howell and Jack Mara is in the Hall. But two of Howell's assistant coaches are, though not for what they did with the Giants: Offensive coordinator Vince Lombardi, and defensive coordinator Tom Landry, who, after the early 1950s' switch to two-platoon football, was the first great defensive back (49), who did not also play defensive back, but retired and switched to a coaching role in time for the 1956 title, and may have made that title possible as much as anyone. Also in the Hall, but leaving the Giants before their 1956-63 glory days, was two-way tackle Arnie Weinmeister (73).

* From their 1958-63 teams that reached 5 NFL Championship Games and lost them all: Each of the preceding (Tim Mara died during that run), quarterback Y.A. Tittle (Number 14 retired), running back Joe Morrison (Number 40 retired), and defensive back Dick Lynch. All of these except Jack Mara, Morrison and Lynch are in the Hall.

* From the 1964-85 interregnum: Owner Wellington Mara, trainer Johnson, kicker Pete Gogolak (3), linebacker Brad Van Pelt (10), and punter Dave Jennings (13). Mara is in the Hall. So is quarterback Fran Tarkenton (10), who was a Giant between his two stints with the Minnesota Vikings.

* From their 1986-87 and 1990-91 Super Bowl XXI and XXV winners: Mara, Johnson, general manager George Young, coach Bill Parcells, quarterback Phil Simms (Number 11 retired), tight end Mark Bavaro (89), defensive end George Martin (75), and linebackers Lawrence Taylor (56, retired), Harry Carson (53) and Carl Banks (58). Mara, Parcells, Taylor and Carson are in the Hall. Why isn't Young? Or Simms?  

* From their 2000-01 team that lost Super Bowl XXXV: Mara, Johnson, co-owner Bob Tisch, executive Ernie Accorsi, running back Tiki Barber (21), receiver Amani Toomer (81), defensive end Michael Strahan (92) and linebacker Jessie Armstead (98). Mara and Strahan are in the Hall. Barber is not, despite being the all-time leading rusher in New York Tri-State Area football history (slightly ahead of Curtis Martin, who is in).

* From their 2007-08 Super Bowl XLII winners: Accorsi, Toomer, Strahan, head coach Tom Coughlin, guard Chris Snee (76), defensive end Osi Umenyiora (72), defensive tackle Justin Tuck, and trainer Johnson. Strahan is in the Hall.


* From their 2011-12 Super Bowl XLVI winners: Coughlin, Snee, Umenyiora and Tuck. Quarterback Eli Manning (10) will surely be added after he retires as a player.

Gang Green honor the following 18 individuals:

* From their 1968-69 Super Bowl III winners: Owner Leon Hess, Coach Weeb Ewbank (a representation of a green coach's jacket with the name "WEEB" on the back previously stood in for a "retired number"), quarterback Joe Namath (Number 12 retired), receiver Don Maynard (13, retired), running backs Emerson Boozer (32) and Matt Snell (41), offensive lineman Winston Hill (75), defensive lineman Gerry Philbin (81) and linebacker Larry Grantham (60).


Ewbank, Namath and Maynard are in the Hall of Fame. So is running back John Riggins (44), who arrived after the Super Bowl win, and played enough seasons to qualify as a "Jet in the Hall of Fame," although he's better known for his play with the Washington Redskins. Riggins is not, however, yet in the Ring of Honor.

* From their 1982 team that got to the AFC Championship Game: Hess, running back Freeman McNeil (24), receiver Wesley Walker (85), and 3 of the 4 members of the defensive line known as the New York Sack Exchange: Tackle Marty Lyons (93) and ends 
Joe Klecko (73 retired) and Mark Gastineau (99). Tackle Abdul Salaam (74) has yet to be added.

* From the late 1980s and early 1990s: Hess, and receiver Al Toon (88). Defensive end Dennis Byrd, whose struggle to walk again led the Jets to retire his Number 90, has not yet been enshrined.

* From their 1998 team that won the AFC East and got to the AFC Championship Game, and their 2002 AFC East Champions: Hess (who died in 1999), running back Curtis Martin (28, retired), receiver Wayne Chrebet (80, retired), and center Kevin Mawae (68). Parcells, the architect of this team after coaching the Giants and the New England Patriots, is in the Hall, but, as yet, enshrined only in the Giants' Ring of Honor, not the Jets'.

* No players from their 2009 or '10 teams that reached the AFC Championship Games, have yet been honored.

Giants Mel Hein, Roosevelt Brown and Lawrence Taylor were named to the NFL's 75th Anniversary Team in 1994. They, Emlen Tunnell, Sam Huff and Fran Tarkenton (a Giant for 5 seasons between his 2 stints with the Minnesota Vikings), and Jet Joe Namath, were named to The Sporting News' 100 Greatest Football Players in 1999 -- Taylor at Number 4, the highest-ranking defensive player.

Hein, Huff, Tunnell, Tarkenton, Taylor, Strahan and Namath were named to the NFL Network's 100 Greatest Players in 2010 -- Taylor at Number 3, still the highest-ranking defensive player. Namath, Don Maynard, Bob Talamini, Gerry Philbin, Larry Grantham, Winston Hill and Jim Turner were named to the AFL's All-Time Team.

There is no representation at MetLife Stadium for the many college stars who played at Giants Stadium, either for Rutgers, or in the now-defunct Kickoff Classic, or in the Army-Navy Games of 1989, 1993, 1997 or 2002. It was also held a few times at the Polo Grounds, the old Yankee Stadium, and, way back in 1905, at Osborne Field, then the football home of Princeton University.

Nor is there a mention of the 9 games played at Giants Stadium, or the 2 so far at MetLife, by the U.S. soccer team, or any other national team, or the New York Cosmos. Or of Syracuse, which, due to its large amount of NYC-based alumni, plays 1 "home game" per year at MetLife. There are no statues at the stadium, inside or outside.

Despite their long history, the Giants have had only 2 Heisman Trophy winners on their roster, both running backs: Herschel Walker (Georgia, 1980, played for them in 1995) and Ron Dayne (Wisconsin, 1999, 2000-04 -- a Jersey Boy, but from Pine Hill in Camden County, Eagles territory.)

The Jets have had 3 Heisman winners, all quarterbacks: John Huarte (Notre Dame, 1964, played for them in 1965), Long Island native Vinny Testaverde (University of Miami, 1986, 1998-2003 and again in 2005), and Tim Tebow (Florida, 2007, 2012).

As for Heisman winners on New York Tri-State Area teams in other leagues: The New York Yankees of the All-America Football Conference had 1942 Georgia running back Frank Sinkwich in 1946 and 1947. The New Jersey Generals of the United States Football League had 1982 Georgia running back Herschel Walker through their entire existence, 1983 to 1985, and added 1984 Boston College quarterback Doug Flutie in 1985.

Because of their respective divisions and their respective histories with the other teams within them, neither the Giants nor the Jets think of the other as their biggest rivals. Since 1969, the last year before the NFL-AFL merger, they have played each other 1 time each preseason. But in regular-season play, they have met only 13 times, with the Giants leading 8-5.

The Giants have won in 1970 (the only regular-season game between them at Shea Stadium), 1984, 1987, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2011; while the Jets have won in 1974 (at the Yale Bowl, the only other game between them held outside the Meadowlands Sports Complex), 1981, 1988, 1993 and 2015. The Giants didn't beat the Jets between 1970 and 1984, while the Jets didn't beat the Giants between 1993 and 2015.

While everyone wants to beat the Dallas Cowboys, the Giants' real arch-rivals are the Philadelphia Eagles, due to geography. They've met twice a year since the Eagles' founding in 1933, plus 4 Playoff meetings, with the Giants winning in 1981 and 2000, and the Eagles winning in 2006 and 2008. The rivalry could not be any closer: It is tied, 86-86-2.

The Jets' biggest rivalries, naturally, go back to their AFL days: The Boston/New England Patriots (1960), the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders (also 1960), and the Miami Dolphins (1966). The Jets-Pats rivalry is part of the New York Tri-State Area/New England hate that first manifested itself in Yankees-Red Sox, and later in Rangers-Bruins, then Knicks-Celtics, and has also come to include the Giants' 2 Super Bowl upsets over the Patriots, and fans of the MLS teams, the New York Red Bulls and New York City FC, hating the New England Revolution. To a lesser extent, there's been St. John's vs. Boston College, and Rutgers vs. the University of Connecticut.

The Jets trail the rivalry with the Patriots 65-54-1, including Playoff games won by the Pats in 1985 and 2006, and by the Jets in 2010. The Jets trail the rivalry with the Raiders 25-19-2, including the Jets winning the 1968 AFL Championship Game and a 1982 AFC Divisional Playoff, while the Raiders won Playoff games in the 2001 and 2002 seasons. But the Jets lead the Dolphins 54-52-1, with the only Playoff game being the Dolphins' win in the 1982 AFC Championship Game.

Stuff. On the 1st floor of the outer edge of the stadium, along the west sideline, is The Flagship Store, as big as most Sports Authority or Modell's outlets, that sells both Giant and Jet gear. Which includes Giants' and Jets' hard hats, which so many fans in the urban Northeast and Midwest like to wear, imagining themselves to be as tough as construction workers. Ha ha.

It does not, however, sell team DVDs or books about the teams. I can, however, make some recommendations for those. New York Giants: The Complete Illustrated History, by Lew Freedman and former Giants player turned broadcaster Pat Summerall (who has since died) was updated in 2012.

Jack Cavanaugh's Giants Among Men tells how, as the subtitle puts it, the 1956-63 Giants "Made New York a Football Town and Changed the NFL." (Those Giants changed the NFL in 2 significant ways: They helped move pro football into the TV era, and made defense something to cheer for the first time. In fact, the now-familiar "Dee-FENSE!" chant was invented by Giant fans at the old Yankee Stadium.) Linebacker Jim Burt and Daily News sportswriter Hank Gola told the story of the next great Giant team in Hard Nose: The Story of the 1986 Giants.

Carlo DeVito and Sam Huff wrote Wellington: The Maras, the Giants, and the City of New York, about the late owner's relationship to the team and the Tri-State Area, with significant attention to how the Giants got forced out of The City by the impending renovation of Yankee Stadium, and how the team and The City have reacted to each other ever since.

Just as Summerall assisted on the Giants' version, Joe Namath co-wrote New York Jets: The Complete Illustrated History, with New York Post sportswriter Mark Cannizzaro. Shortly before Parcells brought the Jets back to respectability, longtime New York Times sportswriter Gerald Eskenazi wrote Gang Green: An Irreverent Look Behind the Scenes at Thirty-Eight (Well, Thirty-Seven) Seasons of New York Jets Football Futility. And Andrew Goldstein recently published Growing Up Green: Living, Dying, and Dying Again as a Fan of the New York Jets.

NFL Films produced installments in their The Complete History of the... series for both teams, in both cases going up through the 2007 season (enabling them to include the Giants' Super Bowl XLII win). And all 4 Giant Super Bowl wins, and the Jets' even more significant 1, are all available in DVD packages.

The film Little Giants is about youth football, and has nothing to do with the Big Blue Wrecking Crew. And one (oh-so-slightly) Jet-related film you do not want to get is the 1980 version of Flash Gordon. This piece of outer-space camp cast Sam J. Jones as an updated version of the 1930s film-serial hero, identified as a professional polo player then, now identifying himself as, and I quote, "Flash Gordon, quarterback, New York Jets." (I have to admit, though, he did bear a resemblance to the Jet quarterback of that time, Richard Todd.)


The 1980 version of Flash Gordon not only failed to show any football action (even The Dark Knight Returns showed one play), it failed to properly ride the rise of science fiction generated by Star Trek and Star Wars, and made Flash look even more ridiculous than did the then-current TV version of Flash's long-ago contemporary, Buck Rogers. To put it another way: If your film's theme song is sung by Queen, and Freddie Mercury is the least campy person in the film, you've got a problem.

During the Game. According to a recent Thrillist article, both sets of New York football fans finished in the Top 10 Most Obnoxious Fans in the NFL: The Giants 8th, the Jets 4th.

Although New Yorkers and New Jerseyans can be intense, a visiting fan will probably be safe attending a game at MetLife Stadium. Giant fans may verbally harass people wearing Eagles or Cowboys gear, but if you don't provoke them, it won't get any worse than that.

As for Jet fans, they'll probably leave you alone unless you're wearing Patriots gear. (Even Dolphin and Raider paraphernalia won't get under their skin.) But, again, don't provoke them, and you should be all right.

As that September 2017 Thrillist article said: 

If you're rocking a Pats or Eagles jersey, expect to see a few birds flipped your way. Here, hedge-fund managers and construction workers come together to hate on a common target, and it doesn't get much more New York than that.

For the Jets, they said: 


Jets fans are to the NFL what New Jersey is to the United States; you carry a chip on your shoulder (comprised of 10 pounds of Italian sausage and other assorted spiced meats) and anybody who dares question the greatness of your team is met with an overcompensating “J-E-T-S” cheer and possibly a punch to the gut. For some reason you are convinced Joe Klecko should be in the Hall of Fame, and Joe Namath should be on Mount Rushmore. But those delusions aside, at least you remain appropriately pessimistic about your team’s chances, since the last time you even sniffed the Super Bowl was before Woodstock.
From September 1 to 7, 2017, during the NFL National Anthem protest controversy,
FiveThirtyEight.com polled fans of the 32 NFL teams, to see where they leaned politically. As you might expect from the multicultural Tri-State Area, both teams were near the top of the most liberal fanbases: The Giants came in 3rd, at 18.8 percent more liberal than conservative; the Jets, 6th, at 14.5 percent more liberal.

Both teams hold auditions for National Anthem singers, rather than having a regular do it. Neither team has a mascot. The Giants have never had cheerleaders. The Jets didn't, either, until the 2007 establishment of the Jets Flight Crew. The Giants remain 1 of 6 NFL teams that doesn't have cheerleaders. The others are the the Buffalo Bills, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Cleveland Browns, the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers.
The teams really don't need cheerleaders. These are, after all, New Yorkers, New Jerseyans, and Connecticutians... uh, Connecticutites... uh, people from Connecticut.

As I said, it was Giant fans in 1956 that invented the "Dee-FENSE!" chant. Jet fans, however, are content to chant, "J! E! T! S! Jets! Jets! Jets!" Giant fans may wonder if that's the best that Jet fans can do, but Jet fans can say, "At least we've proven we can spell." Of course, Giant fans could come back with "'Jets' is a four-letter word."

The man who, from 1986 to 2012, led the J-E-T-S chants from Section 134 (an end zone) of Giants Stadium, New York fireman Edwin "Fireman Ed" Anzalone, still went to games, but stopped going "in character" for a while -- a
pparently, it was Mark Sanchez's "Butt Fumble," on Thanksgiving Night 2012 against the arch-rival Patriots, that made him give up -- but with Sanchez and coach Rex Ryan both gone, he's back. He even made the trip to London for the Jets' game against the Dolphins at Wembley Stadium in 2015.

A native of College Point, Queens, not far from the Jets' former home of Shea Stadium, he wears a fireman's hat decorated with Jets gear, and a jersey, Number 42, in honor of former Jet running back Bruce Harper. (Briefly, he switched to 6 in support of the beleaguered Sanchez, until he, too, gave up on "The Sanchize." Oddly, while continuing to work with the FDNY, he actually lives in East Rutherford.
As for the Giants, I previously thought that they don't have any fans who are any more noticeable than the others. But this isn't true: Joe Ruback, a.k.a. License Plate Guy, has attended every Giants home game since Giants Stadium opened in 1976, and has attended every away game since 2003, too. He first came to a Giants game with his original plate, one of the old orange New York plates with blue lettering, reading "G1ANTS."

He now has a collection of 31 plates, rotating them, including a vanity plate with a Giants helmet (available from New York's DMV even though the Giants play in New Jersey), reading "XXIXX5" for their 1st 2 Super Bowl wins. (I guess someone already had "XXI XXV.") My favorite of his tweaks the New England Patriots for the Giants' smackdown of them, ending their shot at a perfect season: "18END1."
That's got to be heavy. Certainly, heavier than Ed's helmet.

Like Fireman Ed, he's no dope: He's trusted enough to be the athletic director at a school in Yonkers, and runs a design company. He's also appeared a few times on WFAN's Boomer and Carton show with former Jet quarterback Norman Julius "Boomer" Esiason and Craig Carton.

After the Game. Traffic may be even worse after the game than before. After all, those 80,000 people have tried all day to get into the parking lot, some to tailgate, some just to see the game. Afterward, they all want to get out as soon as possible. (Well, maybe not all. Some fans like to do a postgame tailgate, too.) Be advised: It may take a while to get out.

The stadium is in the middle of a parking lot, so not only is it not in a bad neighborhood, it's in no neighborhood at all. Which is good for safety, not so much for quickly getting a postgame meal


Route 3 is probably your best bet, as there are plenty of chain restaurants. It's a typically tacky and commercial Jersey highway. However, Manny's Cocktail Lounge, a.k.a. "Manny's of Moonachie" (that's pronounced Moo-NAH-key), made famous as a watering hole by fans of the 1980s Giants, has long since gone out of business. Its location, at 110 Moonachie Avenue, has been replaced by a Cuban-themed restaurant and banquet hall, La Havana 59. 


If you're a fan of a visting NFL team, not from the New York Tri-State Area, these bars have been known to cater to fans from the cities/metro areas in question:

* Arizona Cardinals: Foley's, 18 W. 33rd Street. B, D, F, N or R Train to Herald Square.
* Atlanta Falcons: The Watering Hole, 106 E. 19th Street. 4, 5, 6, L, N or R Train to Union Square.
* Baltimore Ravens: HorseBox, 218 Avenue A. L Train to 1st Avenue.
* Buffalo Bills: Kelly's, 12 Avenue A. F Train to 2nd Avenue.
* Carolina Panthers: Amity Hall, 80 W. 3rd Street. A, C or E train to W. 4th Street.
* Chicago Bears: Overlook, 225 E. 44th Street. 4, 5, 6 or 7 Train to Grand Central.
* Cincinnati Bengals: Phebe's, 359 Bowery. 6 Train to Bleecker Street.
* Cleveland Browns: Brother Jimmy's, at 181 Lexington Avenue. 6 Train to 33rd Street.
* Dallas Cowboys: Stone Creek, 140 E. 27th Street. 6 Train to 28th Street.
* Denver Broncos: Butterfield 8, 5 E. 38th Street. 7 Train to 5th Avenue.
* Detroit Lions: Bailey's Corner, 1607 York Avenue at 85th Street. Q Train to 86th Street (the new, long-delayed "Second Avenue Subway.")
* Green Bay Packers: Mad River, 1442 3rd Avenue. 4 Train to 86th Street.
* Houston Texans: Hill Country Barbecue, 30 W. 26th Street. N or R Train to 28th Street.
* Indianapolis Colts: Keats, 842 2nd Avenue. 4, 5, 6 or 7 Train to Grand Central.
* Jacksonville Jaguars: St. Pat's Bar & Grill, 22 W. 46th Street. B, D or F Train to Rockefeller Center.
* Kansas City Chiefs: Village Pourhouse, 64 3rd Avenue. L Train to 3rd Avenue.
* Los Angeles Chargers: Scallywags, 508 9th Avenue at 38th Street. A, C or E Train to 42nd Street-Port Authority Bus Terminal.
* Los Angeles Rams: American Whiskey, 247 W. 30th Street. A, C or E Train to 34th Street.
* Miami Dolphins: Slattery's, 8 E. 36th Street. B, D, F, N or R Train to Herald Square.
* Minnesota Vikings: Bar None, 98 3rd Avenue. L Train to 3rd Avenue.
* New England Patriots: Professor Thom's, 219 2nd Avenue. L Train to 3rd Avenue.
* New Orleans Saints: d.b.a., 41 1st Avenue. F Train to 2nd Avenue. Local Saints fans moved here after years at Bar None.
* Oakland Raiders: Peter Dillon's, 130 E. 40th Street. 4, 5, 6 or 7 Train to Grand Central.
* Philadelphia Eagles: Shorty's, 576 9th Avenue, across from Port Authority Bus Terminal. A, C or E Train to 42nd Street.
* Pittsburgh Steelers: The Irish Exit, 978 2nd Avenue. E Train to Lexington Avenue/53rd Street.
* San Francisco 49ers: Finnerty's, 221 2nd Avenue, next-door to Professor Thom's. L Train to 3rd Avenue.
* Seattle Seahawks: Carlow East, 1254 Lexington Avenue. 4, 5 or 6 Train to 86th Street.
* Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Stillwater, 78 E. 4th Street. F Train to 2nd Avenue.
* Tennessee Titans: SideBar, 120 E. 15th Street. 4, 5, 6, L, N or R Train to Union Square.
* Washington Redskins: Dorrian's Red Hand, 1616 2nd Avenue. Q Train to 86th Street.

If you're visiting New York during the European soccer season, as we are now in, there are many places where you can watch your favorite team. The best "football pub" in The City, and, indeed, in the country, is The Football Factory, downstairs at Legends NYC, at 6 West 33rd Street, across from the Empire State Building. B, D, F, N, Q or R train to 34th Street-Herald Square.


Sidelights. This is where I discuss other sports-related sites in the metropolitan area in question, and then move on to tourist attractions that have no (or little) connection to sports. Since most people reading this will be from the Tri-State Area, I'll keep it short as possible.



On February 3, 2017, Thrillist made a list ranking the 30 NFL cities (New York and Los Angeles each having 2 teams), and New York came in 6th, in the top one-quarter. They said: 

New York is the city equivalent of one of those claw-crane machine hand games -- it has all these plush and fancy-looking things that look like they're available to everyone, and so you spend your money to go there and then you come to find out that ALL OF THE NICE STUFF IS ESSENTIALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO GET UNLESS YOU ARE ONE OF THE PEOPLE WHO ALREADY OWNS A CLAW-CRANE MACHINE BUSINESS.

But you come so damn close to winning those prizes and they seem so attainable that you just keep pumping money into it. This usually goes on for people's entire 20s and early 30s, until they give up playing the machine and move to Jersey to eat tomato pies in peace.

But in all seriousness, there's a feeling that goes along with being in New York that just isn't replicable anywhere else. It's almost like a country unto itself, which makes comparing it to other places extremely difficult.

On November 30, 2018, Thrillist published a list of "America's 25 Most Fun Cities," and, as you might guess, New York came in 1st.

Both the Giants (1925-55) and the Jets (1960-63) used to play at the Polo Grounds. So did the baseball Giants (1890-1957), the Yankees (1913-22) and the Mets (1962-63). 155th Street & 8th Avenue in Upper Manhattan. D train to 155th Street. Definitely visit in daylight only.

A rare color shot of the Polo Grounds set up for football.
Judging by the color of the uniforms, this is probably
a Titans home game in 1960, 1961 or 1962.
They became the Jets, and green and white, in 1963.

The original Yankee Stadium, the former home of the Yankees (1923-2008) and the Giants (1956-73), was on the south side of 161st Street at River Avenue. The new Stadium is on the north side. D or 4 train to 161st Street. Starting last year, it began hosting expansion soccer team New York City FC.
A nearly-as-rare color shot of Yankee Stadium hosting a Giants game.
Considering the white exterior, and the lack of Coca-Cola billboards
on the Bleacher wall, this has to be between 1967 and 1973.

Shea Stadium, the former home of the Mets (1964-2008) and Jets (1964-83), and where the Yankees played while the old Yankee Stadium was being renovated (1974-75), was in Flushing Meadow, Queens, just to the west of the new Mets ballpark, Citi Field. 7 train to Mets-Willets Point. The Giants played 1 season there, 1975.
Shea in Jets mode. Judging by the scoreboard,
this is sometime between 1964 and 1980.

With Yankee Stadium undergoing renovation, Giants Stadium not yet being ready, and Mayor John Lindsay, angry at the Giants for leaving the City, refusing to let them play at City-owned Shea (his replacement, Abe Beame, relented for 1975), the Giants played half of 1973 and all of 1974 at the Yale Bowl in New Haven, Connecticut, about 80 miles northeast of Midtown Manhattan. Metro-North from Grand Central to New Haven, then walk from Union Station to Chapel Street, and take the F bus.
The Yale Bowl, set up for a recent game with Harvard

Giants Stadium, at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, Bergen County, New Jersey, was home to the Giants from 1976 to 2009, the Jets from 1984 to 2009 (for a total of 492 regular-season games, an NFL record), and Rutgers University football occasionally from 1976 to 1995 and their entire 1993 home slate there while Rutgers Stadium was being renovated.
Giants Stadium was home to the United States Football League's New Jersey Generals from 1983 to 1985, and hosted the 1985 USFL Championship Game, which turned out to be the League's last game. The Baltimore Stars defeated the Oakland Invaders, 28-24.
A Generals helmet, autographed by quarterback Brian Sipe

It was also home to the old North American Soccer League's New York Cosmos from 1977 to 1984, and MLS' New York/New Jersey MetroStars, now New York Red Bulls, from 1996 to 2009. It hosted the NASL's title game, the Soccer Bowl, in 1978 (Cosmos 3, Tampa Bay Rowdies 1) and 1979 (Vancouver Whitecaps 2, Rowdies 1). Games of the 1994 World Cup and the 1999 Women's World Cup were held there.
* Early NYC pro football teams. Brickley's Giants, founded by former Harvard football star Charlie Brickley, played a game at the Polo Grounds (but the crowd was mostly there to see the halftime show, a dropkicking competition between Brickley and Jim Thorpe), a game at Ebbets Field, and 2 games at Commercial Field.

The Brooklyn Horsemen of the 1926 American Football League, featuring Harry Stuhldreher and Elmer Layden of Notre Dame's Four Horsemen, also played there. The field was bounded by Lefferts Avenue, Albany Avenue, East New York Avenue and Kingston Avenue, in Flatbush, not far from the site of Ebbets Field. It survives today as Hamilton-Metz Field. 2 Train to Sterling Street.

The Brooklyn Lions, set up by the NFL in 1926 to counter the Horsemen, played at Ebbets Field. Neither team lasted beyond that season. The NFL team named the Brooklyn Dodgers played at Ebbets Field from 1930 to 1944, known as the Brooklyn Tigers in their final season.

There were many pro football teams called the New York Yankees, all playing at the original Yankee Stadium. One, featuring Red Grange, began in the 1926 AFL, moved to the NFL in 1927, and lasted until 1929. The 1936-37 and 1940-41 AFLs also featured teams named the Yankees. So did the 1946-49 All-America Football Conference, a team owned by Dan Topping, who also bought the Yankees with Del Webb in 1946.

There was even a Boston Yanks, who moved to the Polo Grounds and called themselves the New York Bulldogs in 1949, then moved to The Stadium and called themselves the New York Yankees in 1950 and 1951, before moving to become the Dallas Texans in 1952 and the reborn Baltimore Colts in 1953. Perhaps fitting that these Yankees became Baltimore's most popular sports team ever, because the 1901-02 edition of the Baltimore Orioles, sort-of, became the baseball Yankees in 1903.

Finally, the Staten Island Stapletons played from 1915 to 1928, then joined the NFL in 1929, establishing what they hoped would be a tradition of playing the Giants on Thanksgiving Day. That lasted until 1932, when the Depression knocked the "Stapes" out of the NFL. They played at Thompson Stadium, which was demolished to make way for Berta A. Dreyfus Intermediate School. 101 Warren Street. Bus S76 from the St. George Ferry Terminal. 

* Downing Stadium site. Opening in 1936 as Randall's Island Stadium, this 22,000-seat horseshoe on an island in the East River between Mahattan and Queens was renamed Triborough Stadium (because it was next to the Triborough, now Robert F. Kennedy, Bridge) and John J. Downing Memorial Stadium in 1955, after the City's Parks Director. When Ebbets Field was demolished in 1960, Downing Stadium got its lights.
It hosted Negro League baseball games, soccer games, track meets, and a few football games. The New York Cosmos used it as their home field in 1974 and 1975. The U.S. soccer team lost there to Scotland in 1949 and England in 1964.

On September 30, 1939, it hosted the 1st televised football game, with Fordham University beating Waynesburg University of Pennsylvania, 34-7. It was home to the 1936-37 AFL version, and the 1940-41 AFL version, of the New York Yankees. It was NYU's last home field, in 1951 and '52. In 1974, it was home to the New York Stars of the World Football League.
It was torn down in 2002. Two years later, the 5,000-seat Icahn Stadium, named for businessman Carl Icahn, whose donation paid for it, opened on the site. It mainly hosts scholastic and collegiate track meets. The address is 20 Randall's Island. 4 Train to 125th Street, then M35 Bus.

* Newark Tornadoes. The 1st NFL team to play home games in New Jersey was the Orange Tornadoes, an offshoot of the Orange Athletic Club, founded in Orange, Essex County in 1887. They put a team called the Tornadoes in the NFL for the 1929 season, at Knights of Columbus Stadium at 54 Bell Street, site of the current Bell Stadium of Orange High School. Bus 21 from Newark Penn Station.

In 1930, the team was moved to Newark City Schools Stadium, and renamed the Newark Tornadoes. The timing couldn't have been much worse, as the stock market had crashed during their 1929 season in Orange, and the NFL lost several teams in the Herbert Hoover years.

The team dropped out of the NFL, played semi-pro ball as the Orange Tornadoes back at K of C Stadium, were admitted to the American Association (a minor pro football league) in 1936, moved back to Schools Stadium and became the Newark Tornadoes in 1937 and the Newark Bears in 1939, and then folded after the U.S. got into World War II.
Newark Schools Stadium was a 25,000-seat horseshoe, open at the south end, built in 1925, hosting both baseball and football at the high school level, and the occasional NCAA Division III college football game. By the time I first saw it in 1988, a point at which the Newark school system was practically begging the State government for money, it was beginning to deteriorate.

In 2006, it was condemned by the city, and Central, Barringer and East Side High Schools began to share the smaller Untermann Field with West Side, while Malcom X Shabazz High School (the former South Side High had been renamed for Malcolm X in 1972, but is usually just called "Shabazz") and Weequahic High continued to share Shabazz Stadium.

In 2009, a new Newark City Schools Stadium opened, seating 15,000, with a considerably more decorated outer shell than the old one, and a FieldTurf playing surface. In the North Ward, at Bloomfield & Roseville Avenues. Bus 11, 28 or 29 from Newark Penn Station. Also a short walk from the Bloomfield Avenue station on Newark Light Rail (formerly known as the City Subway).
The current version of Madison Square Garden, home of the Knicks and Rangers since 1968, is at 32nd Street & 7th Avenue, on top of Penn Station. 1, 2, 3, A, C or E train to 34th Street-Penn Station. "The Old Garden" was at 49th Street & 8th Avenue, and is now home to an office and residential tower, Worldwide Plaza. C train to 50th Street, and the station contains a mural about the Garden.

"The New Garden" has hosted 7 fights for the Heavyweight Championship of the World, none more hyped than "The Fight of the Century," the 1st fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, March 8, 1971. Frazier knocked Ali down in the 15th and final round to gain the decision. The last heavyweight title fight there to date was on April 29, 2000, with Lennox Lewis beating Michael Grant.

The old Garden was home to the Knicks from 1946 to 1968, the Rangers from 1926 to 1968, and the old New York Americans of the NHL from 1925 to 1942. It hosted the NCAA Final Four (as we would now call it) in 1943 (Wyoming over Georgetown), 1944 (Utah over Dartmouth), 1945 (Oklahoma State, then known as Oklahoma A&M, over New York University), 1946 (Oklahoma State over North Carolina), 1947 (Holy Cross over Oklahoma), 1948 (Kentucky over Baylor) and 1950 (City College of New York over Bradley). Joe Louis, Ezzard Charles and Muhammad Ali all defended the Heavyweight Championship of the World at the old Garden at least once.

The NBA's Nets and the NHL's Devils used to play at the Meadowlands Complex, at the building now named the IZOD Center. The 1996 Final Four was held there (Kentucky over Syracuse). Now, the Nets play at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, and the Islanders will join them there for the 2015-16 season. 620 Atlantic Avenue & Flatbush Avenue. 2, 3, 4, 5, D, N or R train to Atlantic Avenue.

The Islanders played their 1st 43 seasons (well, 42, the NHL lockout killed the 2004-05 season) at the Nassau Coliseum. The Nets also played their best years (1971-77) there. 1255 Hempstead Turnpike in Hempstead (the mailing address is Uniondale). Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) from Penn Station to Hempstead Terminal, then transfer to N70, N71 or N72 bus.

On December 19, 2017, A deal was announced, to build a new arena for the Islanders at Belmont Park, in Elmont, in Nassau County, just over the City Line, thus returning the Isles to The Island. They plan to have it ready for the 2020-21 season.

The Devils now play at the Prudential Center in Newark. 165 Mulberry Street & Edison Place. New Jersey Transit rail from New York's Penn Station to Newark's station of the same name. Red Bull Arena, home of the New York Red Bulls, is across the Passaic River, at 600 Cape May Street in Harrison. PATH train to Harrison.

However, because of the distance involved, I'd say forget the Long Island and Connecticut places, unless you're a sports nut with an entire weekend to spare.

In terms of college football, Rutgers plays 36 miles from MetLife Stadium, Princeton 49 miles, Columbia 13 miles, Army 48 miles, and Yale 80 miles. (Seton Hall, who don't play football, have their gym 14 miles away.) Rutgers is the most popular college football team in North Jersey and Central Jersey (no surprise there), but can't seem to dent the stranglehold that Syracuse, 242 miles away but still in the State of New York, has on the title of New York City's favorite college football team. Penn State (especially in Central and even more so in South Jersey) and Notre Dame (especially on Long Island) also make inroads in the Tri-State Area.

Giants founder Tim Mara and his son Wellington are buried in Gate of Heaven Cemetery. So are Yankee Legends Babe Ruth and Billy Martin. 10 W. Stevens Avenue in Hawthorne, Westchester County. Mount Pleasant Station on Metro-North's Harlem Line is right outside.

Vince Lombardi, born in Brooklyn, educated at Fordham in The Bronx, a head coach at the now-defunct St. Cecilia's High School in Englewood, New Jersey, and an assistant coach with the Giants before coaching the Green Bay Packers, married Marie Planitz of Red Bank, New Jersey. They are buried across the Navesink River from Red Bank, at Mount Olivet Cemetery. 100 Chapel Hill Road, Middletown. New Jersey Transit's North Jersey Coast Line will take you to Red Bank, and its Bus 834 will get you to Chapel Hill Road.

Sonny Werblin, the former Jets owner who built the Meadowlands Complex and later ran the Madison Square Garden Corporation, is also buried in Middletown, but, being Jewish, not in the same cemetery. He's laid to rest at Fairview Cemetery, right across New Jersey Route 35 from Mount Olivet. Same transit.

If you have more than 1 day (and more than a little money) to spend in and around New York, I do recommend the American Museum of Natural History (79th Street & Central Park West, C train to 81st Street), the Metropolitan Museum of Art (82nd Street & 5th Avenue, 4, 5 or 6 train to 86th Street and then walk 3 blocks west to 5th Avenue), the observation deck of the Empire State Building (34th Street & 5th Avenue, B, D, F, N, Q or R train to 34th Street-Herald Square and walk 1 block east), and the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site (the only President thus far born in The City was born at 28 East 20th Street, N or R train to 23rd Street).

However, I can't recommend the Statue of Liberty, as it's not cheap, it's time-consuming both to get there and to get through, and the view from the crown isn't what you might hope. The observation deck of the new World Trade Center is now open, but I haven't been there yet, and so I don't know whether to recommend it. And the 9/11 Memorial is expensive and has long lines.

The Prudential Center is 12 miles from the house that stood in for Tony's house on The Sopranos. 14 Aspen Drive, in North Caldwell, Essex County. About 18 miles due west of Midtown Manhattan. Hard to reach by public transit: From Newark's Penn Station, Newark Light Rail to Bloomfield Avenue, then Bus 11 to Stevens Avenue and E. Lindley Road, then a half-hour walk south on Mountain Avenue, left on Wildwood Drive, left on Aspen. Remember: It's a private residence. I don't think a real mobster lives there, but you should still respect the residents' privacy.

Not many other TV shows have been set in North Jersey. The Heights, about a teenage band named "The Heights" for their Jersey City neighborhood, lasted just 3 months on Fox in late 1992, 13 episodes, but its theme song, "How Do You Talk to an Angel," credited to "The Heights," hit Number 1 on November 14.

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The New York Giants and the New York Jets no longer play in New York City, or even in New York State, but still represent the Big Apple after all these years. To be fair, the Meadowlands Sports Complex is only slightly farther from Midtown Manhattan than Shea Stadium was, and not that much further than Yankee Stadium. So they're still a good match for The City.

If you follow these instructions carefully, you'll be able to get in, through and out of a Giants or Jets game safely. Not without stress, to be sure, and I can't guarantee a win (I'm Uncle Mike, not Broadway Joe), but safely.