Posts Tagged ‘giants’

Super Bowl XLVI Weekend Travel Guide

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

I have previously extolled the virtues of Indianapolis, which you can read about here. On top of all of the great things there are to do during a normal event weekend, the Super Bowl adds another layer of intrigue and fan engagement.

The Super Bowl Village features a zip line, concert stages, warming zones and a variety of other fun and interactive events running down Capitol Avenue. It is adjacent to the NFL Experience, which is fun for the whole family.

Daily (Thursday-Sunday)

  • NFL Experience (Indianapolis Convention Center) – The NFL Experience is pro football’s interactive theme park offering participatory games, displays, entertainment attractions, kids’ football clinics, free autograph sessions and the largest football memorabilia show ever. Tickets can be purchased here.

Thursday

  • Super Bowl XLVI Stadium Tours (Lucas Oil Field) – Super Bowl Fans will have access to the stadium grounds, access to walk on the field, and many other exciting opportunities at the Lucas Oil Stadium. Tickets will be available for purchase through Ticketmaster and the Lucas Oil Stadium box office.
  • NFL VH1 Pepsi Super Bowl Fan Jam Concert (Pepsi Coliseum, Indiana State Fairgrounds) – A concert featuring performances by Gym Class Heroes, Adam Levine, B.o.B. and the All-American Rejects will be shown live on VH1. Click here to purchase tickets.
  • Mike Epps and Friends (Featuring Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa (Bankers Life Fieldhouse) – Super Bowl XLVI local ambassador Mike Epps will put on a show with comedy and great hip hop acts at the home of the Indiana Pacers, right in downtown Indy. Tickets can be purchased here.
  • Butler vs. Wright State (Hinkle Fieldhouse) – The NCAA National runner-up in each of the past two seasons takes on Wright State at the legendary Hinkle Fieldhouse at 7 PM.

Friday

  • 30th Annual NFL Alumni Player of the Year Awards (Scottish Rite Cathedral) – The greatest players in NFL history have convened for thirty years to honor current NFL stars. Join us in 2012 as the NFL Alumni continues a proud tradition where NFL Legends honor their modern day counterparts.
  • 13th Annual Super Bowl Gospel Celebration (Clowes Memorial Hall at Butler University) – Wayne Brady and CeCe Winans will host with performances by Natalie Grant, Donnie McClurkin, Hezekiah Walker, NFL Players, the NFL Choir, Verizons How Sweet the Sound Overall Winning Choir, Salvation and Deliverance Church, and surprise guests. Click here for more info.
  • LMFAO Concert (Verizon Stage, Super Bowl Village) – LMFAO will perform on the Verizon Stage on Welcome Super Fans Day in the Super Bowl Village at 9:30 PM. This is a free event.
  • ESPN Next Party – ESPN’s annual Super Bowl party will feature a headline performance by Drake.

Saturday

  • 6th Annual DirecTV Celebrity Beach Bowl (Victory Field) – A beach flag football game featuring celebrities and NFL players. A postgame concert will be headlined by The Fray.
  • NFL Honors (Murat Theatre) – The inaugural NFL Honors ceremony will be hosted by Alec Baldwin and broadcast on NBC in prime time. The show will feature a live performance from Lenny Kravitz.
  • Taste of the NFL (Gleaners Food Bank) – More than 32 restaurant stations, one from each NFL city, provide fabulous food and wine pairings for guests to sample. There is also an NFL player (either current or alumni) seated at each food station.
  • CMT Crossroads NFL Pepsi Super Bowl Fan Jam (Indiana State Fairgrounds) – Carrie Underwood and Steven Tyler will perform. The CMT Crossroads concert also premieres live on CMT.
  • Gridiron Celebrity Hoops XIV (Hinkle Fieldhouse) – The first and only official celebrity basketball game to raise money and awareness for abused youth in foster care. Click here for more information.
  • Indiana Pacers vs. Orlando Magic (Bankers Life Fieldhouse) – Dwight Howard and the Magic will travel to face the Indiana Pacers on the eve of the Super Bowl.

Sunday

  • NFL Charities Super Bowl Celebrity Bowling Classic (Woodland Bowl) – NFL Charities is pleased to host its Seventh Annual NFL Charities Super Bowl Celebrity Bowling Classic in Indianapolis, IN. Attendees range from Pro Football Hall of Fame members to celebrities, local philanthropists and business owners.
  • Super Bowl XLVI (Lucas Oil Stadium) – New York Giants vs. New England Patriots. Need I say more?

Points of Interest in Indianapolis area:

  • NCAA Hall of Champions – The NCAA Hall of Champions boasts two-levels of all-new interactive exhibits featuring highlights, artifacts and much more.

    Photo courtesy of Indianapolis Motor Speedway

  • Indianapolis Motor SpeedwayThe Hall of Fame Museum is located on the grounds of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a National Historic Landmark, about five miles northwest of downtown Indianapolis. There are more than 75 vehicles on display at any given time, including more than 30 Indianapolis 500-winning cars. The museum was established in 1956, 45 years after the first Indy 500.
  • Circle Centre Mall – While you may not have any shopping to do, there is a Colts team store as well as some memorabilia stores that sports fans might want to take a look at. Plus, there is a Chick-fil-A in the food court, which is a very welcomed sight.
  • White River State Park – The park not only offers the trees, trails and waterways that you would expect from any state park, but also attractions such as the Indianapolis Zoo and the Indiana State Museum.
  • Bankers Life Fieldhouse – Home of the Indiana Pacers, the Fieldhouse also hosts high-profile concerts and events.
  • Victory Field – Home of the Indianapolis Indians, the Pittsburgh Pirates AAA affiliate.

Restaurants and Nightlife:

  • Super Bowl XLVI Food Truck Event on Monument Circle – 23 Indianapolis food trucks will make history when the first Food Truck Fair to be held during a Super Bowl celebration takes place on Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis, Feb. 2-5, 2012, 11 AM to 10 PM each day.
  • St. Elmo’s Steakhouse – This restaurant has been an Indianapolis institution since 1902 and features a cocktail sauce on their shrimp cocktail that will knock your socks off. Biter beware. In addition to some great food, it is pretty much guaranteed that you will see an NFL owner, coach, GM, college football player, or NFL analyst at one table or another.
  • Oceanaire Seafood Room – A seafood place located at Monument Circle, a nice downtown area east of the Capitol Building.
  • Oakley’s Bistro – A favorite of NCAA Director of Championships and Alliances Peter R. Davis.
  • Black Diamond – A 10-minute trip to the north side of Indy, this BBQ joint is a favorite of USA Gymnastics CEO Steve Penny.
  • Paradise Bakery – A nice breakfast spot in Monument Circle.
  • Café Patachou – Breakfast spot located just south of the Indiana State Capitol at Capitol and Washington Streets. This spot has been receiving accolades from Indianapolis publications for more than a decade, and if the locals like it so should you. Order the cinnamon toast.
  • Indianapolis Colts Grille – For good food and a great sports bar.
  • Champions Sports Bar in the Marriott – I am especially fond of this place because of my shortly-held all-time high score at the Pop A Shot during the 2008 NFL Combine. My record has sadly since been broken.
  • Howl at the Moon – A dueling piano bar and live music joint that always provides a good time.
  • 1933 Lounge – For a cool atmosphere and a great cocktail. Tucked between St. Elmo’s and Harry & Izzy’s.

For addition information please contact Jared.Cooper@SPWtravel.com. Enjoy!

Sports Power Weekend Destination: San Francisco, April 8-10

Monday, February 28th, 2011


April 8-10 Friday
  • Cardinals at Giants
Saturday
  • Cardinals at Giants
  • Coyotes at Sharks
Sunday
  • Cardinals at Giants
  • Kings at Warriors


Doors Opening and Doors Closing in the Bay Area

The middle of April marks an interesting time on the sports calendar with the NBA and NHL regular seasons coming to a close, and the MLB season in its second week. This transition is most certainly felt in the Bay Area, as the Golden State Warriors give way to the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants, and the San Jose Sharks make their annual Stanley Cup Playoffs push. This weekend features these beginnings and endings, with the Giants home opener against the St. Louis Cardinals, and the Sharks regular season finale against the Phoenix Coyotes. The Warriors will be hosting their second-to-last regular season game at Oracle Arena this weekend as well.

Friday

  • AT&T Park
  • Chinatown
  • Rocco’s Café

If you are coming in from out of town then you won’t really have much time to do anything prior to heading to AT&T Park, home of the world champs, for their 1 PM local time opener against the St. Louis Cardinals. The Giants take the field for the first time since Game 2 of the 2010 World Series, a game the Giants won 9-0 over the Texas Rangers.

AT&T Park is situated along the San Francisco Bay with breathtaking views of the Bay Bridge and the marina. The setting for this beautiful, classic ballpark with an old-time feel and modern-day amenities is just one of the reasons it was named the 2008 Sports Facility of the Year by the Sports Business Journal. Since opening in 2000, 55 home runs have been hit on the fly into McCovey Cove, just beyond the right field perimeter of the stadium. Barry Bonds amazingly hit 35 of the first 45 “splash hits.”

With the Bay Area being such a technological hotbed, it is no surprise that in 2004 AT&T Park became the first professional sports venue to provide universal WiFi to fans in all concourses and seating areas. Just make sure that you wipe off the oil from the Gilroy Garlic Fries before you pick your electronics back up. The Giants Digital Dugout is an application that allows fans in the park to view replays, find food in the stadium, and track the game in ways no in-stadium fans have ever been able to before.

After the game head north to Chinatown, the largest Chinatown outside of Asia and the oldest one in North America. Chinatown is one of the top attractions in San Francisco, and offers a variety of attractions, as well as incredible culture and history. It is densely populated and seemingly packed and crowded, but just walking through the streets and alleys you can feel the history of a city that welcomed its first Chinese immigrants in 1848. The designs of the Bank of Canton – formerly the Chinese telephone exchange – building and the Sing Chong Building are worth checking out.

For dinner, head to Rocco’s Café, located in SOMA (South of Market Area) on Folsom Street. Rocco’s serves up great pasta dishes, such as the linguini with white clam sauce, and local favorites like Chef Don Dial’s chicken marsala or grilled homemade polenta. SOMA also offers an eclectic mix of electronic music or hip-hop clubs, as well as chiller, artsy lounges. If you are looking for more of the rock bar scene, Mission district is where you should head.

Saturday

  • Dottie’s True Blue Café
  • Lombard Street
  • Golden Gate Bridge
  • Fisherman’s Wharf
  • Ghirardelli Square
  • Alcatraz
  • Palo Alto
  • HP Pavilion

There is only one place you should consider going for breakfast on Saturday morning in San Francisco, and that is Dottie’s True Blue Café. Take a look at this video segment from Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and you too will find yourself craving their cornbread with jalapeno jelly and their incredible and creative omelet combinations. Be mindful that there are no reservations and there may be a bit of a wait as the line begins to form down Jones Street.

After breakfast, make your way north up Leavenworth Street (one street over from Jones) until you reach Lombard Street. The intersection of Lombard and Leavenworth is where the well-known portion of Lombard, the “crookedest” street in the world, lets out. The downhill curves of Lombard’s one-way road attract millions of tourists a year, both at the top of the hill and the bottom. Check out both of those views, as well as the mansions and floral arrangements that line the street, and take some memorable photos.

You are now in sight of the San Francisco Bay, which means that the towering Golden Gate Bridge is nearby. The Bridge crosses the Golden Gate Strait (for which the Bridge is named) and connects San Francisco with Marin County to the north. It opened to pedestrians and traffic in late May of 1937 and at the time was the longest suspension bridge in the world. The Bridge is open for bikers and those interested in walking the 1.7 miles from end to end. You can also go to one of the viewing spots at the base of the bridge or the visitor’s center for information and gifts.

From the bridge, make your way to Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco’s waterfront community. The Aquarium of the Bay and Pier 39 are the main attractions, and the famous cable cars are accessible at the Wharf for a scenic ride. There is a wide variety of great seafood as you walk along The Embarcadero, particularly their famous Dungeness crab. For a wider variety of menu options, try the Fog City Diner, topped off with a stop at Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop in Ghirardelli Square.

Across the Bay from Fisherman’s Wharf is Alcatraz, at one time a Civil War fortress before becoming an infamous federal prison until 1963. Alcatraz is only accessible via a ferry operated by Alcatraz Cruises that departs from Pier 33, a bit southeast of the Wharf. Tours are approximately two and a half hours, so if you intend to go to The Rock you will have to plan accordingly.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

In contrast to the home opener on Friday for the Giants, the San Jose Sharks will be playing the regular season finale at HP Pavilion on Saturday. The Sharks host the Phoenix Coyotes at 7:30 PM local time, and may be playing with a playoff spot on the line. The Pavilion opened in 1993, giving San Jose a headline entertainment and sports venue, and making more attractive for events and concerts. Pollstar, the leading concert industry trade magazine, has twice nominated HP Pavilion as “Arena of the Year” (in 2005 and 2007).

Getting from San Francisco to San Jose is easy by taking CalTrain; it is a one-hour ride on the express train or about an hour and a half on the local. You can make a stop in Palo Alto, a bit more than halfway between the two cities, to check out the picturesque Stanford campus. There are also a number of top-notch places to grab a bite before the finishing the trip to San Jose in the Town & Country Shopping Center, or on University Avenue in downtown Palo Alto.

Sunday

  • Zazie
  • Haight-Ashbury
  • AT&T Park
  • Mission District
  • Oracle Arena

Saturday was most certainly an action-packed day, but there will be no slouching on Sunday. Start off the final day of the weekend at Zazie, a brunch spot in Cole Valley just south of Haight-Ashbury. Haight-Ashbury was at the center of the hippie culture in the 1960s, most well known for the “summer of love” that brought hippies and young students to the area in 1967. The area gained national acclaim because of the proximity of the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, and Jefferson Airplane, whose members lived a short distance from the intersection of Haight and Ashbury Streets.

After you snap out of your haze from walking along that area, head back to AT&T Park for the 1:05 PM start of the final game of the weekend home set between the Giants and Cardinals. Check out some of the parts of the park that you may have missed on Friday, and be sure to get a look at the Willie Mays statue in the plaza outside the front gates.

Between the end of the Giants game and making your way to Oakland for the Golden State Warriors game, check out the nearby Mission District, and make a stop at Taqueria La Cumbre, which claims to have been the first place to serve the “mission-style” burrito. Make sure to get the carne asada and revel in the history of this burrito haven.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

For the final stop on your Bay Area Sports Power Weekend, take the BART train about 20 minutes from 16th Street Mission to Coliseum/Oakland Airport for just a few bucks. You will find yourself looking at both Oracle Arena, home of the Golden State Warriors, and Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, home of both the Oakland Athletics and Oakland Raiders.  Oracle Arena has been home to the Warriors since 1966, and after undergoing a large-scale renovation in 1996 it has seated over 19,500 fans, which are considered to be among the best fans in the NBA. It is the oldest facility still in use by the NBA, and welcomes the nearby rival Sacramento Kings for the second-to-last home game of the 2010-11 season at 6 PM local time.

There are certainly worse ways to spend a weekend than seeing two Giants games, a Sharks game and a Warriors game, all while eating some great food and taking in the sights and attractions of the Bay Area. These action packed days will certainly drain your battery a bit, but you will sleep on the redeye home.

When you get back home, you will realize that it was all worth it.

Top Sports Power Weekends: San Francisco & Oakland

Monday, January 24th, 2011



Below are the Sports Power Weekend options in the Bay Area in the coming months. Please visit the San Francisco & Oakland City Guide page for information on activities and events in these cities on days that do not have sporting events.

For more information on booking a travel package to San Francisco or Oakland, please contact us at info@SPWtravel.com.

April 1-3 Friday
  • Mariners at Athletics
  • Nuggets at Kings
Saturday
  • Mariners at Athletics
  • Mavericks at Warriors
  • Ducks at Sharks
  • Sounders at Earthquakes
Sunday
  • Mariners at Athletics
  • Jazz at Kings
April 8-10 Friday
  • Cardinals at Giants
Saturday
  • Cardinals at Giants
  • Coyotes at Sharks
  • Toronto FC at Earthquakes
Sunday
  • Cardinals at Giants
  • Kings at Warriors
April 15-17 Friday
  • Tigers at Athletics
Saturday
  • Tigers at Athletics
Sunday
  • Tigers at Athletics
April 22-24 Friday
  • Braves at Giants
Saturday
  • Braves at Giants
  • Chivas USA at Earthquakes
Sunday
  • Braves at Giants
April 29-May 1 Friday
  • Rangers at Athletics
Saturday
  • Rangers at Athletics
Sunday
  • Rangers at Athletics

Facility Roundup: New York

Friday, December 10th, 2010

NFL:

New Meadowlands Stadium (New York Jets & New York Giants)

The Skinny:  The $1.6 billion stadium opened hosted its first NFL game in August of 2010 in a preseason matchup between the two tenants, the Jets and the Giants. Getting to the stadium has never been easier with the addition of a New Jersey Transit stop directly in front of the stadium. The stadium is able to seamlessly transition between hosting Jets and Giants games over the course of an 18-hour process that is aided by interior lighting system.

Year Opened:  2010

Capacity:  82,500

Best Attribute:  The technology. The stadium sports four massive 30 x 118 foot HD display boards at each corner of the stadium, and more than 2,100 HD monitors throughout the stadium. If you are going to get food at some of the vastly upgraded concession stands, you will not miss any action with all of the TV coverage.

MLB:

Yankee Stadium (New York Yankees)

The Skinny:  The dimensions of the field remain the same, but just about everything else has changed as compared to the old Yankee Stadium. The concourses are nearly twice as wide, there are tons of food options, and the 59 x 101 foot HD video board in centerfield is among the best in the majors. With wider seats and more legroom, the new stadium may lack the history and tradition of the 85+ year-old original, but the viewing experience is on a different level.

Year Opened:  2009

Capacity:  50,287

Best Moment:  November 4, 2009. The Yankees defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 7-3 in Game 6 of the 2009 World Series at Yankee Stadium, bringing home the franchise’s 27th World Series title.

Citi Field (New York Mets)

Courtesy of Mets.com

The Skinny:  The state of the art facility is much more intimate than Shea Stadium as a result of the reduction of more than 13,000 seats. The classic design was inspired by Ebbets Field, former home of the Brooklyn Dodgers, and the wider seats angled towards the action, increased legroom, and widened concourses make the in-game experience significantly better. Concessions such as Shake Shack and Blue Smoke behind center field are hard to top.

Year Opened:  2009

Capacity:  41,800

Best Attribute:  Fans are welcomed through the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, a magnificent tribute to the late Brooklyn Dodgers hero. An eight-foot sculpture of Robinson’s number 42 stands amid the 160-foot-diameter rotunda.

NBA/NHL:

Madison Square Garden (New York Knicks & New York Rangers, College Basketball)

The Skinny:  Known as “The World’s Most Famous Arena,” Madison Square Garden opened in its current location in 1968 and is the third busiest arena in the world in terms of ticket sales. Located above Penn Station between 31st and 33rd Streets and Seventh and Eighth Avenue is Manhattan, The Garden is the longest-active major sports facility in the New York metropolitan area. A nearly $800M renovation from 2011-2013 will keep The Garden alive for another 40+ years.

Year Opened:  1968

Capacity:  19,763 for basketball; 18,200 for hockey

Best Moment: MSG has been the site of some of the most historic moments in NBA (Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals), NHL (Game 7 of the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals), boxing (Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier), college basketball (home to the Big East Tournament since 1983), and music history.

Prudential Center (New Jersey Nets, New Jersey Devils, & Seton Hall basketball)

The Skinny: The Prudential Center is the cornerstone in the revitalization and renaissance of downtown Newark, and hosts Located in downtown Newark, just 2 blocks from Newark Penn Station, the arena is accessible via New Jersey Transit, PATH and Amtrak making it easy to get there. An externally mounted 4,800 square-foot LED display, one of the largest in the world, welcomes fans entering the arena, and a 6,000 square-foot mural along the Grand Concourse wall features depictions of famous New Jersey sports legends.

Year Opened:  2007

Capacity: 17,625 for hockey and 18,500 for basketball

Best Attribute:  With more than 750 flat screens and the Championship Plaza, an outdoor space designed to celebrate the Devils’ championship history, the fan experience at the Prudential Center is a vast improvement over the former home of the building’s tenants, East Rutherford’s Izod Center.

Nassau Coliseum (New York Islanders)

The Skinny: Located in Uniondale on Long Island, the Coliseum opened in 1972 and has housed the Islanders ever since, also playing home to the New York Nets of the ABA and NBA from 1972-77, during which time Julius “Dr. J” Erving was leading the Nets to the ABA title and winning the ABA MVP (1974). The Coliseum was nicknamed “Fort Neverlose” during the Islanders’ four consecutive Stanley Cup championships from 1980-84; over the course of those four seasons the Islanders sported a home record of 141-36-23, including the postseason.

Year Opened:  1972

Capacity:  16,250

Best Moment: May 24, 1980. The Islanders defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 5-4 in overtime in Game 6 of the 1980 Stanley Cup Finals on a goal by Bobby Nystrom that started the Islanders dynasty in the early 1980s.

MLS:

Red Bull Arena (New York Red Bulls)

The Skinny:  The soccer-specific stadium opened in Harrison, New Jersey, a suburb of Newark, in the Spring of 2010 and has become a big draw for metropolitan soccer fans. It is a short walk from the New Jersey transit station in Harrison, making it easy for fans from New York and New Jersey to attend. Sections 133, 101 and 102 are nicknamed the “South Ward” and are reserved for fans of the Red Bulls support clubs, making that area the rowdiest and loudest area of the arena.

Year Opened:  2010

Capacity:  25,000

Best Moment: July 22, 2010. French national team star Thierry Henry makes his Red Bulls debut and scores a goal in front of more than 20,000 fans during a New York Barclays Challenge game against Tottenham. The fans greeted Henry with a roar and he delivered, blowing kisses to the crowd after his goal.

College Football:

Rutgers Stadium (Rutgers Scarlet Knights)

The Skinny:  A recent $102M expansion pushed the capacity to more than 52,000 and was completed prior to the 2009 season. The on-campus stadium added a 38-foot x 112-foot video board as part of the renovations, and features a cannon that fires upon Rutgers scoring drives. The stadium has also hosted NCAA tournament soccer and lacrosse games, including the Men’s lacrosse championship games in 188, 2001 and 2002.

Year Opened:  1994

Capacity:  52,454

Best Moment:  November 9, 2006. The #15-ranked Scarlet Knights faced the #3-ranked Louisville Cardinals in front of a then-record crowd of 44,111. In what was heralded as the most important game in Rutgers history, they defeated Louisville and the fans stormed the field. It was known as “Pandemonium in Piscataway.”

College Basketball:

Carnesecca Arena (St. John’s Red Storm)

The Skinny:  Between opening its doors in 1961 and its renaming for long-time St. John’s legendary coach Lou Carnesseca, Carnesseca Arena was called Alumni Hall and was home to some high-quality basketball. The Johnnies play most of their high-profile games at Madison Square Garden, using Carnesseca Arena mostly for their early-season non-conference games.

Year Opened:  1961

Capacity:  6,008

Fun Fact:  Carnesseca Arena is the last venue in New York City that the NCAA Tournament was held; it hosted first-round games from 1970-74. Madison Square Garden is the home to the NIT and Big East Tournament.

Louis Brown Athletic Center “The RAC” (Rutgers Scarlet Knights)

Courtesy of ScarletKnights.com

The Skinny:  It has been called “louder than a 757 at nearby Newark” and it is definitely one of the loudest arenas in the nation. It has a trapezoidal design that allows the noise to resonate, making it an incredibly tough place to play. In addition to hosting the Scarlet Knights since 1977, the RAC (it was officially called the Rutgers Athletic Center until 1986 but still goes by the RAC moniker) was also home to the NBA’s New Jersey Nets from 1977-1981.

Year Opened:  1977

Capacity:  8,000

What They’re Saying:  “It is very difficult at the RAC. They have a great home crowd. The student body and everybody really comes out to support them. Just the way the gym is shaped, it seems like everybody is on top of you. At times, if you’re not focused, you can get lost in the game just by how intense the crowd is.”
– Former Connecticut Guard Ben Gordon

Sports Power Weekend Destination: New York

Friday, December 10th, 2010


December 17-19 Friday
  • Heat at Knicks
  • Predators at Devils
Saturday
  • Coyotes at Islanders
Sunday
  • Eagles at Giants
  • Hawks at Nets
  • NJIT at Seton Hall


Big Bite Out of the Big Apple

With so many professional and college teams calling New York (and New Jersey) home, hardly a weekend goes by without multiple teams playing here. It is not hard to find a Sports Power Weekend in New York in any season, but picking the right one can be tricky. As December rolls along, baseball and college football have given way to the NBA, NHL and college basketball, and the NFL regular season approaches its end. This creates a rare window where you can see the Knicks play at “The World’s Most Famous Arena” and a game from the perfect Sports Power Weekends league: the NFL.

The holiday spirit has cast over New York by the middle of December, and so has the cold weather. But that shouldn’t chill your excitement, especially with the Heat coming to town. With the Knicks and Giants both home, and the possibility of an NHL game on Saturday in play, there is a lot to be cheerful for this holiday season.

Travel note: With potential weather issues and traffic this time of year, it is important to know your options regarding traveling from the airports. Cabs back from LaGuardia are often in the range of $25 and take about 30 minutes depending on traffic to Manhattan. Cabs from Kennedy airport are a flat $45 plus tips and tolls. A more inexpensive option is taking the Air Train from the airport to Jamaica station, and then taking the E subway line into Manhattan. This will take between 45 minutes and one hour, but only costs $7.25.

Friday

  • Madison Square Garden
  • Lombardi’s
  • Lower East Side

Courtesy of Getty Images

They don’t call Madison Square Garden “The World’s Most Famous Arena” for nothing. Since opening in its current location in 1968, MSG has been the site of some of the most historic moments in NBA (Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals), NHL (Game 7 of the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals), boxing (Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier), college basketball (home to the Big East Tournament since 1983), and music history.

While tonight’s game may not live up to those lofty moments, the Knicks welcome LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and the Miami Heat to The Garden in what promises to be an electric atmosphere normally befitting a playoff game. James and Michael Jordan are the only players who have scored multiple 50-point games at the current Madison Square Garden; it is always a show when he comes to New York in front of 19,763 fans and a tremendous media contingent.

Your next move should be from an historic arena to an historic pizza joint. The over 100 year-old Lombardi’s Pizzeria (take the F subway line from Herald Square to Second Avenue) is worthy of the incredibly lofty praise that has been heaped on it like cheese and sauce. Lombardi’s was the first pizzeria in the country, and has a story that will make your head spin (Scott’s Pizza Tours has the inside scoop for you as part of what could be a fantastic afternoon of pizza eating and pizza history).

There is no shortage of nightlife options while you are down on the lower east side. Right around the corner from the Meatball Shop is Arlene’s Grocery, a small, unassuming live music joint that promises a good time. Also, a few blocks north is Alphabet City in the East Village, where even more young-leaning bars reside.

Saturday

  • Sarabeth’s
  • Central Park
  • NBA Store
  • Rockefeller Center
  • Radio City Music Hall
  • China Grill
  • Museums
  • o   Museum of Natural History
    o   Metropolitan Museum of Art
    o   Guggenheim

  • P.J. Clarke’s
  • Second Avenue

There are so many great breakfast and brunch spots in Manhattan that it is difficult to only offer one suggestion for starting your Saturday morning, but Sarabeth’s on Central Park South is a good option. Its location, just across from Central Park between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, sets up your morning nicely. It is up to you if you want to wander through the park and see what it is all about; the 18th is the final day of Winterfest at the Central Park Zoo, which is located just off Fifth Avenue at 64th Street.

Making your way south, the NBA Store on 52nd Street and Fifth Avenue is the world’s only NBA Store and is worth a visit. It opened in its current location in 1998 and will actually be moving in February of 2011, so this may be your best chance to check it out. With a half-court shooting area, video games, memorabilia and tons of merchandise, you are sure to find something you can wear to represent your favorite team.

Next up, a little holiday spirit in the heart of midtown. Head two blocks south to Rockefeller Center at 50th Street and Fifth Avenue to check out the Tree, the Ice Skating Rink, NBC Studios and 30 Rockefeller Plaza. If it is a clear day you can even go to The Top of the Rock, 70 floors high, for exhilarating and unobstructed views of the Manhattan skyline. It isn’t quite as far-reaching a view as the top of the Empire State Building, but you will avoid that tremendous wait and those higher prices. You can then make your way through the rest of the plaza towards Sixth Avenue (Avenue of the Americas) to check out Radio City Music Hall and perhaps catch one of the several Radio City Christmas Spectacular performances that are put on daily.

After the show you will have built up a bit of an appetite, and the nearby China Grill is just the thing for you. Right across the street from the Museum of Modern Art, this Asian-fusion restaurant serves some great lunch dishes, including their Confucius chicken or crackling calamari salads.

An avenue west of China Grill is the 1-2 Subway line that will take you up to 79th and Broadway and drop you off just a few blocks west of the Museum of Natural History and the adjoining Hayden Planetarium. Just across Central Park and its Great Lawn over on 82nd and Fifth Avenue is the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In addition, the Guggenheim Museum resides at 89th Street and Fifth Avenue. There is a whole lot of culture in a small radius in this city.

You do have the option of making your way to Penn Station to catch the Long Island Railroad to Uniondale station, a stone’s throw from Nassau Coliseum, where the New York Islanders are hosting the Phoenix Coyotes. The Coliseum opened in 1972 and has housed the Islanders ever since, also playing home to the New York Nets of the ABA and NBA from 1972-77, during which time Julius “Dr. J” Erving was leading the Nets to the ABA title and winning the ABA MVP (1974). The Coliseum was nicknamed “Fort Neverlose” during the Islanders’ four consecutive Stanley Cup championships from 1980-84; over the course of those four seasons the Islanders sported a home record of 141-36-23, including the postseason. The Coliseum has since become quite dilapidated, but if you have the urge to catch an NHL game on this day, the trip from the city is easy and you can be back in the city for the nightlife.

If you opt to skip the hockey game, head down towards Midtown to P.J. Clarke’s on 55th and Third Avenue, a location it has maintained since the late 1800’s. P.J. Clarke’s serves up some of the best burgers in New York, and it will be worth the wait at the historic, if not cramped, bar at the front of the restaurant. Just a block east of P.J. Clarke’s on Second Avenue there are a bunch of bars that you can feel free to pop in and out of to see what suits your tastes. The bars cater to a mostly young professional crowd, but even though they all seem to be constructed the same, one may have more of a vibe that fits you better than the others.

Sunday

  • H&H Bagels
  • New Meadowlands Stadium

Courtesy of AP Images

You would be remiss if you came to New York but didn’t have one of the delicacies that helps separate the city from the rest of the country: the bagel. And there is no better place to have one than H&H Bagels. With locations on both the east and west side of Manhattan, regardless of where you are staying this should be your first stop of the morning. After devouring one (or two), your mindset should switch from food to football, as two of the NFL’s premier franchises are set to face off across the river.

With the New Jersey Transit rail line making stop directly in front of New Meadowlands Stadium, traveling to and from Giants and Jets games has become much more convenient. For maximum tailgating experience, driving and arriving early is still the best way to go, but if you are coming from Long Island, New York City, Westchester or parts of New Jersey, the NJ Transit (via Penn Station and Secaucus) is a great option.

The New Meadowlands Stadium made its debut earlier in the 2010 season and offers fans four massive video boards, one at each corner of the $1.6 billion stadium, and a tremendous number of TVs throughout the wide concourses. The concession stands have been tremendously upgraded from the options previously offered at Giants Stadium. More than 82,500 fans pack the stands each week for either the Giants or the Jets, who share the building. The stadium is set up to seamlessly transition between the Giants blue and Jets green by an interior lighting system. The whole process of changing over the stadium, including the field decorations, takes about 18 hours.

With the division-rival Eagles coming to town this late in the season, the NFC East title is essentially on the line, adding importance to an already heated rivalry. Make sure you bundle up; three hours or more in the mid-December chill of New Jersey is no joke. Especially since you can always count on a bit of a wait to actually make your way home, even if you decide to take the train, which is situated right outside of the stadium.

As your weekend in New York winds down, you will realize that even though you crammed an incredible amount of sports, food, and sightseeing into your weekend, you barely scratched the surface of “The City That Never Sleeps.” So hop over to the Sports Power Weekends tab, check out the next weekend that works for you, and contact us to make it happen!