Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Queens for a Day

Saturday, April 18th

One by one I am conquering each of NYC's famous Boroughs on foot . This past Saturday I set my sights on Queens. I'll be honest and admit to knowing very little about Queens. I've visited there probably four times in my two years living in NYC and two of those were for sporting events. True to form, it was a sporting event that drew me there on Saturday. The Mets were playing their fifth regular season in their new Citifield and I was the proud owner of tickets in the extreme nether-regions of left field. Most fans from Manhattan pile onto the 7 train and jump out at Willets Point, mere steps from the new stadium. I chose - as always - to walk it.

It's amazing how much can be accomplished in one morning when you wake up early enough. I stepped out of my house (top left) at 7:50am and by 12 noon I was sitting in front of Citifield (top right). It took me just 4 hours and 10 minutes to walk 12 miles - down the western span of Central Park, across midtown, over the endless Queensboro bridge, and then underneath the elevated subway shadowing Queens and Roosevelt Blvds. right to the doorstep of the Metropolitans. I only took one short 20 minute break just on the far side of the Queensboro bridge to rest my dogs and enjoy a 25 cent banana (I defy you to find a 25 cent banana on the Manhattan side of the bridge). That banana, a bottle of water and some cut-up pineapple that I purchased from a vendor further up Roosevelt Blvd. sustained me all the way until lunch.

I had lunch in the park, where there was a dearth of 25 cent anything - unless you count the $7.25 plastic cups of beer - of which I certainly did not partake. I opted for a $4.75 hot dog, a $3.75 pretzel and another bottle of water, this one priced at $3, for a lunch totaling $12.50. Ah, the joy of sports-based modern capitalism. If I would have known food could have been brought in, I would have stowed away a deli sandwich in my bag like the woman sitting to my left. But I didn't want to take a chance, especially after my experience with Yankee Stadium last year where they don't allow ANY bags in the stadium, unless it is a woman's purse (so much for gender equity).

There was little else to complain about in this sparkling new field. Once my Sherpa showed me to my seat in the 537 section above left field I settled in and soaked in the views. It was a beautifully sunny day, my iPhone registering the temperature at around 72 degrees. But sitting there in the cross hairs of a noon sun it soon started to feel closer to 92 degrees. I am not sure of the exact Physics equation that can account for this, but somehow being at a baseball game in April either raises or drops the temperature level by 20 degrees depending on it you are sitting unprotected in the midday sun or in the darkness of a bone chillingly cold Spring evening. Of those two options, I prefer the former, but I did silently pat myself on the back from remembering to apply some SPF earlier in the morning.

My friend Daphnie showed up in the top of the 5th inning. I did my best to not root for the hated Mets, but they pulled out a 1-0 victory between Johan Santana anyway. We fought our way through an absolute crush of humanity out of the stadium and into the subway where we retreated back to Manhattan.

I am not sure where I will walk this weekend. Maybe I will take the subway out to Coney Island and then walk 15 miles back into Manhattan. It's going to be warm again this Saturday, which will serve me well. But I realize that the ideal walking temperature is really between 65 - 75 degrees. That means the most challenging walking I will experience will likely be in September, when days could still be substantially warmer than that. I'll worry about that another day. For now, I will say goodbye to Queens and the division-rival Mets. Wake me up at the end of the year when they are chocking away another Division title.

Total Miles = 12.02


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