August 30, 2006 - Wednesday
Flew in last night, was picked up at La Guardia by Mom and Dad, who drove up from Sanger and are staying at Nickerson Beach in their new 5th wheel trailer. Nickerson Beach is in Long Beach, which is a small strip of land just off the southeast end of Long Island. Much better accommodations in the 5th wheel than we had at the Deauville, although no spiffy elevator. Ha. We don't have cable tv or internet, but we DO have a kitchen and a LOT more space.
Today we took the LIRR (Long Island Rail Road) into Manhattan for my afternoon appointment at Arrojo Studio (the NY hair salon seen on TLC's "What Not To Wear"). I had over 11 inches cut off, which I will be donating to Locks of Love - the 2nd time I've done that. My hair was cut by one of the senior stylists, Amanda. While my hair was drying, Mom got some pics of the owner, Nick. (Nick Arrojo - the one who does the hair for the participants on WNTW). He apparently had just finished with an appointment and was letting her get some photos with him, as well as an autograph. For $400, I'd certainly hope you'd get more than just the haircut! Mine didn't cost that much, although it WAS expensive, but I am happy with the results.
While in the city, we found the remains of a bicycle chained to a street post. All that was left was the frame and one pedal (and the bike-lock chain, of course).
August 31, 2006 - Thursday
All three of us went to the US Open today. We actually drove up to the tennis center and parked at Shea Stadium rather than take mass transit. If we had ridden the train up, we wouldn't have been able to get there early enough to get tickets, based on our experience the last time we came. They aren't letting backpacks on the grounds anymore, but at least you can still bring sodas/water/lunch/etc with you. Since we drove, we left our food in the truck and walked back out there to have lunch.
Throughout the day, we watched various matches in Louis Armstrong and the outer courts. Of particular note: We saw Benjamin Becker beat Sebastien Grosjean on Court 11 (a match NOT shown on TV). Becker is from Germany by way of Baylor University, and is no relation to the famous German tennis player Boris Becker. After beating Grosjean, Becker's next opponent is Andre Agassi - See Sunday entry for more on this.
In keeping with our 2003 tradition, we tried to watch any of Jonas Bjorkman's matches that we could get to. Tonight's was men's doubles. His partner this year is Max Mirnyi. They won their match and I got Mirnyi's autograph to go along with Bjorkman's and Woodbridge's (his doubles partner in 2003).
September 1, 2006 - Friday
Today we rode the train up to Shea Stadium. We had planned ahead and bought our tickets yesterday afternoon, so didn't have to worry about getting to the tennis center super-early. One day of tennis proved enough for Mom, so she rode on in to Manhattan without us. Among other things, she finally got by the Hello Deli when it was open. (Every other time we've passed it, it's been closed).
Meanwhile, Dad and I enjoyed another day of tennis. The most interesting match today was mixed doubles. Martina Navratilova, who is a few months shy of turning 50, is retiring after this tournament. Her mixed doubles partner is Bob Bryan, famous for winning lots of men's doubles with his brother, Mike. Mike was actually their opponent today, along with Corina Morariu (I'm not familiar with her). Martina and B. Bryan won the match with a tie-breaker. (Note: They went on to win the mixed doubles championship, giving Navratilova one last title before retirement.)
As evening came, we went out to court 4 to watch men's doubles and wait for Bjorkman's mixed doubles match to start. Unfortunately, partway through, it started to drizzle on and off. Play would stop, it would stop raining, they'd start again, it would start to drizzle again... at one point, while the match was halted, we moved to the next court over, where Bjorkman's match had started, and watched that until they called it quits because of the intermittent rain. Then we moved back over to court 4 and watched a little more of the men's doubles there until they did the same. Since they weren't going to be finishing their match, the players took a few moments to sign some autographs before going inside, and I got Mardy Fish's autograph. He is a friend of Andy Roddick's and won the silver medal at the 2004 Olympics.
September 2, 2006 - Saturday
The storm formerly known as Hurricane Ernesto reached the area during the night and today was rainy rainy rainy with wind gusts up to 50 mph. (Up to 80 mph down in New Jersey - thank goodness we aren't THERE!) For obvious reasons, NO tennis was played today, and we spent most of the day hunkered down in the trailer, waiting out the storm, with only one brief trip into town to do some laundry. We also walked the short distance from our camp area down to the beach to view the waves, which were impressive. I guess we should have gone out there BEFORE the storm arrived, so we could have comparison photos of what the area is SUPPOSED to look like. Oh well.
September 3, 2006 - Sunday
Since we weren't planning on going to the Open today (see below, re: Brazilian Day), we took our time getting started, and ended up watching the beginning of Andre Agassi's match against Benjamin Becker before we left the trailer. This US Open is Agassi's last - he is retiring. He has been having back problems and was definitely looking sore today. We stopped by the US Open on our way into Manhattan, to see about buying tickets for tomorrow or possibly Tuesday, so we could ride the train in again instead of having to drive in early. While we were standing in line, they announced that Agassi had just lost to Becker and we joined in as everyone on the grounds gave Agassi a standing ovation for his many years of great tennis. By the time we got to the front of the line, they were sold out of tickets until Wednesday. We had other plans for Wednesday, my last day in town, so we decided the two days of tennis we'd already had were good enough and took the subway into the city.
Brazilian Day: On the Sunday before Labor Day each year, Avenue of the Americas near Times Square is closed to vehicle traffic for Brazilian Day. Mom discovered this last time when she came to Manhattan while Dad and I were at the US Open, and this year we went with her. The streets are packed with people, many wearing green and yellow (Brazil's colors). There are street vendors lining the sidewalks, where you can buy anything from Greek gyros to French crepes to sunglasses to cashmere scarves from Scotland (although how those relate to Brazil, I haven't yet figured out).
Leaving the masses behind, we decided to view the city from above. The line to get into the Empire State Building is ridiculous (at least 45 minutes... on a good day), but the Rockefeller Plaza tower, which is only slightly shorter, had no line at all. Guess which one we picked. From the Top of the Rock, we had a good view of the city, including Central Park, the Empire State Building... and the masses of people celebrating Brazilian Day on the streets below.
September 4, 2006 - Monday
Since we didn't have tickets to the Open for today, and since you don't need USA Network to watch tennis on Labor Day weekend, we spent most of the day watching the CBS coverage on TV. Didn't do much else and don't have the photos to prove it.
September 5, 2006 - Tuesday
It turned out to be fortuitous that we weren't able to obtain tickets for today's tennis matches: they only got in one match apiece on each of the available courts before it started raining and the rest of the day was a wash. Meanwhile, we drove up to the northern end of Long Island, through the Hamptons, up to Montauk Point, about 90 miles from Long Beach. There is a very neat lighthouse up there, although by the time we arrived that afternoon, it was closed for the day. But we got some nice pictures of it and of the rocky coast around it. I took a number of photos specifically to use as wallpapers on my computer when I get home. (The versions posted here are lower res than my originals.) I've been using a few from my trip to Ireland and wanted some more for a change of scenery, so to speak. Montauk point provided some good opportunities. It was overcast most of the day, and finally started to rain on us as we made our way home.
September 6, 2006 - Wednesday
For those of you who know Devin Taylor, you may be interested to hear that he is currently in New York (as of last Monday). He moved up here to be near his girlfriend and has been interviewing for IT jobs in the area. We met up with him briefly last Wednesday and today we drove into Brooklyn (where he is staying) to explore the area with him. We walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, then rode the subway down to Coney Island. With the summer officially over, Coney Island has a bit of a ghost-town feel to it, but it was easy to imagine the boardwalk and beaches packed with people on a hot summer day. In the evening, we met up with Devin's s.o. and went for dinner, then we climbed back in the truck and headed back to Long Beach. Time for me to finish packing, transferring photos to my flashdrive, etc, in preparation for flying home tomorrow afternoon.
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