Monday, February 15, 2010

303 NYC


What a SO win the other day, eh?  Sadly, my sister didn't have Center Ice at her apartment while Steph and I packed out bags to head back to Nashville...and The Blind Pig (the great bar I tweeted about during the Islanders game) had a Rangers game on half of the TVs and the Olympics on the dice getting it changed over to the game.  All I could do was refresh my Twitter app (EchoFon currently) and marvel at how well Cal O'Reilly is playing his game these past four games.

At the airport, I ran into a handful of Nashvillians that flew up to be a part of this New England trip and almost felt like I was in a club box...until I realized Sommet Center doesn't have the delicious smell of Auntie Anne's Pretzels...which is something they should look into: real food.

The City of New York can be a great place, depending on where you are.  I don't feel at all unsafe in Manhattan - it's been vastly cleaned up since the 90's and, though I haven't been past the 100+blocks, the first 99 are fine by me.  Brooklyn...they're working on it.  Time, money and only having a day or so to hang out with my sister (who lives there), kept us from hitting up the Islanders game in the historic Nassau Coliseum, an arena that "Pred Ed" likens to Municipal Auditorium.  No wonder they're going through hell trying to build a new one (I was invited to an event at Municipal a few years ago - not having been since 1996, and man - they need to do something to that place).

[Photo on right: Steph with "303NYC" in MSG].

Madison Square Gardens, or MSG for short, is a classic arena to be sure, but it is incredibly over-rated with a lay-out that would make Jackson Pollock's eyes cross.  After traveling up 4 sets of escalators and up one elevator and walking through a few corridors since our tower (C of A,B,C,D) was blocked off, we ended up being at the equivalent of the 200 level back home.  If that didn't knock our understanding of physics for a loop, the railing you see in the picture there blocks the view of anyone sitting who isn't taller than 6'3" (basing this on the fact that I'm 5'11" and had to peak my head up a handful of inches to see the ice entirely).  This was my 2nd time to MSG, Steph's 1st, and we both agreed: No sir, we don't like it.

Note that the "303NYC" sign could only work if we were in NYC.  We knew we'd have to crop it a bit once we got to the Garden State (such an overrated movie) - if we didn't get tossed out for wearing Preds gear to a Devils game, we'd definitely get tossed out for associating Newark with NYC!  With that in mind, we walked around for a bit and took a few pictures.  We were already in the lower half of what's considered "Midtown", so we figured we'd start from the bottom and work our way to the top.  [Pictured left: J.K. holding "303NYC" in front of the famed Hook&Ladder firehouse used in the movie Ghostbusters].

Making our way back up town, we hit up the NHL Store (Powered by Reebok [which is why no Olympic jerseys where to be found]).  The last time I had been to the NHL store was in 2007.  At that time, they had one home Preds jersey and nothing more.  Thankfully, this time they made up for it.  Original Six teams aside, the Preds merch was nearly equal to any of the other 23 teams. Preds merch adorned the mannequins in the window, along with one mannequin featuring a Devils shirt (since we were playing them the next day) - more Preds featured in NY than Devils - the enemy of my enemy is a friend indeed! [Right: J.K. with "303NYC" at the NHL Store]

[Left: Steph with newly cropped "303" sign in front of The Prudential Center; Below: Steph holding "303" with Joel Ward...kinda.]

The next day had us shifting all around NY and NJ on the PATH train, a much cleaner, but less obvious subway/train to use vs. the MTA (color coded maps, but no train is color coded - they use Track numbers and Abbreviations not made clear on said color coded maps; strange to a newcomer).  Once we had that down, we made our way through the busy Newark-Penn Station and saw The Prudential Center a few blocks in the distance.  As stated in the last post, this arena is nothing short of beautiful inside and out.  This is exactly what Sommet should strive to be: more local displays (high school hockey teams along the lobby hallways), more locally designed merch, special to the pro-shop, unavailable anywhere else, and most of all...better food.

[Left: The Lil Goalie That Could've...But That's Not Part Of Rotation. Note to Trotz: this man provided us with the WINS.]

Thanks to Twitter, we got word that the "303" sign was featured on TV during the 1st intermission, so for the whole 3rd period, we held up the sign in the face of the Devils' onslaught against us.  If you have screenshots of the "303" (one section to the right of our bench on TV), lemme know at seepuckcity(at)gmail(dot)com.

Though the game ended up falling apart, that didn't deter us from having fun. NYC is full of unique stores, amazing restaurants (best falafel: Mamoun's; their hot sauce will kill the weak with flavor!), one helluva park and a never-ending cast of colorful characters.  It's a place we both could see ourselves moving to in the next year or so if the circumstances are right.  My one gripe...Manhattan isn't really a hockeytown.  Preds fans top them easy - too fair weather for my taste.  And MSG? It really is bad for you. I'm sure they'd rather watch Ice Dancing on NBC too!

'Til then!



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