US OpenThe Inside Scoop: The US Open
It wouldn’t be summer in NYC without the US Open, which allows us to hang onto the last days of season past Labor Day. Sports fans from across the world are flocking to the US Open (Aug. 25–Sept. 8) at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, Queens. The tournament attracts more spectators than any other annual sporting event, and record crowds are expected again this year. To maximize your experience, here’s the inside scoop on experiencing the Open in style:
1. Even for die-hard black car riders, the fastest way to the US Open is by subway, given traffic from the city. Save the car service for the ride home.
2. Bring your American Express with you, as they are a primary sponsor of the event. While the privileges of having an AmEx at the Open have dwindled, this year they’re offering some great interactive experiences, like the new My Open wristband, which records your experiences for the day and offers access to special exhibitions throughout the event.
3. When you arrive, stop by the USTA store and pick up this year’s baseball cap. It’s a collector’s must for those who attend annually – and regardless will provide the shade you need for the day games.
4. We’ve been lucky with the weather this summer – it’s probably the best we’ve seen for an August in over a decade – but do bring plenty of sunblock and drink lots of water in between splits of champagne.
5. Outside food isn’t allowed, and if you’re eating at the food court with the general public, be prepared to pay hefty prices. But, you’re in luck: This year, Morimoto, David Burke and Richard Sandoval will be elevating the cuisine to Manhattan levels.
6. Now’s the time to pull in those favors to get the courtside seats or at least the lower level. The luxury suites are a good time for all the lobster and shrimp cocktail you can eat, but you are removed from the action of play. If you’re in the nosebleeds, take it like a champ, grab some popcorn and be happy you have the tennis to focus on, and not the other diversions of gourmet food and wine.
7. Don’t scramble at the first sight of rain, even if it does look like a torrential downpour. Settle into Aces or Champions Bar & Grill until the match resumes. Many others will leave, which means that a seat upgrade may be in order.
8. Watch the matches on the outer courts. Although the big names are confined to the main stadiums, there is always great action on the outer courts where a combination of younger and veteran players provide high-quality matches.
9. Wander over to the practice courts. In addition to the 20 courts being used for the tournament, there are several practice courts where players, including some of the top names, will warm up prior to a match. It's a chance to see some of your favorite players in action and it gives you a real appreciation for how talented these players really are.
10. Attend a night session. Although night play is limited to the main courts, the atmosphere is what the Open is all about with the New York crowd really getting into the match. Some matches last well past midnight. Players contend it's the most vocal crowd anywhere. Also, the heat has dissipated from the day session.
11. Instead of high-tailing it out of Queens at the end of the evening match, have your black car pick you up and enjoy a late-night feast at L’Incontro, the classic and iconic Italian restaurant. There’s no better way to end the Open than with a bottle of Brunello.