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Monday, September 7, 2009

Flush in Flushing?

I've lived in the New York area for 15 years and I've never been to the US Tennis Open, that is until Friday last week. I managed to score a ticket to the Arthur Ashe Stadium. I took the 7 train from Times Square and 45 uneventful minutes later (of which I'm thankful for) I arrived in Flushing, Queens. As I walked to the main gate I saw that the "official" event magazine was on sale for $17 or ~19 months of sidewalking, ergo I sit here typing from memory! There was a crowd at the main gate so I skirted the perimeter fence to enter from the South gate, a fortuitous decision as I found 2¢ under a bench in Corona Park on the walk around.

The security guards at the entrance confiscated my sunscreen in the name of the war on terror, or some such. At the time I thought it was just to make me pay a heavy premium for USTA approved sunscreen on the inside. Wrong. I took my seat in the Arthur Ashe Stadium, an impressive venue of 23,157 seats of which precisely 0 are in the shade. In another case of unintended consequences the Open has become a great place to develop skin cancer!

I saw Daniela Hantuchova (pictured above, sadly not a Sidewalker original) win her match in straight sets. At which point my stomach suggested it was time to go visit the concession stands. $12.50 and a hot dog and Pepsi later my hunger was satiated and my wallet was hungry!

After eating I took a stroll down the Walk of Champions, I had a double take when I saw the picture of Roger Federer's 2003 success. Whilst celebrating his victory with a fist pump he had covered half the Nike logo on his shirt, so from a distance he looked like a debonair movie star from the 1930's complete with compulsory cigarette in hand.

Still struggling with the sun on my unprotected face I almost bought a Lexus just to get in the shade, but after paying $5 for a Ben & Jerry's ice cream I was a little short of ching!

I found another penny in the higher regions of Arthur Ashe Stadium as I was trying to crawl under my seat to get out of the sun. So with all the money floating about I only found 3 cents, I put this down to a combination of very keen grounds staff and the prevalence of plastic. With the winner of the singles tournament bagging $1.6 million this year maybe my quest could be expedited by taking up professional tennis. What do you think?

-Luke Sidewalker
-Current balance $20.31


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