The Magic of Arthur Ashe Stadium and the U.S. Open

Today marks Day 12 of the U.S. Open and the finest tennis athletes in the world will continue onto the semi-finials in this Grand Slam competition.  Growing up I strayed from the country club sports so I am surprised at how much I have grown to adore this sporting event.  I would consider myself more a beer-and-hot dog sports patron, but the glitz of the U.S. Open is mighty enticing and I just can’t get enough.  This has been a rather exciting year for the sport, highlights of which include the marathon Isner/ Mahut match at Wimbledon back in June and now my favorite player (or Spanish lovahhh) Rafael Nadal is eying his first career Grand Slam. The energy surrounding the Open is actually conveyed extremely well in the U.S. Open commercials that have aired over the past few months. Perhaps I’m just a huge cheese-ball or blinded by my allegiance to Rafa, but I felt cosmically compelled to go to the quarterfinals last night for the live show. Here’s the commercial if you need further proof that it amps you up and necessitates buying a ticket to Flushing:

Arthur Ashe Stadium is unlike any other sporting arena I have ever seen. It is immaculately groomed and inviting. Think you’re getting a ball park hot dog here? You can, but you’ll probably be enticed by the variety of other cuisines offered: Mexican food, Indian dishes, sushi, Italian staples, salads, Carnegie Deli, BBQ, you name it. And if you think you’re going to wash that down with a Budweiser, you’ll probably reconsider that, too. There are multiple Heineken vendors, Grey Goose tents (maybe indulge a specialty U.S. Open martini of vodka, lemonade and Chambord?), mojitos, wine, margaritas, sangria.  The variety here adequately reflects the stadium’s sponsors: Tiffany & Co., Ralph Lauren, Lacoste, Citizen, Chase, American Express, etc. This is not a place where cash is king. In fact, you are encouraged to swipe your AmEx because if you spend $150 at the park you can get a $35 Ralph Lauren gift certificate. They make the spending $150 extremely easy.

As far as watching actual tennis goes, there isn’t really a bad seat in the place. The stadium is somewhat of an engineering entertainment masterpiece because each row is so high above preceding that you can visually clear whatever goons may be seated in front of you.  This also makes for some incredibly steep stadium steps so be mindful of your beverages! Given this structure, and the aforementioned niceties of the establishment, I was shocked when a fight broke out at the an earlier match in the week—this isn’t hockey for Pete’s sake! (Allow me to reiterate how absolutely terrifying it would be to fall three, unforgiving concrete rows in the Promenade section of Arthur Ashe.)  In case you missed this gem of a video:

Though there were no fights at last night’s match, we were dazzled by Kim Kardashian and Charlize Theron’s presence and some drunkard dancing up and down the stairs. My Spanish lovah Rafaaaa will advance to the semi-finals against Mikhail Youzhny where he stands a good chance of finally competing in the finals at Flushing and, just perhaps, securing that Grand Slam title!  VAMOS RAFA… and see ya 22 on the Bucket List!

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