Sunday, August 29, 2010

8-29-10: Red Bulls vs. San Jose Earthquakes

Yesterday I spent the day in New York with my buddy Dan before we went to see the New York Red Bulls take on the San Jose Earthquakes at the new Red Bull Arena. Both of us were very interested in seeing the new stadium, as well as the new signings Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez.

We took the 10:00AM train from Fairfield, which got us into Grand Central at around 11:15AM. Plenty of time to enjoy the city before taking the PATH from World Trade to Harrison. We wanted to spend as little time in New Jersey as possible, which proved to be a good idea, as there's pretty much nothing near the stadium.

The first thing: lunch. My buddy Jason, who spends a lot of time in downtown getting his MBA at NYU, recommended The Shake Shack in Madison Square Park. Let me tell you, it was good. We got there exactly at Noon, and timed it perfectly. The line was apparently "short" when we got in it, and it only got longer as we sat and ate. I had a Shack Burger, fries, and a chocolate shake. My buddy Dan had pretty much the same thing, only he tried out their vanilla shake. Everything was good. It certainly helped that we went in on a fantastically beautiful day. Sitting there, eating in the park, having a shake, very nice.

We then needed something to fill the remaining 6 hours before we needed to be in Harrison for the game. We decided to take the subway down to Battery Park to hang out there a bit. From there we walked to City Hall, then grabbed a coffee before heading up to Hallo Berlin in midtown for an early dinner of bratwurst and good German beer. After walking over to the Intrepid (didn't go to the museum, just walked nearby) and watching a Carnival cruise ship leave dock, we walked down the greenway on the west side a bit and took the subway near Penn Station to make our way to Harrison.

I was impressed by the PATH system. My parents had a horrendous time a couple years ago using New Jersey Transit, but I think they've gotten their acts together. The train ride was packed, but only took about 20 minutes from World Trade to Harrison. From there it's about a 5-10 minute walk to Red Bull Arena, which is in the middle of a big, empty lot. Very easy to find.

The stadium was BEAUTIFUL. You could have sworn you were in Europe watching a game. They did a great job keeping it cozy. The image on the right is the view from our seats - great, great seats. Second row behind the San Jose goal (for the first half). We got to see the first Red Bulls goal, which was quite exciting. The crowd, which was not quite a sellout, was pretty into it. Thierry Henry scored his first goal for New York, which I'm sure will be a proud moment in his career (heh). Red Bulls ended up winning pretty convincingly 2-0.

The trip back wasn't too bad. There was a bit of a line before getting onto the PATH train, but the train itself wasn't too crowded. We hung around for a few minutes to watch the first few minutes of the Mayor's Cup match between the New York cops and firemen. That wasn't much to see, but they seemed to care. We ended up taking the 11:20PM train back to Fairfield. I got home at around 1:00AM. Very nice day in the city.

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