Michael and I are making it a tradition to attend a U.S. Open event annually. This year we decided to do something a bit different than two years prior by opting a day match starting at 11am at Louis Armstrong Stadium on Thursday, August 28th. Typically we would purchase evening session tickets at Arthur Ashe Stadium, which allowed us entry around 6pm for the 7pm start-time for the two singles matches (one for men’s and the other for women’s).
We thought, hey we should change it up a bit now that we had the free time to spend a whole week day at the open. That day was actually very hot with the sun beating down on us while we were sitting and watching the matches throughout the day. We arrived to Corona Park in Flushing Meadows, Queens at 9am, and followed the other cars to the designated parking areas, guided by traffic officers and parking attendants. Parking ended up costing us $22 for the day, which we paid in cash. We received a small ticket to place on our dashboard and walked across a grassy area to catch the free shuttle to the entrance of the event.
We did not have to wait in line long at all, even though I did bring a bag with us (so we had to wait in the “with bags” line). As soon as we got into the area, we saw an American Express booth where reps were handing out radios as perks for every American Express cardholder to enjoy throughout our time at the Open. There were commentators throughout the duration of the two weeks that would highlight several matches and other news and fun tidbits about players and such. The park is so large the crowds are unable to watch two matches at once (not unless you move from one place to another), but those radios were helpful because we were able to follow along other matches throughout the park while we were watching other exciting ones.
Louis Armstrong Stadium is the smaller of the two main stadiums, so we really enjoyed how much closer we were to the court and the players. Grandstand is the smallest of the stadiums (which is actually in the same building as Armstrong), but grounds pass ticket holders are able to watch matches at the Grandstand (so there is typically a longer wait to get into the main matches -as there are no reserved seating).
On Thursday, 8/28 there were a few headlining players at the stadium we were in that included Ana Ivanoic, Madison Keys, John Isner and Milos Raonic. Unfortunately there were a few upsets with the ladies that day, but both Isner and Raonic pulled through their early-round matches.
Throughout the day, we walked around the park and saw various matches. We also visited some of the sponsors, and even sampled Chia seed pudding snacks (which, in our opinions, were really really nasty). Why, you ask? I mean I’ll try anything, and once I took the tiny spoonful of both the mango and strawberry flavored snacks I was really unsure about the consistency and texture of it. Michael immediately realized he needed something to eat so the taste didn’t linger too much in his mouth. We both ended up tossing our snacks and getting one small mango Italian ice. Boy, was that a nice feeling on our palates! (sooo cleansing).
We ended up sharing a burger and fries and some Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream (very unhealthy), but it was one of those “events” so we had a cheat day.
For dinner, my parents prepared traditional Chinese food dishes for us when we got home around 8:30pm that evening. We ended up skipping out on the last few sets of Raonic’s match in order to beat the traffic. There was another event going on that evening at Shea Stadium as the Mets were playing a game at 7:10pm so we left around that time.
Every year the U.S. Open is different because we never know who we are going to see, as it’s always a guessing game due to the tournament-style of the event. We learned that in the years to come the park will be undergoing some major construction to expand and update the stadiums (Arthur Ashe is getting a face-lift: a roof !) We can’t wait to see what’s in store in the years to come.