July 17th 2000, 11:45pm
Busy day in New York – art & baseball
Today was possibly the highlight of my east coast trip. After sleeping late, we jumped the subway to Fifth Avenue and the Museum Mile just before lunch. Visiting the Guggenheim Museum was a unique experience, especially considering my mild hangover. Its circular interior is breathtaking yet simple, making the priceless works easily accessible. We enjoyed ‘Art at the Crossroads’ , an exhibition which featured art from the millenial changover period of the 1890’s and 1900’s.
I’m not sure if either Andy or Christian appreciated the artworks as much as I did, especially Andy. Maybe it’s just because we’ve been so busy sightseeing that they’re both worn out. The most popular exhibit was the newly proposed NYC Guggenheim model. If completed, it would be the world’s largest museum and take about a week to get around. My arty friends in Australia would love this place, wall to wall creativity.
After splitting up from Andy and Christian in Times Square (neither of them are into baseball), I made my way to the Bronx and the home of baseball. Yankee Stadium isn’t the prettiest stadium, but its history creates a special aura not felt in other stadiums. Throw in the aggressive Yankees fans and it makes for a good evening of entertainment. Now I just need to get my hands on a ticket.
Catching a ball game
Suddenly a casually dressed, middle-aged lady approached me on the street and offered me her husband’s season ticket because he had to work late. I wondered how much she would want for it, but then she asked for only 8 bucks. $8, for a Yankees game! No problem! As the game progressed we (and surrounding fans) talked freely about baseball, Australia, the Yankees and NYC. Speaking one on one with a resident of Manhattan was so interesting and informative.
For me, New York is a crowded, vibrant and cosmopolitan concrete jungle, an amazing place to spend a week and create lifelong memories. For her, it’s nothing more than the place where she grew up and continues to call home. I was only in her company perhaps three or four hours, but in that time she shared so much about her love of the city and its lifestyle. I learned facts and trends that aren’t written in guide books. To repay her kindness, I bought her a beer and a hot dog; good baseball cuisine.
As for the game, it was solid. It had a bit of everything; home runs, errors, good fielding and controversial decisions by the umpires. Despite the Yankees roster of stars, the Phillies outclassed their pinstriped rivals by a score of 10-8. I sat in the bleachers, the heart and soul of a ballpark, and it was funny to see how quickly the home fans turn on their players make even the smallest of mistakes, especially the outfielders.
After the game I quickly headed for the train station. I wasn’t really up for hanging around the Bronx on my own at 11pm as there were a few shady (or dodgy) characters loitering. At last I jumped on a train bound for Manhattan and Seventh Avenue. I was lucky enough to get a seat on the packed car, meaning the comfortable 30-minute trip back to my nearest station gave me time to reflect on an awesome day and scribble down some notes for this journal entry.
In short, I’ve enjoyed two American pastimes, veiwing art and seeing a ball game, in one unforgetable but busy day in New York. Furthermore, I’ve felt a closer, more distinct connection with the city and its people. Sadly, my energy reserves are now dwindling; I guess it’s time for bed. Good night New York, and thank you.
(c) Paul Johnson and Johnson English Service – 2021