Yesterday DH and I took the day off to attend Round 1 of the U.S. Open. It was a glorious day in Flushing Meadows Park.
In the early rounds, match play is continuous and concurrent on the several courts on the grounds. We had "Arthur Ashe" tickets, which reserve an assigned seat in the main stadium, the Arthur Ashe Stadium, and also permit one to wander around and sit in the open seating in other courts. Our reserved seats were semi-nosebleed, which has its advantages for a knitter. Here's the sock with defending men's champion Roger Federer, who romped over qualifier Scoville Jenkins in the Arthur Ashe Stadium.
With a bit of patience and luck, it's quite easy to get unassigned courtside seats. We watched Marion Bartoli, the Wimbledon women's runner-up, cream Alexa Glatch from Row 1 in the Grandstand court. (Alas, no knitting while sitting in front.)
The U.S. Open has its traditions. The winner of a match usually hits a few autographed balls into the stands. (Federer whaled his into the upper deck, which impressed mightily.) The courts are infamously hot and noisy, so in addition to alert ball boys and girls, there also are attentive umbrella boys and girls, at least for the players.
There's plenty of souvenirs and prizes and swag for those inclined to collect them. (Me, not as much as some.) The free tennis ball fan came in handy, as did the free radio, which could be tuned to announcements and commentary. There's also live music and even a bookstore full of tennis books.
The Tennis Center is named for sports pioneer Billie Jean King, who exposed "shamateurism" (money under the table), insisted on equal prize money for women, and championed Title IX. The sock posed by a plaque listing her accomplishments.
Althea Gibson, who broke the color barrier in tennis, was honored during the evening session. Alas, DH and I only had day tickets, but we did see the marching band (!) lining up as we were leaving.
There are many restaurants in the Tennis Center, but having spent the equivalent of a ticket on snacks and hydration alone [eyeroll], we opted to have dinner in Flushing's Chinatown, which is larger and more interesting than Chinatown in Manhattan. For example, this restaurant is capped with a whimsical noodle bowl.
In some Asian cultures, it's considered ill-omened and rude to stick one's chopsticks into a bowl. We peered in the windows of the place, noticed the roast duck looked sub par and a majority of the customers looked not-Asian. Hm. So we went across the street to the felicitously named Fortune House Restaurant and ate ourselves happy for $14 including tip.
All in all, it was an excellent day off.