Was the up and back to NYC in a day trip worth it?
No, not exactly. I probably should have taken the train like I initially thought. You already read about my misadventure on the beltway barely into the excursion. Nothing else quite that exciting happened over the remainder of the trip, but the next morning I told my husband to tell me “no” if I ever get that idea again.
I think I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no ideal way to go up and back. I’ve now tried the Chinatown bus option, train and lastly driven. Each comes with its own set of issues. I thought driving would leave me more in control of my own schedule having had to ditch the 11 PM bus back when a game went into extra innings once or choose to leave the game early as well as having slept in Penn Station for a 3 AM train – and then sleeping through its boarding time with a numb tailbone on a chlling linoleum floor. After those experiences, I thought driving would surely be better. I could leave at my leisure and not be pinned to a schedule. Plus, New York isn’t *that* far away, right?
Yeah, and I’m not in my 20s anymore. This girl goes to bed no later than 11 PM every night. I hadn’t yet found my way to the interstate from Citi Field by 11 PM Saturday night. Fatigue set in to this well-trained sleep scheduled body rather quickly after. I was fighting hallucinations by the time I crossed the border into Maryland (almost home now!) and started fantasizing about pulling off in Baltimore and heading to the marina to sleep on the sailboat. Save for the fact that I was fairly certain I’d taken out all the sleeping bags and ceramic heater for the winter, I probably would have done that.
Even if you can’t catch a train until 3 AM – there is bliss in knowing you can sleep on it and aren’t in control!
The other factor, and this has bitten me a couple times, is you never know what kind of game you’ll get the one game of a series you go up for. The game might be a stinker (as I got) or a gem (such as the one Sunday for those who stuck out all 11 innings). Odds are much more in your favor if you make a few days of it and go for the whole series or at least two games. Plus, that spreads the travel out a bit more and eases the pain of both the travel and one icky game.
Still, I’m glad I went up. I got to check out Citi Field for the first time. The Mets provide a lot more surface parking now that Shea Stadium is completely gone. The stadium itself is pretty nice, albeit about twice as pricey for equivalent seats at Nationals Park. I discovered two aspects I’d say are better than Nats Park:
1) My lower level ticket allowed me into all of the “exclusive” dining/bar areas, such as the Caesar’s Club (probably equivalent to the PNC Diamond Club only much larger with nice lounging areas) and Promenade (upper levels – served more gourmet cuisine than the typical dog/fries fare). Apparently there was also an Acela Club I could have gotten into, but I never saw it and checked it out. In fact, I just looked at my ticket and realized these options were available. I thought I snuck into the Caesars Club unknowingly.
2) Citi Field concourses provide ample and way more abundant picnic tables and high tops for meeting up with people and eating comfortably throughout the park.
3) The ushers / customer service staff seemed way friendlier and laid back. The Mets had a greeter out in front of the stadium just saying “Hello! Enjoy the game!” as fans approached the gates and ticket windows. I thought that was a neat touch.
4) Smoking is now inside the stadium footprint/fences but far away (and down a level) from the general stadium bowl/seating areas, so fans who smoke can take their beer with them to puff rather than leaving it inside somewhere. Just an observation ;-)
5) Getting to the subway platform seems a lot faster/closer than it was when it was Shea.
If I had it to do over again, I’d take the train and maybe stay for at least two games.