On the Road to the U.S. Open

By Betsy Ross, Contributing Writer

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Now that you’ve had a taste of world-class tennis at last week’s Western & Southern Open in Mason, you just might have the jones to see even more before the outdoor season ends. You’re in luck, because the finale of tennis’ Grand Slam events happens just a little more than an hour way by air at the U.S. Open, August 28 through September 10 in New York (yes, technically it’s in Flushing, NY, but don’t tell New Yorkers that). 

First, getting there: I’ve already alluded to the fact that you can be there in a little more than an hour, and at just about any time you choose. Go on www.delta.com to search flights from CVG to LGA and you’ll see more than a dozen daily options, both non-stop and stops included. 

Once you arrive, if you want to stay in Manhattan for shopping or show-seeing, it’s no problem, even though tennis is about nine miles away. You can hop on a subway from Midtown to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center fairly simply. The easiest is to take the #7 train from one of the stations and follow it to the Willets Point-Shea Stadium Station. From there, it is less than a five-minute walk to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. For a complete subway schedule visit http://www.mta.info/

Taxis and ride sharing are always available but if you REALLY want to drive, (??) use the Van Wyck Expressway or the Long Island Expressway. Coming from Manhattan, you’ll want the Grand Central Parkway. Detailed directions are at http://www.usopen.org/en_US/event_guide/transportation_directions.html

If you get to the city early, take in a first-of-its-kind event, a two-day tennis “fan fest” at New York’s historic Seaport District. The first-ever “U.S. Open Experience” brings the excitement of the Open from Queens to Manhattan, featuring current and former players, musical entertainment, games and U.S. Open chefs. 

The tennis festival, which will be held on Thursday, August 24, and Friday, August 25, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day, anchors U.S. Open Fan Week, a series of free activities for fans leading up to the 2017 U.S. Open. It’s a great way to get fired up for the real thing. 

Tickets to tennis are available in advance from ticketmaster.com, and just like the Western & Southern Open, watch each day for availability as final weekend tickets can become scarce quickly. Ticket packages (with multi-sessions) are sold out, but single tickets remain available on line. 

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If you have been to the U.S. Open before, you’ll see one glaring difference this year: Louis Armstrong Stadium is no more, replaced by a temporary “Louis Armstrong Stadium” in an old parking lot—its replacement is supposed to be ready by 2018. That doesn’t include the new roof on Arthur Ashe Stadium, new Grandstand and spruced up grounds around the courts that you might not have seen if it’s been a few years since you’ve visited. It’s a spectacular facility, more compact than you’re led to believe just seeing it on television, and a great place to watch tennis. 

Want to grab a bite between matches? Many dining choices are available from the more formal full-service restaurants inside Arthur Ashe Stadium (reservations required) to cafés on the grounds to more than two dozen stands and bars including Ben & Jerry’s, Dean & DeLuca and Jacob’s Creek Wine Bar. 

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And here’s a nice bonus for Reds fans: The home team will be playing the New York Mets in a four-game series from September 7-10 right across the street from the Tennis Center at Citi Field. (if you take the subway from Manhattan and get off at the Shea Stadium Station, the Tennis Center will be on one side of the train, Citi Field on the other).

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It couldn’t be more convenient to schedule a day session of tennis and a night game with the Mets facing the Reds across the street. Citi Field, by the way, is a must-see for baseball fans. Great sight lines, good eats, terrific atmosphere. 

If you are of a certain age, the area around the Tennis Center may bring back memories of the 1964 World’s Fair in Flushing, where a $2 ticket gave you a peek into the future. (Flying cars! Picturephones!) The Unisphere—the stainless steel globe featured in “Men In Black”—and Fountains of the Fairs are still there from the 1964 exposition and are next to the tennis complex, as are some of the pavilions and original street markers. 

Whether you’re a tennis devotee or a new convert to the sport, the U.S. Open will be a treat to visit. Mix that in with the culture and shopping of Midtown, and you have an exceptional long weekend to celebrate the waning days of summer. 

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