Of course, New York City is a wonderful place to visit at any time – with an abundance of incredible internationally renowned landmarks on offer for tourists. But with temperatures remaining in the pleasant mid-20s and rainfall also relatively low, August to September is an ideal time to take in a standout sports event in the city.
As summer turns to autumn, the USA also welcomes the final tennis major of the year, with the US Open taking place at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, New York City. And if you’re into this (or any) sport, it’s the only place to be at this time of year.
This year, at the time of writing, the bookies have Novak Djokovic (6/5), Andy Murray (4/1) and Roger Federer (7/1) among the men’s draw, with last year’s women’s champion, Serena Williams (23/20), Victoria Azarenka (6/1) and Maria Sharapova (8/1). For those of you preferring to gamble with a bet on a (sort of) outsider for the US Open while you’re visiting, Marin Cilic is worth having a look at. Why? Well, the 2014 men’s singles titleholder is way back at 25/1 to retain his trophy, which is an attractive price indeed.
What about the venue itself?
The annual tournament has been held at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center every year since 1978. It’s a bit of a mouthful to say, but a much more pleasing place to visit.
The Flushing Meadows-Corona Park lies within the New York borough of Queens, the largest of five that make up the city’s boundaries, and as well as being home to the NTC, it also offers plenty of other recreational activities to keep all types entertained (more on that in a little while).
For the record hunters out there, a visit to the Arthur Ashe Stadium will be top of the priorities for any visit to the US Open. The stadium is the largest tennis arena in the world, with a maximum capacity of 22,547.
The other three show courts aren’t quite as impressive in size but are still fine venues for watching the sport. First up, the Louis Armstrong Stadium can seat 10,200 – and actually had a capacity of 18,000 until the upper tiers were removed when the Arthur Ashe Stadium was opened. The 6,000-seater Grandstand was the third and final show court until 2011 (built alongside the Louis Armstrong Stadium), when Court 17 became the fourth, with TV screens and line-calling capabilities, similar to the system used at The Championships, Wimbledon and other events.
All the courts at the US Open benefit from floodlighting, which means play can continue well into the evening. The big positive of this is that most matches that would otherwise have to be completed the following day and be concluded there and then.
And as for that stuff nearby?
Ah, yes. As alluded to earlier, there’s plenty to see and do in and around the park.
If watching the world’s best players makes you feel like having a game of tennis yourself, the NTC offers up some of its courts for public use. They’re not available while preparation for the tournament takes place or, of course, while it’s under way. But apart from a handful of dates around Christmas, the centre is open for bookings and the rates are actually quite reasonable, considering their quality.
Aside from tennis, there’s also the not-too-shabby 40,000-capacity Citi Field stadium, which is home to the New York Mets baseball team. There are plenty of matches throughout the season and the full list can be found here.
There’s also a miniature golf course to try your hand at, as well as a pitch and putt green where you can test your short game.
Even the most ardent sports fan can sometimes have enough and want to take in something a little different. And there’s plenty more to check out while you’re in the park.
Built for the New York World’s Fair of 1964, the New York State Pavilion is another landmark that rises above the skyline of this particular part of the city. Granted, it has fallen into disrepair, but was entered on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009, signalling the timeless significance of the building.
Nearby, there’s also the iconic Unisphere, which was also constructed for the same world’s fair. It’s a massive 12-story globe, designed to represent ‘Man’s achievements on a shrinking globe in an expanding universe’, and sits in the middle of a fountain with jets of water encircling it. An attraction in its own right, this structure is seen as a symbol of the Queens borough.
The park is also home to the New York Hall of Science; the Queens Museum, putting on art exhibitions and public educational events; the Queens Theatre, playing host to performing arts shows that also involve local artists, as well as those from further afield; and Queens Zoo – an 11-acre site featuring animals and exhibitions that everyone can enjoy.
Once you’ve experienced as much of the 897 acres of the park as you can manage on foot, you’ll probably want to have a little sit down. Well, there’s also a boating lake to paddle around leisurely.
With so much to do and see in just one park of New York’s largest borough, you can see why it’s ‘the city that never sleeps’.