Last episode our heroes were dashing to make it to Times Square in time for the KSU pep rally. Will they make it in time? Will they get tickets to a Broadway show? What the hell is that picture about? Find out the answer to these questions and more in this episode of...
¡¡¡¡BOL DE TELA ENTRELISTADA EXTRAVAGANCIA!!!!
Right after the break.
OK, so we are running late to make the pep rally and we have just pulled into the hotel. At this point in time, we have a completely baseless belief that NYC public transportation will be a relatively quick and timely affair. Possessed of this false notion, we decide to dress casually now and return back to our hotel after the pep rally to dress up for our possible Broadway shows tonight. We head down to the front desk and ask about the subway. Luckily for us, the hotel has a shuttle that takes you to the 7-line, which leads straight into Times Square. Unluckily for us, the shuttle only leaves once every hour, on the hour. After standing and waiting 30 minutes before illegally crowding like 50 people onto a shuttle built for 20, we weave and dodge our way through traffic and get dropped off at the Flushing St. station.
We purchase our week long passes and go stand and wait (this will become a theme) for the train to arrive. It finally arrives, and we happily board, eager to see the sights and sounds of the city. What we don't realize is that there are two trains that use this station. The 7-local and the 7-express. One of them stops at every stop along the way, the other one only hits a few major stops but otherwise just goes straight to Times Square. Guess which train we got on. Worse still, Flushing St. station is literally the end of the line, and Times Square is literally the other end of the line.. Needless to say, this was a long ride.
We finally make it to Times Square, get out into the sunlight, and are immediately enveloped in a horde of humanity. It reminded me of Las Vegas, the amount of pedestrians, except that here everyone was walking quickly and with purpose, as opposed to the leisurely amble the gamblers in Vegas adopt. It was very easy to be swept away from the group. We stumble around and realize that despite all of our delay's, we still have an hour and a half to kill before the pep rally starts. Not enough time to sight-see, but definitely enough time to eat. Of course, we have no idea where to eat, so we choose one of the first places we find where the menu isn't $40 a person.
Unfortunately, this italian restaurant, despite being affordable, is probably a little too classy for our purposes. They asked us for drinks, and after we all responded with "water" we then had the option of tap or bottled. We all chose tap, and he brings out this glass bottle that looks like an over-sized coke bottle to pour our tap water into our glasses. We then proceed to order, with two of our party just getting the house salad. Our food is served and those of us who bought meals were disappointed in the serving size, and those who bought salads were disappointed because they neglected to cut the salad for them. That's right, the 'salad' was three leaves of Romaine with toppings. I'm sure the wait staff was laughing at our quaintness, either that or snobbishly chortling at our unrefined sense of fashion (lots of purple). We get out of there as fast as we can.
We make it to the rally and then get to listen to the band perform a few staples (Fight Song, Wabash, etc.) from the balcony.
Then Wyatt gives his introduction speech, saying, "New York City will never be the same." I think, "Really? NYC is the largest city in the country, the city is older than the US, and a few thousand fans from the middle of Kansas are going to have such a profound impact on this city that it fundamentally changes the culture? Really?" He then relinquishes the stage to President Kirk Schultz, who informs us that KSU fans can out-drink Syracuse fans no-contest based on some sort of joint dinner the universities had earlier where the KSU bar-line never diminished throughout the evening and the SU bar-line never existed. This gets roaring applause. We sure do like to drink in Kansas. The President of the alumni association speaks next, and then Wyatt informs us that the team is stuck in traffic so we'll have to wait for them. After another 15 minutes they play a highlight video showing what the players have done since they got here, which has some sort of glitch at the end, cutting the video short. The team is still stuck in traffic, so they start playing highlight videos of each game from the season. We make it to the UCF game before the team finally arrives, having given up on the bus and walked the last three blocks to the hotel.
There is much cheering, and the Classy Cats honor them with a NY-themed (imagine that!) performance. They look Classy alright.
We then sit through the same highlight video again telling us what the players did, with the same glitch at the end. Bill Snyder speaks and tells us about practicing in the hotel conference room due to the snow.
He also appears to be too important to scratch his own head. He informs us that DT and Zach Kendall will talk to us. Kendall is a very well-polished public speaker.
Thomas is not, though to be fair, he had to deal with this fool who was trying to record his speech. He laid the smack down on him for "goofing off" while he was trying to thank these "good people."
There was much laughter. Then the players had a surprise for us, t-shirts!!! They threw enough t-shirts into the crowd that I'm pretty sure every group got at least one. We got three, but there were only two styles.
After the pep rally we follow the band onto the streets of NY. The band is taking the subway, en mass, back to their hotel. We follow them because the traffic cops are shutting down traffic to let them pass. I'm sure New Yorkers love us now. So we get back on the subway and take the 7 back out to Queens, but we have to get off a few stops earlier because our hotel only has a shuttle running to the subway, not one running back. Thus, we had to take a bus line to the hotel. I can't remember what line it was because this was the only time we used the bus to get back, but I know we waited at the bus station for over 30 minutes. There had to have been something wrong with our line because we saw some other bus line go by three separate times before ours showed up. We were in the Asian part of Queens (we could tell by all the signs being in Chinese or something, I'm not sure what language exactly but it was definitely Asian) and we quickly realized that it smelled really bad in this part of town. In retrospect, I think this had to do with the fact that the garbage trucks were not running, and businesses were forced to pile their garbage on the curb in these giant mounds of trash-bags (one would-be suicide victim, we would learn when we got home, was thwarted in his attempt to take his life because he fell into one of these piles of garbage, which broke his fall and saved his life). We get on the bus and it takes another 30 minutes to get to the hotel and it reeked the whole way there.
Now we are running late for a possible Broadway show. They haven't called us back, by the way, so my wife finally calls them, and they act surprised that we hadn't been called already to be informed that we had no tickets. So now only one person has tickets to a Broadway show. This forces a vote, with my brother and my friend deciding they want to just stay in for the evening and my wife and I deciding to join our other friend in the hopes that we can find an open show, and, barring that, we can at least explore downtown NYC. We decide to split a cab, thinking this might be quicker. Indeed, the trip to Manhattan is quicker, but as our football team had already learned, the last few blocks are the longest and probably consumed 40 minutes of our cab ride. Our other friend makes it in time for Phantom, and my wife and I decide to just explore the city. I try to get a good picture of the Empire State Building, but we are not situated in a good place to see the purple side.
We head over to Rockefeller Center and impulsively decide to buy tickets to the "Top of the Rock" after checking out the ice-skating rink.
We wait in line for the elevators that take us to the top, and when we finally get there we see some truly amazing views of the NYC skyline.
For me this brings to mind images of Coruscant, the central city planet of the Star Wars empire, but then again, I relate everything back to Star Wars.
Unfortunately, Rockefeller Center gave us an even worse view of the Empire State Building.
That is Central Park. When viewed from above, you don't realize just how big it really is. The relative scale of the surrounding city makes it look kind of small. After that jaunt we head back down and eat dinner with my wife's brother at TGIF. He said that he got to go out with the team on their cruise of the harbor, which was a lot of fun. His visit seems to be going a lot more agreeably than ours, probably because he is traveling with the team. We say goodnight and meet with our friend before riding back on the subway. We call our friend back at the hotel to meet us at Mets Stadium and pick us up, which he does reluctantly. We all go to bed with plans to hit the town a little bit in the morning before moving on to the game. We also are meeting our friend from Philadelphia at 8:00 AM at Penn Station.
Of course, morning comes around and nobody wants to get up. My wife and I manage to get up the earliest, and the others tell us to head out without them. We leave the hotel at 8:00. We finally get to Penn Station about 9, and lo and behold, she (we'll call her K) needs to change at the hotel. We direct her how to get there, but then abandon her because we really want to walk through Central Park. We get off on the Harlem side and walk straight into Central Park. We quickly realize two things. Central Park is really big. At one point we could only see one building peeking through the tree tops. Sure, it may not be Yellowstone, but for being smack dab in the middle of a city, it does alright. The other thing we realize is that there isn't too much to see in Central Park in the middle of winter after the city's third largest snow storm. Just a lot of snow and dead trees. And these little waterfall things they have scattered throughout.
And homeless people. At one point we thought we were following a sanctioned path, but it led us under a bridge, where there was a group of people huddled at the far end. We turned around and retraced our steps, just to be safe, and made sure to stick to the more obvious roads after that.
The big lake in all the movies was actually pretty cool, and here is a picture of it:
Here is a picture of me standing next to the lake, looking stupid with all my KSU gear on and the pom-poms they handed out at the pep rally hanging out of my pockets.
At this point the day was starting to get old, so we headed for the nearest station so we could get to the Bronx for the game. At the station we run into this nice lady who grew up in Kansas and has been living in NY for the past 13 years. She asks what we are doing here and we tell her about the Pinstripe Bowl. This confuses her (I'm not sure she even knew knew what bowl games were) and she proceed to tell us little tips about what to do. One tip in particular is really helpful: take the Staten Island Ferry instead of one of the Liberty Island tours if you want to see the Statue of Liberty. It is free, takes you almost as close, and the total trip time is only one to two hours, significantly less than four to six hours we were told to allot for the Liberty Island Ferry. She also told us how to get to Yankee Stadium, which was nice because we almost got on the wrong train.
We arrive at Yankee Stadium and have lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe, meeting my brother and Friend B (the one who got to see Phantom) there. Friend M and K are still on their way, and we meet them outside right as the Marching Band shows up and starts playing some tunes.
The man in the visor is Dr. Tracz, the Director of Bands, for the uninitiated. We then head over and get our tickets and are shuffled into the stadium (if you get your tickets through the team you have to go inside when you pick them up). I never saw the old Yankee Stadium, but this one is very nice.
The football field did look very wierd,
but the stadium itself was beautiful, easy to navigate, and had lots of food choices. The food was cheaper in the stadium than it was outside, which for someone used to stadium's gouging you was a nice surprise. My wife and I had a Philly Cheese-steak sandwich that was ten times better than the one in Philly, and it was only $5 each. The beer was $5 too, and it was warm (it got colder as we sat) but all-in-all it was a very enjoyable ballpark. Here is the gang posing for a picture that the wonderful staff took for us, free of charge.
From left to right: K, B, M, my brother, me, my wife.
Both of the marching bands played in pre-game. The Pinstripe Bowl apparently was not allowing half-time performances because they had something even more awesome in store for us. As such, the band did their half-time show before the game started. Naturally we kicked ass in this department.
As a side note the stadium was only slightly more full than this photo indicates throughout the course of the game. I would say given the proximity, the Syracuse fans did not travel very well at all. I also believe that if there had not been a snow storm ruining many people's travel plans, then this stadium would have been about a 50/50 split between purple and orange. The crowd was very quiet up until the end, and it seemed like it was basically just a bunch of Yankee fans who had free tickets to the game as part of their Yankee season tickets and cheered for Syracuse only because they were a NY team. The super awesome half-time show that usurped the marching band's rightful place was this group:
Don't recognize them? Maybe this photo will help out little:
Still don't recognize it? Yeah, it was a pretty obscure Broadway musical that is obviously Broadway's Best Party! All the songs they sang were famous rock songs. They didn't even dance. In other words, lamest half-time show ever. They finished playing the game and even though they lost I salute the effort put forth by the team. Whoops, bad choice of words.
So the game is over, and until this point I thought that the Syracuse fans had acted fairly classy, indeed they had acted with much more class than their Rutgers counterparts in the Texas Bowl. But as the game was winding down they started throwing snowballs and garbage at our players, cheerleaders, Willie and the band. Once we got out on the street and headed for the subway they were very raucous and insulting of anyone wearing purple. They also seemed to be very excited that they had won the game, even though they had been comatose for much of the game. This reinforced my belief that this was less a crowd of Syracuse fans coming to support their team than a bunch of indifferent people looking for an opportunity to git piss drunk and behave in a reprehensible manner. I got the distinct feeling that if Syracuse had lost they would have acted pretty much the same way. We then had to all squeeze onto the subway cars together in the most crowded public transportation I've ever had to bear.
We were depressed, uncomfortable, and far from home. The only thing left to do was drown our sorrows at Times Square, our next destination. Yes, that's right, this is where I leave you hanging in anticipation of Part III and the conclusion of my thrilling journey . You have to check it out, because I haven't even explained the picture from before the break yet!