And as the best golfers in the world hack their way around Winged Foot on the outskirts of New York I’ll drive you around one of the world’s great sports cities with my sporting New York.
Anyone for Tennis
Flushing Meadows, Queens: And we’ve just put down our rackets at the Billie Jean King Center
Home to American tennis’s biggest tournament since 1978 it became a big deal to the residents of Queens obvs and especially my NY rellies.
To whom it gave casual work when they would dream of booming down winning serves.
The US Open is a treat awaiting me when I next pitch up there. And it’s hot dogs rather than strawberry and cream.
The Mecca for boxing before Vegas and in many traditionalists’ eyes still the place to trade punches.
But I’ve not come here, to Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, for a fight, but a dance.
It’s a Halloween and we’re staying in SoHo and I’ve brought my nine-year-old daughterie here for an ice-skate. Like a real New Yorker.
And like a real New Yorker you’ll be wanting to follow the Rangers in the Garden.
It means something else in New York than in Glasgow, and it’s ice hockey so that’s OK.
Knickerbockers… how sweet!
You’ll know them as the Knicks, New York’s basketball team but the original name was the Knickerbockers.
Knickerbockers are what Americans call plus-fours.
Father Knickerbocker was the symbol of New York, channeling the Dutch influence because they too wore their trousers to just below the knee.
Now all you need is one of those vests (hell, the Americans call them waistcoats) but you know what I mean. And a big foam finger.
Yes, they too play at the Garden.
And Brooklyn has a team too
Brooklyn Nets, Brooklyn: Brooklyn is a proud borough (aren’t they all?) which we probably know best for its bridge and the now defunct and romantic baseball team, the Brooklyn Dodgers.
But here they have a basketball team too. And the name that jumps out from their roster here is All-Star Kevin Durant.
So that leaves the Yankees and the Mets
Although obviously it turns into a nightmare if you end up on the losing side. My old New York brother and sister friends Tom and Kate informed me that if we were to remain friends then I’d have to pull for the Mets.
I even have the baseball bat and ball here with me on my desk to remind me.
While Kate has few illusions about her beloved Mets who lost the World Subway Series of 2000 to the ‘Damned’ Yankees. ‘They always break your heart, those Mets,’ she sighed.
Even before we got into the Kevin James sitcom, the King of Queens, I was already being pulled this way by my Uncle Eddie on my first trip to New York, after school.
Uncle Eddie, a proud son of Donegal, now living in Long Island supported the neighbouring Queens teams and particularly the New York Jets.
Whisper it but they’re no longer a Queens team, playing their games in New Jersey. As do their great rivals, the New York Giants. Yes, the same stadium, and that’s another subject we’ll get into sometime.
Then there’s ours
And the New Yorkers look to have embraced our football having flirted with it back in the day with Pele, Beckenbauer and the New York Cosmos.
New York City only has the one team their fans will be quick to tell you, in much the same way that their sister franchise Manchester City supporters will inform you that is the case in Manchester, with United playing in Salford.
New York Red Bulls, the older club, play their games in New Jersey.
This tie-up is as close to a grudge soccer match as you’ll get in the US.
MEET YOU AT THE GAME