a great time of year for Queens sports fans. Will
the Mets make up for last year's upset? Will Roger
Federer win his fifth straight crown at the U.S.
Open? Head to the stands and grab onto the banister,
it's going to be an exciting summer.
Flushing Meadows-Corona Park
For locals who have been living in a vacuum since
the 2008 season began in March, there is an exciting
baseball team here in the borough that is one
of the best in the league.
The New York Mets, whose new stadium will be completed
in 2009, are a team worth seeing-and you have
only one more season to do so in Shea Stadium.
Their last games in Shea are sure to bring out
the competitive side of even the most passive
spectator, as the Mets play both division rivals
and distant opponents from the left coast.
Out-of-towners often delight at picking on Shea
Stadium as the worst venue in the league, because
the known fact that hitters can't easily drive
the ball over the high walls, and the wind shifts
often pop fly balls from right to left field.
But Queens locals know that Shea is a beloved
Borough landmark, one that will surely be missed.
Shea is indeed a Queens classic - the underdog
of venues much like the team it hosts - yet it
is also the home of champions, and may get one
more banner to hang before the lights go out next
So get out to the stadium, see the best Mets team
in several years, enjoy the Queens favorites at
the park (like sandwiches from Mama's and ice
cream from Carvel) and cheer on the team to repeat
as NL East champions from Shea while you still
can. Stars Shine.
Aug. 25-Sept. 7
|Tennis fans flood the gates of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
soon as the last week of August rolls around it's
time to break out the visors and sunscreen, for
the qualifying tournament of the 2008 U.S. Open
is about to begin.
The U.S. Open has been drawing in Queens tennis
fans for decades, but it hasn't always been the
two-week extravaganza it is today. From a single
men's tournament held as an entertainment diversion
for high society at the turn of the 20th century,
the Open has turned into a sporting event hosting
five major championships.
There's more to the Open then just the tennis
though. From the exciting array of ethnic cuisine
to the stars on hand, the excitement doesn't just
stop at the court. Kids also get into the action
during Arthur Ashe Kids Day, on Aug. 23, a prelude
to the start of the Open.
Keyspan Park, 1904 Surf Ave. Brooklyn, NY
Shea Stadium is not the only place in New York
City where Queens residents and Mets fans can
find professional baseball. The Brooklyn Cyclones
are a Single A team affiliated with the Amazins'
that can crack homeruns with the best of them.
Since their inauguration in 2001, the Cyclones
already have a championship title under their
belts (from their opening season) and are out
for more this year.
As an affiliate of the Mets, the Cyclones have
helped many legendary ball players that have donned
the blue and orange remain close to the organization.
Howard Johnson, Tim Teufel and Mookie Wilson have
all served as team manager at one point. In 2005,
the Cyclones led the New York-Penn League in attendance,
averaging 7,939 fans per night. They also held
last year's All-Star Game in Keyspan Park.
The Cyclones are back on the diamond for the 2008
season. For tickets, call (718) 507-TIXX.
Flushing Meadows-Corona Park
Aug. 2 & 3
|A Chinese sporting tradition.
of the oldest Chinese traditions in history, Dragon
Boat racing is a test of strength and endurance
on the waters of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.
Boats in the shape of dragons with a horde of
men and women rowing until their arms hurt compete
to reach the finish line first.
Dragon boats are 40 feet long, weigh more than
2,000 pounds and are built in the likeness of
the scaly, fire-breathing beast of folklore. Most
boats, made of either teakwood or fiberglass,
are manned by 16 to 18 rowers. Paddlers row in
sync to the rhythm keeping of a drummer, who sits
on the ship with the racers. The narrow boats
make quite a spectacle under the bright summer
sun. More than 100 teams will compete for $60,000
In Chinese legend, the regatta commemorates the
death of Qu Yuan, a minister in the kingdom of
Chu who is said to have committed suicide by drowning
himself in a river. When the country came under
the rule of a tyrant, the honorable Qu Yuan clasped
a large stone and leaped into the Mi Lo River.
The dragon boat races symbolize the frantic attempts
by fishermen to rescue Qu Yuan.
Track At Belmont Park
April 30 - July 20
In nearby Nassau, there is a place where those
craving a rush of adrenaline and a rowdy crowd
can find their summertime fix. Originally opened
in the early 1900's as the site of aerial tournaments
and shows, Belmont has since become famous for
its beautiful race track-a site that draws massive
crowds each year to see horses with their jockey's
sprint to the finish line.
Those over 18 who want to throw some risk into
the mix can place bets on their favorite horses.
However, more frugal spenders can enjoy the races
as well. Grandstand admission is only $2, and
children under 12 are admitted free of charge
when accompanied by an adult.
As is tradition, the park recommends that elegant
attire be worn to the races; business casual dress
is also acceptable. Gates open at 11 a.m. so take
the drive to Nassau for an exhilarating experience
in the sunshine.