Part 1: A Friends Affair
I try to make it down to New York every year for a hockey game. Mrs. Sharkbait and I started discussing the idea of packaging a Giants game in the same weekend. We decided it wasn’t right that I’ve been to a Giants game and she hasn’t. I went a few years ago for a friend’s bachelor party Lucky for us, the Giants and Rangers both had home games November 17th and 18th. So we said fuck it and went down.
Mrs. Sharkbait’s brother also came with us on this trip. He is a Giants fan as well, and was eager to join us in watching the Giants face plant in person rather that at a bar.
Getting to the city was easy. Mrs. Sharkbait and her brother drove down while I took Amtrak from South Station. As shitty as Penn Station is, the train is infinitely better than driving or flying to the city, mainly because the train has a bar.
After arriving on time, I headed uptown to meet my wife and brother in law at our friend’s apartment on 69th (nice). Staying with some of our best friends added to an already awesome weekend.
When I arrived, everyone was already enjoying a tasty beverage, so I joined in with some Sweet Action by Sixpoint Brewery:
After a few drinks, dinner was required and we decided on more beers and burgers. We went to Bareburger in Lenox Hill where I did not pay attention to the beer size options:
“I chose poorly.”
I ordered the Buckaroo burger, which contained a slice of brisket on top of a cheese and mushroom burger. It was fantastic.
After dinner, we went to play skee-ball at our friend’s local dive bar a few blocks up. A good dive bar is always worth a visit, especially ones with cheap beer (by NYC standards), billiards, and bar games.
After a few rounds there, we went back to our friend’s apartment to drink for free and relax for the night,
Saturday started out with breakfast at a Greek diner in the Upper East Side, which was fantastic. For some unknown reason, good Greek diners do not exist outside of the tri-state area. Being able to go back to one was a good start to the day.
After breakfast, we stopped and got hipster coffee and made our way to Central Park to do a little walking, as my brother-in-law had never been and wanted to check it out. Plus it was a really nice day, and we wanted to take advantage before the weather turns shitty up here.
With Central Park checked off the list, we went down to the World Trade Center to see the Oculus and the One World Trade Observatory on the way to day drinking. We passed on going up to the observatory because the lines were insane and we didn’t want to waste the day waiting in them, so we decided to go see the Memorials instead.
The dichotomy of the Oculus serving as a 9/11 Memorial and as a mall is a bit strange, but the building itself is beautifully designed and allows for a ton of natural light to illuminate the main floor.
The Memorials outside are very quiet and reserved, as they should be. The names of each victim lines the footprints of both towers and on their birthdays, the staff put roses in their names which I think is a nice touch.
On 9/11 I was in high school in Connecticut, and was due to have surgery that morning. I found out after that my surgery was the last elective surgery done that day, as the hospital was preparing to accept medivac helicopters from New York.
Needing a drink after the memorials, we decided to check out the Dead Rabbit in lower Manhattan. It’s a cool 3 story cocktail bar which was surprisingly busy for that time of day (late afternoon) and location.
I ended up having just one of these:
That drink is called the Red Alert, and has scotch, rhubarb amaro, lychee, bitter aperitif, cherry and peychaud bitters. It was fantastic but STRONG. I ended up only having one, and that was a wise decision.
We then headed back uptown for a late lunch at Bleecker Street Pizza. Bleecker Street may not be the best slice of pizza in the city, but NYC pizza is still the best pizza anywhere.
After dinner Mrs. Sharkbait and I parted from the group to head to MSG for the Rangers-Panthers game.
Mrs. Sharkbait and I prior to the game. Her shirt says it all.
The game was great. Our seats were in the 200s in the corner the Rangers shot at twice.
The game was an entertaining one. Each team scored about 2 minutes apart in the opening 5 minutes, and then each added another before the first was over. That was it for Florida, but the Rangers added a goal in the second and third to win 4-2. Henrik Lundqvist passed Jacques Plante on the all-time wins list so it was a good night all around.
We debated on going out after the game, but we decided against it since we needed to be up and out of our friends place at 6:30 the next morning for the journey across the Hudson to the swamplands of East Rutherford New Jersey.
Part 2: A Family Affair
6:30am arrives and we’re on the way to the Hasbrouck Heights Hilton to meet my father-in-law, who is also joining us for the game. He has the bigger car, which works great for tailgating. Our vehicle was not quite at the caliber of the repurposed bus we were behind in line waiting to get into the parking lot for 8am:
Or this trailer:
Getting there early made sure we maximized tailgating time, as well as our proximity to the stadium itself.
Another benefit of going early was we found a spot close to the end of the row that did not have another parking spot behind it so we had plenty of room to expand without being in the way of any cars looking to park.
Here’s our spread: Burgers, sausage and peppers, plenty of booze, and game-day snacks.
My father-in-law is the one in that Giants polyester blazer, which is a thing that exists. We also saw no less than 4 other people wearing the exact same thing. This monstrosity is so over the top tacky it’s coming back around to borderline awesomeness. As seen here while he’s manning the grill.
Being a Patriots fan, I couldn’t in good conscience wear anything Giants related. However, I think I made my rooting interests fairly obvious…
Late arrivals to the tailgate were my sister and her husband. They were in town from New Hampshire to go to the Syracuse-Notre Dame football game the previous day. We convinced them to join us for the game since her husband is also a Giants fan. So we had a pretty good crew for the game.
Our seats were in the 300s, but overall really good. We were essentially midfield so we could see everything.
The game turned out to be pretty entertaining. BloodSugarFitzMagik showed some early promise until throwing 2 picks. He was then benched for Captain Crablegs in the second half, who was able to keep the game close. Eli managed to not trip over himself and played competently. It also helps that Saquon Barkley is a beast. The Giants sealed the deal after a Jameis Winston arm punt in the closing seconds.
Another round of burgers and sausages were cooked up as we were waiting for the traffic to die down before leaving the parking lot and heading back to the hotel.
Overall, it was a great weekend. Both Mrs. Sharkbait and I got to see our teams win, and we had good times with friends and family.
Thanks for reading!