It is game day. The New York Giants vs New England Patriots. Sunday has arrived and I’m ready for another great adventure in the land of the giants. Up and out, Starbucks is on my radar. It’s NYC but there is a Starbucks everywhere.
Carolyn and I head off with Jordyn to the closest Starbucks to the Roosevelt Hotel. I don’t know what street but literally a two minute walk. Just a window shop type of place. The city has this reputation of being cold and unfriendly. Well these two young ladies aka baristas made my morning. They were friendly and outgoing as I enjoyed talking with them. They have this tip jar out in front and they explained to me how this lady comes in and steals money out of the jar. It’s an elaborate scheme how she uses a napkin to place over the money and then snatch it while they are distracted. Ordering a hot water and then a money grab, out the door, and toss the cup of hot water on the street. It’s a great story and I listened intently. Just look at those faces. Fabulous young people.
We head back to the hotel. Jordyn leaves with Bryan and Caitlin to find the perfect bagel. Carolyn and I get ready for our train trip to the Meadowlands. The city can be intimidating when you are unfamiliar and it is worse for me as my sense of direction has disappeared. We have received great instructions and directions from Laurayne on getting to Penn Central Station and we head off for an early start. Along the way, we head into the original Macys and it is quite amazing. Seriously, there is like an entire floor of women’s handbags. This country boy, aint never seen anything like that. Something like 11 stories of retail. So we go in. I’m hoping that Carolyn doesn’t leave me because I’m not certain I could find my way out of the place. We get Carolyn the NY Giant hat after all we are fans for the day!
We are lost but not lost, finding Penn Central is sort of overwhelming and after a couple of false subway entries, we finally connect, get our tickets and on the train to the Meadowlands we go. I love riding the trains. You get all sorts of folks, from Patriots and Giants fans to some with big personalities. Train once again is under the ground but we exit the ground in Jersey. Switch trains, Dunkin Donuts call and on to the stadium. The ride is short but for me I’m loving the ride as the stadium comes into view. The Meadowlands sits out by itself and is appropriately named. In some ways it reminds me of the Arizona Cardinals stadium since they both sit away from the urban centers. Meadowlands, MetLife Stadium, has advantage of the train. What a convenient way to get to games.
Next stop is Kevin and Laurayne’s tailgate center. It is sunny, cold and blustery, but Kevin is grilling up some masterpieces. He has made some “onion” burger sliders and they are a touchdown! So good in fact, I eat like three of them. And of course they have brought some of those Coney Island Mermaid Pilsners. Just perfect. Bryan, Caitlin, and Jordyn have arrived to join the fun. While there, it is evident that Kevin knows a lot of folks that have a long time relationship with the Giants organization. We even meet Joe Morris, a former Giant running back, currently working with the NFL as part of their uniform police team. Very nice man. Great food, great time with the Crokes.
Kevin has secured three extra field passes for the game. So we head into the stadium down into the tunnel and on to the field. First trip through, Kevin takes Bryan, Caitlin, and Jordyn. Carolyn, Laurayne, and I stand over on the Patriot sideline area and watch the warmups and I’m pinching myself to see if I’m dreaming. After awhile, Kevin reappears and it is now our time to go. Caitlin and Jordyn discuss seeing Jon Bon Jovi. I know I’m in trouble because Carolyn is now all perky. Really, she’s saying seriously, Jon Bon Jovi is over there?
Football sight seeing has now gone to another level. As we enter the Giants sideline area, Kevin is just casually talking with some pretty big shot type of people. Once again I get to meet a former Giant, Harry Carson, a great Hall of Fame linebacker from back in the day. He tells us he has just returned from the Phoenix area and a conference on concussions. What a nice man. Kevin says “hey, you remember Plaxico Burress? Yep. Well your standing next to him.” You might remember him more for accidentally shooting himself in the leg at a nightclub while carrying a concealed weapon illegally in NYC. I thought about saying something but chose to remain silent. You see, I can use good judgment at times.
We see Roger Goodell like 10 feet from us. He has security watching intently. I’m guessing this is his first Patriot game since the judge threw out his suspension of Tom Brady in the deflate gate fiasco. Then Kevin points out Jon Bon Jovi. Carolyn immediately begins hyperventilating. She starts breaking out in song with “Lay Your Hands On Me.” I’m like really? Am I chopped liver? As she faints and collapses on the field, and I’m trying to revive her, I’m singing to her as she lays on the ground “shot through the heart, and your to blame, you give love a bad name.” Kevin replies, “Tim, Keep The Faith.” I’m like, “Kevin, it must be Bad Medicine”.
Ok, maybe a bit embellished but after all, it is my story and I’m sticking to it. (All puns intended.) It was fun.
We enjoy a great game after returning to our seats and NY Giants should have won. We say our goodbyes to our most gracious hosts, Kevin and Laurayne. Carolyn and I have sure enjoyed our time hanging out with them and the goodbyes do not come easy. We board the train back to the city. After multiple stops, we arrive and enjoy more New York pizza, head back to the hotel, and meet up with cousin Officer Kevin Cerar who is working. That is a very cool time as we get to spend some time with him. As he heads back off to work we head into the Roosevelt for another Old Fashioned, and finally we crash knowing that this adventure ends and back to reality we go on Monday morning.
We have been blessed beyond belief, from rehearsal dinner, a fantastic wedding, a great gathering at the Crokes, a night in NYC, field passes to the NY Giants vs Patriots game with those fun-loving Crokes, and a stay at the Roosevelt with some Mad Men.
Our time was short but we have made the most of it. Carolyn and I cannot wait to return and hang out with her cousins. I am most appreciative of the time we had and can hardly wait until we meet up again. But I was still shot through the heart. So here is Jon back in the day when he had blondish hair.