SPENDING A LITTLE TIME AT JFK

I was supposed to be checking out an exhibit that was done in conjunction with the New York Rangers hockey team right in my back yard, JFK.

Being the Sports Diva that I am , I had to see this, so I got up early since it was only supposed to be at Delta Airlines Terminal 4 from 7am until noon, and got on my local bus Q3, which goes to JFK.

When I got there, no one had a clue what I was talking about until a lady at the Delta Airlines counter said, “oh you mean the No Quit In NY letters. It’s at Gate B, downstairs.”

Now even though I wanted to see this exhibit really bad, it meant I had to go through security to see it.

One problem though. A huge sign when you get to security that says, “TICKETED PASSENGERS ONLY”.

So much for that idea.

I thought this was a wasted trip but it wasn’t.

Since I have all day to do nothing(you can do that once you’re retired.), I decided to take a free trip around the airport, courtesy of the JFK Air train.

There are 8 terminals at this airport, you have to know what terminal your airline leaves from, right?
As the Air train leaves JFK, this is the first sign you see
JFK Air trains waiting to go
Flags of the United States, the city of New York, New York State and the borough of Queens all together
Don’t sit on this part of the Air train and don’t put your luggage here either
British Airways and Alaska Airlines leave from the same terminal
Delta Airlines planes just sitting at Terminal 4. They also leave from Terminal 2.
Coming past the TWA Hotel at Terminal 5. Still have yet to stay there
The Lefferts Boulevard Station on the Air train. You can connect to other terminals, the A train that goes to Howard Beach or like me, the Q3 bus
Gotta have a schedule even for the Air Train
This is what I was looking for. It was at Penn Station for a few days then at JFK for a few hours

COMING INTO THE “NEW” LAGUARDIA AIRPORT

Many years ago when now President Joe Biden was the Vice President, he didn’t win many friends in New York by comparing New York City’s other airport, LaGuardia, or LGA, to a “Third World ” airport.

This didn’t sit well with many New York politicians, including then governor Andrew Cuomo, who grew up in the borough of Queens where LaGuardia is located.

JFK is located in Queens as well, but they’re ALWAYS adding more terminals to it and there’s even a hotel right near the runway.

LaGuardia is different.

Nothing has happened to that airport in years, so those of us who have flown out of LaGuardia, agreed with Vice President Biden.

Not only does it look like a Third World airport, not for nothing and sorry not sorry, LaGuardia looked like a dump compared to JFK and even the other New York area airport, Newark Liberty over in New Jersey.

When I returned from my 30 Plus Teams Tour of Las Vegas, I flew into the “new LaGuardia” at Terminal B, which looks NOTHING like a Third World airport.

It’s a beautiful terminal and it reminds me of a lot of United States airports that I’ve been to, especially BWI, the other Washington DC area airport.

If JFK wasn’t close by my house, (basically in my backyard) I’d fly out of LaGuardia a lot more.

There’s a lot more work that needs to be done at LaGuardia but in the words of many a preacher, “We’re not where we wanna be, but Thank God, we’re not where we used to be!”

NHL FAN FEST AND A HISTORY LESSON PART ONE

This was one, no the main reason why the Sports Diva did a 30 Plus Teams Tour of Las Vegas.

Usually my trips to Las Vegas are twice a year, February and June.

This year there was a real reason to go to Vegas at this time and it had NOTHING to do with gambling.

If you know the Sports Diva, you know that my mottos are, “Staying home is NOT an option”, and my favorite one, “Have a hockey team, will travel.”

Las Vegas does have a hockey team, the Vegas Golden Knights and from February 4-5, they and the city of Las Vegas hosted the NHL All Star game and Fan Fest, which was at the Las Vegas Convention Center and ran from Thursday February 3 until Sunday February 6.

The All Star game was on Saturday February 5, but by the time it came on at 4pm, Eastern time, the Sports Diva was back in New York City.

The Skills Competition has always been my favorite but more about it in another post.

I was ready for two days at convention center for Fan Fest.

It didn’t happen, I only ended up seeing one day of Fan Fest, but that was okay by me.

It was fun seeing all things hockey, including the antics of the mascots from many of the teams including the host mascot, Chance, who is a lizard or as they call them in Nevada, Gila Monsters.

What I didn’t expect, though, was a history lesson on hockey.

The first exhibit as you walked into the west hall of the convention center past the banners of all 32 NHL teams was the exhibit showing the contribution to hockey by not just blacks but women and Native Americans (or First Nations, as they’re refered to in Canada as well.)

I saw names of players that I remembered watching over the years and players that I didn’t even know were black or Indigenous.

I wish this exhibit had been bigger or had as long a line as the line to see the Stanley Cup did.

GETTING MY FASHIONISTA ON AT THE NEW NHL STORE.

If you happen to be a hockey fan like the Sports Diva is, or if you have no idea who the 32 teams are that make up the National Hockey League, but you think some of the logos are kind of cool, then the new NHL Store is for you.

The old NHL Store was located at 1185 6th Avenue (That’s Avenue of The Americas for those of you who aren’t Native New Yorkers),on 48th Street.

It was called “The NHL Store Powered by Reebok” because at that time, Reebok made most of the hockey stuff worn by players and fans alike.

This year, a new NHL Store opened just for Team Sports Apparel Fashionistas like myself who also like, no love, hockey.

It’s called, what else, the NHL Store, a Fanatics Experience.

The Fanatics Company makes clothes for every sports fan.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a man, woman, or child, Fanatics has something for you no matter what the sport or the team is.

The store is located on 31st Street and 9th Avenue right behind the Moynihan Train station and Madison Square Garden.

Right next door to the store are the New York offices of the National Hockey League.

Sorry hockey fans, you can’t go into the office and tell Commissioner Gary Bettman just what you think about him and the job he’s doing as commissioner, even though that’s something a lot of us hockey fans would LOVE to do.

Unlike the store on 48th street, this store has two floors and if you walk up the stairs, you’ll notice that the words written on them are actual hockey terms that your favorite announcer uses to describe all the hockey action and it doesn’t matter if you’re listening to the Flames in Calgary or the Panthers in Sunrise, Florida, hockey terms are the same everywhere.

This store has everything that you could ask for, but still I didn’t see any hockey posters for sale.

(Like my wall at home needs anymore hockey or football posters on them.)

Unlike the old store, not only can you get your jersey with the name of your favorite player on it, you can have a t shirt with the name of your favorite player on it as well.

You want a hat with your favorite team logo on it, this store has lots of different styles of hats from all 32 teams on them.

They also sell other nicknacks, such as backpacks, key chains, socks and water bottles with not only the team logo on it but also with the NHL logo, aka “The Shield” on it.

(My friend brought six of those.)

This store isn’t really that expensive at all.

The hockey jerseys are another story, though.

$185 is the most the Sports Diva will pay for a hockey jersey, no matter what team it is.

(I have three favorite hockey teams, New York Rangers, Vegas Golden Knights and Boston Bruins, but I have favorite players who play for other teams, so I’ll buy those jerseys as well. I have three hockey jerseys, btw.)

When hockey jerseys start at $200 and that’s without tax, which some of them are, that’s when the Sports Diva draws the line.

I love my jerseys, but even this fashionista doesn’t love hockey jerseys like that.

Did I end up buying something from the NHL Store?

Oh you can bet your hockey team on it that I did.

Part of the shopping at the store. Another two bags are coming
The entrance to the old NHL Store on 48th Street
Part of the entrance of the new NHL Store. Unlike the old store, they highlight players that most hockey fans don’t get to see that often.
Hats, hats and more hats plus pillows with your favorite team logo on it.
The stairs with all the hockey terms a fan could ever want
The Sports Diva needs a new hockey jersey, but which one since all five of these players are my favorite players?

EATING DIM SUM IN CHINATOWN.

As usual, it doesn’t matter if I’m doing a 30 Plus Teams Tour of somewhere far or a staycation, besides attending a sporting event,you just know that the Sports Diva is going to be talking about food also .

This time, a 30 Plus Teams Tour of New York City was no different.

Food was going to be involved.

Since my friend, who was visiting from Las Vegas , wanted to go to Chinatown to look around and of course, eat, we did just that

Even though I don’t get to Chinatown often, I know all the restaurants they have there are usually good.

I wasn’t disappointed.

There were so many to chose from, and after spending most of the day shopping, we were both hungry.

There were so many places to chose from.

One place, that caught my friend’s eye was New York Canton Lounge which is located at 70 Mott Street, right in the heart of Chinatown .

As I don’t know Dim Sum that much , I let my friend order for both of us.

After showing our vaccination cards ,which is a requirement in ALL New York City restaurants, we were shown to a table.

Since we both wanted tea, a few minutes after taking our orders, the waitress returned with two cups and a pot full of steaming hot tea.

We started off with a bowl of Won Ton soup, which was delicious.

After that appetizer, came the real eating and sharing.

Plates of spicy clams, shrimp dumplings, shu Mai, which is a dumpling and filled with either pork or seafood, were put on the table.

If that weren’t enough,we had scallops with broccoli and roasted barbecued pork.

Now I’m not going to tell you after eating all of this, the two of us went to the bakery next to the hotel and brought some pastry and coffee.

(Large Cafe Americano and Chocolate Mousse Cake for my friend and a large Vanilla Latte with Red Velvet Cake for me.)

As for the food, someone got leftovers to take back to the hotel.

Even if my friend wasn’t with me, I would come to this restaurant by myself.

The portions were filling and not expensive at all,

There are many other items to chose from on their menu as well.

At the end of lunch, a waitress not only brought out two fortune cookies, she brought a plate of orange slices to clean our palate.

Once again, the address of New York Canton Lounge is 70 Mott Street, New York.

It’s open seven days of the week from 11am until 7pm, Est.

SOME PICTURES FROM CHINATOWN

After my friend and I did some Team Sports Apparel Fashionista shopping at the NHL Store, we went down to the second largest Chinatown in the United States, which is in New York City.

(San Francisco, California, has the largest.)

More on eating in Chinatown and our visit to the new NHL Store in later posts.

There are two Chinatown’s in New York City.

The lesser known one is in the borough of Queens on Main Street, Flushing.

The more well known Chinatown is in Lower Manhattan, with Canal and Mott Streets being the main streets.

Enjoy some of the sights of Chinatown in pictures.

A STAYCATION AT THE RENAISSANCE HOTEL TIMES SQUARE

If you’re staying in New York City, you have so many hotels to chose from.

Most people want to stay in the heart of Midtown Manhattan, especially when it’s New Year’s Eve, no matter what the cost is.

For my staycation, my friend, who was visiting from Las Vegas and had NEVER been to New York City before, chose the Renaissance Hotel Times Square Hotel, which is located at 714 Seventh Avenue at 48th street right in the heart of the Theater District.

There’s even a very good pastry shop right next door where we got coffee,croissants and mouthwatering desserts for the days we were there.

(My friend was there Wednesday through Monday, I was there Thursday through Saturday.)

My friend was in town for the hockey games that the Las Vegas team was playing against the three New York/New Jersey area hockey teams.

(Now you KNOW if they’re a friend of the Sports Diva, some sports watching is going to happen on a 30 Plus Teams Tour of somewhere, even staycastions.)

I had never stayed at the Renaissance Hotels, no matter what city they were in.

Was I in for a pleasant surprise.

The location was close to everything and the rooms are very spacious.

You even have a robe and slippers for your convenience.

There’s also a coffee maker, which the two of us took advantage of every chance we had.

The refrigerator was a blessing too as we had leftovers from a lot of restaurants.

My friend mentioned that some of the hotels in Las Vegas don’t even have refrigerators in them.

The selling point of this room, which was located on the fourth floor, for me though, was the balcony.

Now on the days that I was there, it was warm enough to sit on the balcony, have our coffee and watch New Yorkers and tourists alike do all those New York City things.

(55 degrees in December is a heat wave to us New Yorkers.)

As it was raining the day I left, no balcony action was going on.

The staff was so friendly and helpful.

If I decide to do another staycation in New York City, I’m going to save money, use my Marriott Bonvoy Points, since the hotel is affiliated with Marriott Hotel chain and stay at the Renaissance Hotel Times Square.

IT’S A STAYCATION PEOPLE!

The Sports Diva is going away for a couple of days of shenanigans and of course a couple of hockey games along the way.

My bag is packed, no pressure this time, it’s just for two days.

I’m not going far for my 30 Plus Teams Tour.

I’m not taking Flix, Greyhound or Megabus.

I’m not even taking Delta or Southwest airlines.

I’ll be at my destination in 30 minutes if the Long Island Railroad train is on time, which it usually is.

Where am I going for my 30 Plus Teams Tour this time?

It’s New York City!

There will be more posts about my staycation coming up.

Stay tuned.

RIDING ON THE NEW JERSEY TRANSIT

When I go to a New Jersey Devils hockey game like I did last night, October 1st, I normally take the New York City subway, F train from Queens to 33rd or 23rd street and take the PATH train to Penn Station in Newark, New Jersey, which is across the street from Prudential Center.

This time, I tried something different.

I took a Long Island Railroad train from my station, Locust Manor to the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Train Hall at Penn Station in New York and took a train that I haven’t taken in years.

It was a New Jersey Transit train and the final stop for me was Penn Station in Newark.

The train is cheaper than taking the PATH train and it’s faster.

I was able to get a senior rate, something that I really don’t get on the PATH Train.

It was $2.45 each way and as I said it’s faster.

Roughly 15-20 minutes from New York Penn Station to Newark Penn Station, with a stop in Secaucus, New Jersey.

The PATH train takes about an hour, making many stops in New York City on the way to Journal Square in Jersey City.

After that, you have to change and take the train to Newark, with a stop in Harrison, New Jersey before you even get to Newark.

Don’t need to tell you how tiring that is.

Plus it’s $2.75 each way, without a senior rate.

It stops at the same place as the New Jersey Transit train does, but whereas the PATH train’s final stop is Newark, the New Jersey Transit train’s final stop could be ANYWHERE in New Jersey or even Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Both trains stop at tracks next to each other, so don’t get confused.

Now that I have a new and faster way to do a 30 Plus Teams Tour of the place they call, “The Garden State”, I’m surely going to take advantage of it.

CHECKING OUT THE NEW PENNSYLVANIA STATION IN NEW YORK CITY.

Normally I take a bus from Port Authority bus station on 41st Street and 8th Avenue in New York City when I go to either Washington DC, Boston, Baltimore, or even Pittsburgh to do a 30 Plus Teams Tour.

This time I decided to take Amtrak because the fares were so low.

Leaving from Amtrak would mean I would have to go either through Penn Station at 33rd Street from the Long Island Railroad or E train if I took the subway from Queens.

Not any more.

As of January 1, 2021, the long awaited new Pennsylvania Station opened up

Its official name is the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Train Hall and it’s a work of art, no lie.

It was named for the late New York senator, Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

Now for some of you who weren’t born in New York City or just moved here in the past few years, the station may not look that spectacular to you.

But to those of us who remember the old Penn Station, the crowds, the filth, this station is beautiful.

It’s also very convenient if, like me, you’re coming from Queens or Long Island on the Long Island Railroad.

Amtrak trains not only leave from here, but so does the Long Island Railroad.

So when I got off the Long Island Railroad train from Locust Manor, I followed the signs to the escalator to the station.

I didn’t even have to go outside.

The station is located in the old James Foley Post Office on 33rd and 8th Avenue.

The post office is still there, not just as big.

The old Penn Station not only had Long Island Railroad trains, but the subway, Amtrak and New Jersey transit trains.

Now, the New Jersey Transit trains just leave from the old Penn Station, which is still across the street, underneath Madison Square Garden.

However, if your Amtrak train gets in after midnight, sorry, the new Penn Station is closed.

Your train will go to the old Penn Station.

My only complaint with the new Penn Station is the tracks for the Long Island Railroad trains aren’t close to the Amtrak trains.

Coming back from Washington DC, my FLIX Bus stopped next door.

I had to run to catch a 6:45pm train which left from track 18.

Track 18 WASN’T on the main floor.

Needless to say the Sports Diva wasn’t a happy camper being a real New Yorker, running through a terminal to catch a train that was leaving in 10 minutes, loaded down with a purse and a carry-on suitcase.

There are no escalators going down just a ramp and stairs.

(I made my train, by the way)

What I love about this terminal is that you can’t loiter if you don’t have a ticket, and there’s enough security to make sure that happens.

All in all, if the fares are good, I will take Amtrak and enjoy going through the new Penn Station in New York City.