HOME, WHAT DOES IT  MEAN  TO  YOU ? 

I  was reading  a blog post from November 30th  written by blogger Sam from Living and he was talking about  the  places where  he had lived and how his current place of residence  felt like  “home” to him.

It made me  think.

Just what is the definition  of  “home”?

No, not the definition  that’s  found in the dictionary.

What does that  word “home” actually  mean  to  you?

Is it  the place where you live now?

Or is it the place where you were born?

Like Sam, I  also have lived in  four places.

New York  City ,  Boston ,  Los  Angeles ,  and Las Vegas . 

I also lived in  Dayton , Ohio ,  but as I  only went there for a year of college, I  really  consider  it as a”layover”.

Looking  back on it now, and nothing  against  the  city of Dayton ,  but outside of a University  of  Dayton  Flyers  basketball  game where it seemed as though  the whole town showed up, there really  wasn’t  anything  to do . 

Even though  I  was born in “The City  That Never Sleeps  “, I really  don’t  consider  it home.

Don’t  get me wrong ,  there are more than  enough  things to do here and even  though  some of my family  members  are still here, nope, it’s  not “home”.

New York  City  is  just the  place that happens  to  be  on my birth certificate  and the place that I  live now.

I liked the  10 years that I  spent in Los Angeles  and the three years that I  lived in Las  Vegas ,  but these places  weren’t  home for me either.

I’m  an East Coast girl at heart and I was “homesick” when I lived on the West Coast . 

Now, when I say I was “homesick”, I  don’t  mean  for my family  and  friends . 

I meant that I  missed  the quicker pace of life that I experienced  and that I was used to back east.

I even missed the rudeness and the no nonsense, take no prisoners  attitude of the two cities  back east that I lived in, New York  City  and Boston . 

Home to me just isn’t  the  city that I happen to  live in, it’s  the city that I can be myself  and be comfortable  as well as safe, knowing  that when I go back to the place where I live, my “home” will always be there.

That’s  why  Boston  will always  be  home to me.

When New York  City  gets to be too much  and I need that personal  space to go to, I  have  one.

It’s  called Boston . 

Yes, I can definitely  do  a 30  Plus  Teams  Tour  there as well . 

Home means different  things to  everyone . 

What does home mean to you ? 

Drop me a line  in  the  comments  section  or  shoot  me an email  at sportsdiva63@gmail.com  and let me know.

Once again ,  thank you for liking  and  supporting  30 Plus  Teams  30  Plus  Dreams . 

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GOOD EATING BEFORE A GAME IN NEWARK  – MERCATO TOMATO PIE

If you happen  to  be  doing a 30 Plus  Teams  Tour  of  New  York  City  /New Jersey  and you’re  looking for a place to eat before you go to  a New Jersey  Devils  game at Prudential  Center ,  you have a couple  of  options . 

You could go to the Newark  branch of  Dinosaur  Barbecue , which some people  do.

You can’t  miss  it , it’s  right across  the  street  from the place affectionately  known by hockey fans in New York and  New Jersey as “The Rock “.

It’s  right in front of  the  huge grey statue  of a hockey player in Championship  Plaza.

There is however, another place to eat before a Devils  game, and this is the place where most of them go.

It’s  called Mercato Tomato Pie, and in spite of the huge wood fire ovens cooking pizza  non stop, you’ll  find more than pizza there . 

There’s  salads, mozzarella  sticks ,  chicken  wings, and some of the biggest and juiciest  looking hamburgers you’ve  ever seen . 

Now, if you’re  vegetarian or don’t  eat beef, they’ve  got you covered too with Veggie and Turkey burgers.

They also serve  fountain soda  drinks as well as alcohol, not to mention  those mouth watering  old fashioned  milk shakes.

The restaurant  is located at 212 Market  Street  in Downtown  Newark and it’s  open every day from 11 am until 10 pm.

It’s  a few blocks away  from Newark ‘ s Penn Station  and right around the  corner  from the arena.

If you walk to the exit door that’s  in the back of the restaurant ,  you’ll  see the parking  lot.

That building  right across the street  with the pictures of the hockey players on it, is the place you want to be if you’re  going to  see  New Jersey’s team.

There are tables and  chairs  plus booths to sit in, but wait for the host or hostess to seat you.

If you’re  lucky ,  one of  the  owners of this very friendly  establishment  will seat you himself.

The atmosphere  is very friendly  here and everyone  seems to know everyone . 

If you go to the restaurant  enough, the waitstaff will greet you by name and say hello  among other pleasantries . 

They’ll  even ask you if you want what you usually  order when you come to Mercato.

Prices are very reasonable ,  something  you don’t  see at some of  the restaurants or sports bars across the river in New York  City . 

Of course, since this is across the street  from a sports  arena, there are televisions  set to different  sporting events.

One word of warning though, if you go to Mercatos and the Devils are playing either  the Rangers, Pittsburgh  Penguins ,  Philadelphia  Flyers ,  New York  Islanders  or Boston  Bruins . 

PLEASE GET THERE EARLY!

You might be waiting  a long time to be seated anywhere in the restaurant . 

As I mentioned  before, if you’re  going to a game at the arena, or just happen  to  be in downtown  Newark and want a friendly ,  inexpensive  place to eat , get yourself  to Mercato  Tomato  Pie.

You’ll  definitely  come back again and again . 

Mercato  

Tomato  Pie

212 Market Street

Newark ,  New Jersey  07102

START  SPREADING  THE  NEWS- NEW YORK ,  NEW YORK  – RIDING  THE  NEW YORK CITY BUS

I had just left 45th street  and  Fifth  Avenue  in the city . 

I  was going  to  the  next stop  on my own  30 Plus  Teams  Tour  of New York  City . 

I  was going to  The Cloisters, all the way  up at 190th street . 

I could  have  taken the  A Train  at 42nd street to get to 190th street ,  but after that I  would  have  had a very long  walk to  get to the museum . 

From growing  up  in the city and knowing the New York  City  bus and subway system  like I know the back of my hand, I  knew exactly  what  bus to take, the M4.

It stops right in front  of  the  museum, so the only walking you have to do is walk in the front door and admire the art from the Middle  Ages . 

A few things to know about the New York  City  bus system  if you happen  to  be  in  New  York  City . 

Like the subways ,  they are part of the  Metropolitan  Transit  Authority ,  the MTA . 

Unlike  the  subway ,  the blue seats on the buses are clean . 

They really  don’t  want  people  eating  or drinking  on the bus.

But this is New York  City ,  people  are  going  to  do it anyway   and nobody  is  going  to  stop them.

You must  have  exact  change  if you don’t  have  a Metro   card.

The drivers carry  no change and the fare boxes don’t  accept  dollar  bills.

Dollar coins yes, but dollar bills  nope.

Have those Metro cards ready when you board the bus.

You can get them at stores or if you happen to  use the subway . 

Same Metro  card works for  the  bus and subway, as well  as  the  PATH  train if you happen  to  be  going  to  New Jersey . 

The New York  City  buses are blue and white.

Some are blue and yellow  and now some of them have WiFi . 

If you happen  to  see a bus  with the  words  “LIMITED  ” on it, the bus isn’t  going to  make every stop, just certain  ones . 

You’ll  see these buses mostly  on morning and afternoon  rush hours.

It’s  the local  buses that you want.

They make all stops.

If you aren’t  sure where exactly  the bus goes to ,  ask the driver before you  get on.

Better yet ,  do your research  BEFORE  you get to New York or in your hotel, hostel ,  or Airbnb  before you go anywhere . 

The bus stops  are clearly  marked with red, white and blue signs  with numbers on them. 

The numbers are marked with letters  according  to  what borough  you’re  in.

Confused?

Let’s  make this simple  for you.

We’ll  use the bus that took me all the way from 47th  street  and Madison  Avenue  up to 190th Street  and Margaret  Corbin  Drive as an example ,  the M4.

The letter M before the  bus number tells you that this route goes in the city, Manhattan . 

If the bus number was Q4, you don’t  want that if you’re  going to  the city.

The Q in front  of  the  number tells you that this is a Queens bus.

If the bus number was either B4, B4  or SI4, you got it.

Your  bus was either in Brooklyn ,  The Bronx  or Staten  Island, so make sure you take the right bus.

Another thing  to  know about the  buses in the city . 

If you’re  going Downtown ,  the bus will be going down Fifth  Avenue ,  where you’ll  get up close  and  personal  with most  of  Central  Park, as well as “The  Museum  Mile”, depending  on  where you  catch  the  bus . 

If you’re  traveling  Uptown ,  the bus will be going  up Madison  Avenue . 

Since I was  traveling  up to  190th Street ,  the M4 bus went up Madison  Avenue . 

As usual ,  it took a long time  due to  the  infamous  New York  City  traffic . 

The ride took almost  an hour and a half . 

The subway  might have  been  more convenient ,  but nothing  beats a ride on the New York  City  bus so that you  can  really  get a glimpse  of  life in “The Big Apple . ”

Along the  way if you take the  M4, you’ll  be  passing  Columbia  University  on 116th Street  and if you continue onto the  Washington  Heights  section  of  the  city, at around  178th Street ,  you’ll  get a glimpse  of  the  George  Washington  Bridge , which separates  New York  City  from New Jersey . 

On a clear day ,  the view of  the  bridge is breathtaking . 

If you’re  going to  The Cloisters  like I was, get off at the very last stop.

Riding  the  bus doesn’t  only work for going to  the  Cloisters ,  but check with the front desk clerk if there’s  a bus stop close by and just take a ride to the last stop on the bus, no matter  what  direction  it’s  going in.

This is a great way to sightsee if you’re  in the city  and all it costs is the price of a Metro  card ,  $2.75.

Take the bus instead  of  the  subway . 

It may take a long time   but enjoy that long ride on the New York  City  buses and take in the scenery . 

HOW I LEARNED  TO  LOVE PHILADELPHIA  

Some of  the  cities  on the  east coast  of the  United  States  seem to  have  some  kind of  rivalry  with  each other . 

It doesn’t  matter  whether it’s  in music ,  museums ,  history ,  politics, and especially  sports ,  there’s  sure to  be  some kind of  rivalry.

Boston  and Philadelphia  seem to  have  a rivalry that’s  gone on since Colonial  days.

People  in Boston  love to  remind everyone  that  Ben Franklin  was actually  from Boston . 

People  in Philly LOVE to remind Bostonians that Ben Franklin  LEFT Boston and MOVED to  Philadelphia . 

Bostonians and Philadelphians agree on one thing.

They HATE New York  and this has gone on  since Revolutionary  War times.

Growing up in New York  City ,  Boston was always an afterthought . 

As for Phily, that was another story.

They were either “that city below New Jersey  ” or the city with all those losing sports teams.

You never confused someone  from New York  with somebody from Philadelphia  and vice versa . 

If you did, you must have wanted to be put in the hospital very badly.

It might be that both cities have citizens that you really didn’t  want  to  mess with.

Although, I’d  say  that  people  in Philadelphia  aren’t  as rude as they are in New York  City . 

My first visit to  “the City of  Brotherly  Love  “came about  six  or seven  years  ago . 

I went with  a friend  and her cousin . 

To say that I  had a terrible  time and never wanted  to  come back would  be  an understatement . 

I didn’t . 

We did all the tourist  things, the Liberty Bell ,  see Independence  Hall ,  but not go into it, visiting Reading  Terminal  Market  and walking around  the  city ,  but not really getting  to explore it .

Looking back on the visit ,  it was easy  to  see why I  had such a lousy time.

The trip was a bust, let alone a wasted time.

We were supposed  to  stay for the weekend ,  but we didn’t . 

We came back to  New York  City  the next night, with my friend and her cousin  complaining  about EVERYTHING  that seemed to  be  wrong with the  city, from the hotel to the location . 

Not for  nothing ,  but this is one of the reasons I travel  by myself  a lot.

It wasn’t  the city, it was the people who I traveled  with . 

When it came time for another trip, this time I followed my own advice and decided to  give Philadelphia  another try.

This time three people  were going- me, myself  and  I . 

I not only saw the Liberty Bell  and went inside of  Independence  Hall, which you can do, but I visited Chinatown ,  City Hall with the statue of founder  William Penn on top of it, the African  American  Museum  of  Philadelphia ,  Constitution  Hall and The Bourse, which is  a smaller version of  Reading  Terminal  Market.
I also  saw the University  City section  of  the  city  and visited three of the colleges in town, Temple  University ,  University  of  Pennsylvania ,  and Drexel  University . 

I  even had a real Philadelphia  Cheesesteaks ,  not from the places where the tourists  go, Pat’s  and Geno’s, but the place where the  locals  go go their Cheesesteaks ,  Campos . 

Because  this was my first 30 Plus  Teams  Tour ,  I went to  Citizens  Bank Park to see a Philadelphia  Phillies  baseball  game and to the Wells  Fargo  Center to see a Philadelphia  Flyers hockey game.

I was getting  to like the  city a lot.

If you can take the  subway  in  New  York  City ,  you can take it anywhere.

I did.

I got to  be  such an expert  on SEPTA, (the Southeast Philadelphia  Transit  Authority  ), and the local  subway  that I  even know which train would take  me to  Philadelphia  International  Airport  and what train stop I  have to get off to go to  games. (It’s  the Stadium  Stop, in case you ever go to Philadelphia  for a baseball ,  basketball ,  football  or hockey game.)

Speaking  of  Philadelphia  Airport ,  many times it’s  cheaper  to  leave from this airport  than JFK, and it’s  not as hectic . 

This summer, I made another  trip to  the  city for the NFL  Draft . 

There were STILL more places that I  hadn’t  seen  and restaurants  that I  hadn’t  eaten  in.

I  wanted to  see, eat, and do as much as I could.

I even stayed two days longer than I was supposed  to . 

Who would have  known  that this city would turn out to  be  one of  my favorite  places to  visit . 

I can’t  wait to  go back to  Philadelphia  and discover  even more  new things.

START SPREADING  THE  NEWS- NEW YORK ,  NEW YORK- THE NHL STORE

Recently ,  I visited two sports stores in New York  City  while  doing my own  30  Plus  Teams  Tour . 

I did go to the NBA  Store, (Sportsandtravelblog.wordpress/2017/10/16 – start  -spreading  –  the  –  news-new-york  –  new-york  -the – NBA  -store)but being the team sports apparel  fashionista that I  am, I  also went to the NHL  Store.

The store isn’t  that far from the NBA  Store.

It’s  located  on 47th Street  and Avenue  of the  Americas ,  better known  to  New Yorkers  as 6th  Avenue.

If you happen to be in New York  City  and want to  visit  the  store, you can take the subway  and get off at  the Rockefeller  Center  train stop, which is 4 7 – 50th streets . 

Get off and take the stairs  that lead to  the  47th street  side.

Once you’ve  done that walk to  your right hand side  and the store is at the top of the stairs.

You can’t  miss it because of all the team stuff from all 31 teams, not to mention the giant Lego hockey player dressed in the team uniform  of one of the teams.

Since this is New York City ,  the Lego  hockey player is wearing a New York  Rangers  uniform . 

When you walk into the store ,  not only do you see one of the biggest table hockey games that you have ever seen, but a giant motorcycle  with the NHL  logo on it.

(This is New York City ,  after all. EVERYTHING  is larger than life here.)

You can play the game ,  but riding the motorcycle ,  don’t  even  think  about  it .

A picture next to it will have to  do . 

The sales people  here are helpful  and  friendly ,  plus they really do know their hockey.

Even though the store is in New York  City ,  the sales people  aren’t  wearing  hockey shirts and jerseys from the three local teams ,  they’re  wearing hockey apparel from the teams that THEY like.

If you look above you, not only do you see pictures  of  current  and  former  players, but there’s  a  television  studio  as well.

The NHL  Network  not only does shows from here but sometimes  they have player appearances in the store.

The store has everything  for the hockey  lover in you and it doesn’t  matter  if  you’re  a man, woman  or child.

No toddler stuff like in the NBA  Store though.

Don’t  be surprised  if while you’re  shopping, the NHL  commissioner  just happens to stop by as well as some of your favorite  players to not only get interviewed ,  but to actually  shop.

Trust me on this ,  they do if their teams just happen to be playing in the New York  /New Jersey  area.

As for the commissioner dropping  by, there’s  a reason . 

The headquarters  of the  NHL  are right next door.

With as much as this store has, on the  day that I  visited ,  it wasn’t  as crowded  as the NBA  Store is.

That might be  because  hockey isn’t  as popular  in the United  States  or the rest of  the  world  like the NBA is.

What  the NHL  Store  has that the NBA  Store  doesn’t  have is a Starbucks . 

After you finish  grabbing  all the  hockey  stuff that you can fit in that black and grey shopping  bag with “The Shield” on it, walk to the  back of the store and get  your Pumpkin  Spice  Latte fix on.

If you want to  get  more hockey swag for yourself  or that  hockey nut back home, get yourself  down to the  NHL  Store  on 47th  Street  and  Avenue  of  the  Americas . 

START SPREADING  THE  NEWS- NEW YORK ,  NEW YORK .  RIDING THE  NEW YORK  CITY  SUBWAY  

I’m  doing  my own  30  Plus  Teams  Tour  of  New York  City  right now . 

I’m  on my  way  to  Barclay’s  Center  in Brooklyn  for a sporting  event . 

It’s  a hockey  game  between  the  Vegas Golden  Knights  and the New York  Islanders . 

Like  many New Yorkers, I  don’t  drive  anywhere . 

I have to  take public  transportation  from my house in the borough  of Queens  to get to  Brooklyn . 

This of course ,  means taking a New York  City  subway . 

Even the train that I’m  on now, the “F” train does go into Brooklyn ,  it’s  not the section  of  Brooklyn  that Barclay’s  Center  is located in . 

The borough  of Brooklyn  is so big that if it were to break away from New York  State, it might just be the 51st state.

So, I do have to transfer to another train, something  that  a lot of New Yorkers  do quite often  whether  they’re  going  to  work ,  school ,  a Broadway  show, a dance club, or even a sporting  event . 

There’s  no way around it when you take the subway in New York  and you live in the “Outer Boroughs “, that’s  Brooklyn ,  The Bronx, Staten Island ,  and  Queens . 

You can even transfer from a New York City  subway to get the PATH train, but you do have to pay another fare.

If you transfer from one New York  City  subway to another, it’s  a free transfer.

Unlike  the  PATH  trains, the New York  City  subway is old, extremely  crowded, and I’ve  got  to  keep it real here, not very clean.

(Sportsandtravelblog.wordpress/2017/10/23 Start  -spreading  -the  -news-new-york  -new-york-a-ride-on-the-PATH-train)

If you  happen  to  be  in New York  and  take the subway  to get anywhere ,  you’ll  notice people  eating everything  from a bagel  with cream cheese  to sandwiches  and even Chinese  food.

They’ll  also be drinking their morning coffee from Dunkin Donuts and eating snacks right in your face.

Don’t  expect the NYPD  or train personnel  to tell them to stop   because it’s  New York . 

It’s  one of  the  things you just do.

You might even see people  walking through the subway  cars, begging  for  money.

You’ll  never see this if you take the  PATH  train.

The New York  City  subway  system ,  is old, very  old, and the subway  cars break down  – a lot.

Many a New Yorker would be a  billionaire  for all the times we’ve  heard this announcement when the train is either not moving or moving extremely  slow  :

“WE ARE BEING HELD AT THE STATION BY THE TRAIN DISPATCHER DUE TO TRAIN TRAFFIC UP AHEAD. WE WILL BE  MOVING  SHORTLY. WE APOLOGIZE  FOR  ANY  INCONVENIENCE . ”

My subway ride to Brooklyn  was no different . 

Like most New Yorkers, I know that train delays are a given, and that there are three sure things in our lives.

Death, taxes, and the MTA (that’s  the Metropolitan  Transit  Authority) either messing  up  your subway  ride by rerouting your train, the ever popular  “track work  “or making your ride longer than it needs to be because of  mostly  these four reasons  :

1. Someone has gotten sick on the train.

2. A fight has broken out.

3. One of the rails on the train is broken and it needs to be fixed.

4. Someone  has either jumped on , fell on, or was pushed onto the train tracks.

Normally, it takes 45 minutes to an hour or so to get to Atlantic  Avenue  in Downtown  Brooklyn . 

Not this time.

Try almost two and a half hours to reach my destination  because  my train was rerouted.

We New Yorkers like to  complain about  our subway system, how much it costs ,  why is the fare going up for such lousy service, and why are the subway cars so filthy?

In spite of these problems, we STILL take it everyday and we DARE any tourists or people  who don’t  ride it everyday  to say something  about  it.

Basically ,  it’s  a pain but it’s  our pain in the you know  what . 

Still, thank you, MTA, for making my ride on the New York  City  subway  so “enjoyable  “.

I’M TIRED OF ASKING WHY

I’ve  asked  this question  far too many  times  now.

I asked  why when people  were killed  in  Nice, Belgium ,  Berlin ,  Barcelona  and Paris . 

I asked why when it happened  twice in London . 

I didn’t  think  that  I  would  need to ask why in New York  City .

But it seems  as though  I  have  to .

On Halloween  afternoon ,  that’s  October  31st  to the rest of the world ,  a rented truck with a logo from the lumber and other goods store, Home Depot, drove down a street  on the city’s  very busy West Side Highway . 

The street he drove down, West Street ,  is mainly a bike and pedestrian  only street.

According  to  witnesses, he was going the wrong way from Houston  to  Chambers Street . 

If you know New York  City ,  you know this is about 20 or so long blocks.

This was NO accident  that the driver  was going the wrong  way  and very fast.

He was going out of  his way to cause as much damage as possible.

In the end, eight people  were killed and as of now 15 people were taken  to  hospitals .

Ironically ,  this bike path is in the shadow  of  the  Freedom  Tower, also know as One Observatory  Tower.

It replaced the fallen Twin  Towers of the World  Trade Center . 

As with the other cities, a truck has suddenly  become  “The weapon  of  choice” to create as much death and destruction  as possible . 

The people  who  were killed were from Argentina  and  Belgium  just biking on a path that a lot of New Yorkers use every day.

Among the injured were two children  on a school bus.

Besides ramming the truck into pedestrians and bicyclists ,  he also hit a school  bus.

Unlike the others who carried out these attacks in the name of “religion  “, the person who did this is in a New York  City  hospital.

As of right now, they don’t  have a reason why he chose  this particular  street  in New York  City  or why the city was a target again . 

I don’t  care what his reason was or why this seems  to  keep happening  everywhere  now.

I’ve gotten tired of  asking why.