MEMORIES OF LOS ANGELES AND YES THEY DO HAVE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION THERE.

When I first moved to Los Angeles from Boston in 1996 courtesy of Delta Airlines , I really didn’t know that much about the city,

People would give me all sorts of advice.

One especially I heard from everyone including family members, “It’s LA, you NEED a car,”

Being from New York City , you don’t miss what you don’t have.

I didn’t need a car, and I didn’t drive.

After seeing those infamous LA freeways, I’m glad I didn’t drive and I sure wasn’t about to learn, either.

I lived in one of the South Bay cities of Los Angeles called Torrance , California for 10 years and I never drove.

I took public transportation, either a bus or a train.

People are surprised when you mention that the city has a subway system,a very good one called the Metro.

You can get a day pass, which with fees comes out to $9.

We don’t even have that on the New York City subways and our trains run 24 hours, something the Metro in Los Angeles doesn’t do.

When I first lived here, there was the Blue Line that went from Los Angeles to Long Beach, the Red Line from Los Angeles to West Hollywood , and the Green Line that can get you to a shuttle bus that will take you to LAX, Los Angeles International Airport .

Not only are these train lines still around, but while I was there recently , I discovered that there’s an extention of the Blue Line that goes from DTLA all the way to the beach city of Santa Monica .

These trains can get you to the major tourists spots in town.

Union Station is the main terminal so the red and the blue lines can get you there, even if you’re coming from Santa Monica .

Want to see the famous Chinese Grauman Theater with the stars footprints or the Hollywood Walk of Fame?

The red line will get you there.

Since you are on a 30 Plus Teams Tour , you KNOW you want see some basketball or hockey action at Staples Center .

The Blue Line will get you there,just get off at the Pico/Chick Hearn Station.

If there’s a game, you won’t get lost .

Just follow the crowd.

Hold onto to your TAP card.

That’s how you get anywhere on the Metro in town.

Some of them are reloadable and there are machines at every station to guide you.

As I rode the train from Long Beach back to my hostel in DTLA, it brought back a few memories .

Good memories of a place where you wouldn’t expect to see a subway .

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SPORTS DIVA’S GUIDE TO GETTING CHEAP SPORTS TICKETS

Many thanks to blogger Itinerary Planner for suggesting a post like this.

(Check out her blog, Travel Itinerary for tips even if you aren’t doing a 30 Plus Teams Tour . )

You’re going to either Dallas, Houston , Los Angeles , Miami, or even Tampa – St. Pete for a little rest and relaxation , right?

ABSOLUTELY!

But this is a 30 Plus Teams Tour , remember, so you’ll be going to a sporting event whether it be a baseball , hockey, football or basketball game .

It might be your favorite team that you’re going to see, or a team that you really don’t like, but you want to see a game anyway .

Or it could be a team or sport that you know nothing about , but you want to take in everything in the city.

Besides, all the travel guidebooks about the United States and Canada all say that this is something you should do when visiting both countries, so why not?

Set some money aside and join in the fun at a game.

This is where the Sports Diva comes in.

I’m going to give you some tips for getting to a game on “the cheap”.

I should tell you that as much as I love to watch football and some of the stadiums are on my bucket list , attending an American football game, aka the NFL , can be VERY expensive , depending on the team.

A lot of fans either get their tickets from other fans who don’t go to the game or the majority of them are seasons ticket holders and there’s no way in hell they’re giving up those seats, unless the team is really bad or moves to another city, which seems to happen a lot in the National Football League.

I rarely go to the football games, because as much as I love football, the Sports Diva isn’t mortgaging the house for the most popular sport in the United States .

Instead, I’m going to tell you about the three sports whose games I attend the most, baseball, basketball and hockey.

Let’s say you’re in New York City , and you want to attend a New York Knicks basketball game.

Sounds good, but don’t even think that you’re going to get a cheap seat right on the basketball court so that you can yell and scream at Kevin Durant and Steph Curry, along with the rest of the Golden State Warriors .

That’s not going to happen in any basketball arena no matter if you’re in New York City to see the Knicks or if you’re in Memphis to watch the Grizzlies .

We’re talking cheap tickets, not blow your budget on your trip.

You have other things to do while on your 30 Plus Teams Tour .

You want tickets at a reasonable price .

Depending on the team, you can get tickets from the team’s own website, from NBA tickets.com, or a third seller .

I happen to use a site called VividSeats.com, but there are others.

I use VividSeats.com for hockey and baseball tickets also.

Don’t worry if you think these tickets are fake, they’re very legitimate and they’re the seats that ticket holders don’t want .

If you’re from another country, keep in mind that you might not be able to use some of the websites that I mention, so your best bet is to just go onto the team’s own website.

You want to attend a hockey game while you’re in town?

Depending on the city or team, tickets are fairly inexpensive.

If you happen to be in a city like Toronto , Montreal , or New York City , hockey tickets are some of the most expensive due to corporations buying up tickets and giving them to clients, who spend most of the game on their phones and not watching the game.

They hardly have a clue who any of the players are.

If you happen to go to a game, you can spot these “fugazy fans” a mile away .

They’re the ones in the suits or the team apparel that they just bought from the team’s store a few hours before the game started and they and the person they brought to the game with them , are taking selfies like they’re the newest hot model.

But I digress , and I’ll talk more about these posers passing as fans in another blog post.

When I go to a hockey game, I get my tickets in a couple of different ways.

You can go on the NHL ticket exchange, the team’s own website or have a friend that’s a season ticket holder.

That last option only works if you know someone in the city that you’re going to visit.

As with basketball , don’t get it twisted.

For some unknown reason, people who go to a hockey game either want to sit directly behind the glass or next to or behind the benches of either team.

These aren’t cheap seats, no matter how good or bad the team is.

The whole purpose of going to a game is to do it as cheaply as possible .

Sitting right behind the glass just isn’t it.

While I’m throwing out tips, let me give you a real important tip on seeing a hockey game on the cheap.

The higher up you sit, the more action you’ll be able to see, and believe me, this is a sport where you don’t want to miss ANY action.

If it’s too expensive to see a NewYork Rangers hockey game at Madison Square Garden , you’re in luck.

The New York and New Jersey area have two other hockey teams.

One plays in Brooklyn at the Barclay’s Center and the other one plays at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey .

Tickets for both of these teams are very inexpensive and the good news is that you can get to both of these arenas by public transportation if you happen to be anywhere in the New York City area.

The last sport, baseball, is the cheapest of all, no matter what stadium you watch it in.

You can sit in the bleachers, behind home plate, behind the dugouts, where the teams come out of, and the nosebleed seats.

You can even do standing room, which isn’t as bad as its sounds, and you’ll be able to see EVERYTHING.

For baseball, there are several different ways to get cheap seats if you want to see a game.

You can go to the team’s own website of course, a third party, and MLB.com.

(That stands for Major League Baseball . )

There’s another way as well.

Depending on the team, you can walk right up to the window at the stadium either the day of the game, or on a “do nothing in town” day and buy your tickets.

It’s hard to do this with any other sport but baseball, and who knows, you might be at a game where it’s “giveaway day”.

You might leave the game with a team scarf, hat, jacket or a bobblehead of the team mascot or a current or former player .

One word of warning though, and this applies to all three sports.

Beware of people approaching you and asking if you either need or are selling tickets.

Just say no and keep it moving.

These people are scalpers and by and large the tickets they’re trying to sell you are bogus.

You want cheap but don’t take it to the point where you’ll get embarrassed or in jail.

Scalping is illegal in most of the United States .

Do your homework before you leave.

Check the team’s schedule to make sure that they’re going to be in town.

If you have friends that live in the city that you’re going to, ask them if they want to go to the game too.

If so, send the money or give it to them at the game.

I dont need to tell you how many times I’ve done this.

Another thing you could do if you happen to have friends in the city is get a big group together and get a suite at the arena or stadium.

That might sound great, but do you really want to see the game in a place where you have unlimited food and drinks or do you want to be where the action is , near the other fans?

I can see many of you saying , “I’ll take unlimited food and drink for 1,000, Alex.”

Also in some of these cases, you won’t get a paper ticket.

It’s all mobile now so have your phone ready because it’s going to be scanned by ushers as you enter the building .

Don’t worry if the name on the ticket isn’t yours.

It’s the name of the person who sold the ticket.

Here are some of the websites to use:

MLB.Com

Ticketmaster.com

VividSeats.com

NBA tickets.com

SeatGeek.com

NFL.com – Good luck finding an inexpensive football ticket. If you find a seat for less than $100, depending on the team, go for it.

NHL Ticket Exchange is part of Ticketmaster, so let’s say you’re doing a 30 Plus Teams Tour of Vancouver , Canada and you want to see a game up there .

Go on your mobile device and plug in NHL Ticket Exchange Vancouver Canucks and it will bring you right there.

Whew!

Sorry that this post was so long and I want to thank Itinerary Planner for suggesting it.

Leave me a comment in the comment section if you want more ideas about seeing a game cheaply.

As usual , thank you so much for liking and supporting my blog .

RIDING THE SELECT BUS TO THE BRONX ZOO

New York does have a lot of trains and especially train stations .

There’s also a lot buses on the streets as well.

It seems as though all five of the New York City boroughs have these blue and white buses going down their streets , no matter how wide and small some of them are.

If you happen to be in New York City , and no matter what borough you’re visiting, you just might see some brightly colored yellow and blue buses with the words “I Love New York ” on them.

These buses run all over the five boroughs and are known as “Select”buses.

These select buses made their first appearance in 2008 and they run in certain areas of the city.

Yes, all of them are painted in blue and yellow , even on the inside.

The seats are very comfortable .

Unlike the regular New York City buses , which are blue and white, you don’t pay on the Select buses.

There’s machines at the bus stops for these buses,and they don’t take cash or credit cards, which means you need to have a Metro Card all ready.

You can get a Metro Card at one of the subway stations or if you’re staying at a hostel, the front desk clerk may have them for purchase .

Once you put your Metro Card into the machines, you’re given a receipt , that shows that you paid.

Hold onto this because not only does it show that you paid , you’ll need it to show New York City transit police who will be boarding the bus at ANY stop, that you did actually pay to ride the bus.

You can get on the front door or the back door of the bus since you don’t make a payment when you get on the bus.

How do you know what Select bus to take?

Like the regular bus, the letter in front tells you what borough you’re in.

As I am in Queens, I took Select bus Q44.

I was going to the Bronx Zoo, which I will talk about in an upcoming blog post .

The Select Q44 bus starts in Queens and goes to The Bronx over the Whitestone Bridge , which separates Queens from The Bronx.

The final stop is the Bronx Zoo but along the way not only will you see the Queens Botanical Gardens, which I will also be talking about in a later post, but you’ll get to see the second largest Chinatown in New York City , which is in Flushing, Queens .

There’s also WiFi on the bus as well.

Is your tablet or phone running low on juice and you have no place to plug in your charger?

They also have a place where you can plug in that charger .

These buses are a pleasure to ride and I didn’t seem to mind that even though the ride was long, it was comfortable .

Although, with some of the construction going on and around the Whitestone Bridge , it was kind of bumpy.

So the next time you’re in New York City , take one of the Select buses .

Have fun, enjoy and just remember to hold onto that receipt .

It’s your proof of purchase .

RIDING ON THE J TRAIN FROM QUEENS TO MANHATTAN AND BACK

When I take the subway into Manhattan, the two subway trains that I usually take are the E and F trains.

Today, I took the J subway train, which like the E train leaves from Jamaica Center.

Like the E train, you can connect at JFK Supthin Boulevard to get the Air train to take you to JFK airport if you ride on the J train.

Unlike the E train, the J train goes from Queens to Brooklyn over the Williamsburg Bridge to Manhattan .

This train is fairly clean as not too many people ride it.

(Ok, it’s clean by New York City subway standards.)

The final stop on this train is Broad Street , which is in the Financial District.

If you wanted to do some sightseeing , like Wall Street and the famous Wall Street Bull, this is the stop that you would get off at.

As I was going back home and noticed people walking and biking over the Williamsburg Bridge into Brooklyn , I saw a sign in the distance right as you get into the largest borough of New York .

The sign read,

“WELCOME TO BROOKLYN . YOU NAME IT….. WE GOT IT.”

Brooklyn was once known as “the borough of churches” and it seemed as though all the churches that the train passed were now banks.

Not surprising seeing that before it became a part of New York City , Brooklyn was the financial capital .

As my train pulls back into the station at Jamaica Center, I think of how peaceful my ride into the city was compared to the E and F trains.

Maybe from now on I might just take the J train.

RIDING THE LIGHT RAIL IN PITTSBURGH

It’s not really a subway like you’d find in New York , it’s a light rail like you find in other cities.

Given that the unofficial colors of the city are black and yellow , I expected the two train lines to be the same colors.

They aren’t .

They’re the Blue and Red lines.

The transportation department in Pittsburgh is called the Port Authority of Pittsburgh , but for some reason they call it “The T”.

The light rail doesn’t run all night, but here’s the best part if you happen to be in Downtown Pittsburgh and let’s say you want to go to either a Pittsburgh Pirates , Penguins, or Steelers game.

Unless you start at Station Square, you pay nothing .

It’s free.

If you get on at Station Square, you have to dish out $2.75.

The stations are very clearly marked not only with a grey letter T on it, but with the name of the train station.

If you get lost or need some transit info, some one dressed in a yellow jacket will help you .

The trains have only two cars but there seems to be seats for everyone .

They’re clean and there are signs everywhere to tell you what’s allowed and what isn’t .

You get a nice view of the city and the surrounding area as well.

This is a good way to sightsee as well.

You can’t be free no matter how hard you try.

Let’s say you want to play the slots while you’re in town.

The Rivers Casino is in the same neighborhood as Heinz Field, home of the Pittsburgh Steelers football team.

You get off at the train station, Allegheny, and there’s the casino almost across the street.

Are you going to see the Pirates play at PNC Park or the Penguins at PPG Arena? (of course you are. This is a 30 Plus Teams Tour of Pittsburgh after all.)

The light rail can get you to both places , just get off at the North Shore and Steel Plaza train stations and walk.

The light rail is a good way to get around the city, and in some cases you didn’t have to pay a thing.

A RIDE ON THE SILVER LINE

The Boston  public  transportation  system  is officially  known as the  Massachusetts  Bay Transit  Authority  or MBTA  for short.

Unofficially ,  it’s  known by Bostonians  and people who travel there a lot as “The T”.

So, if you happen to  be in the city of  Boston  or in one of its  many neighborhoods ,  look for the signs with the big black letter “T” on it.

There are four main transit lines in  the city, the Orange  Line, the Green Line, the Blue Line, which takes you to the airport, and the Red Line, which takes you towards Harvard Square . 

Word of warning when you take the T.

There’s  no Uptown  or Downtown ,  like you’d  see in a city like New York.

Instead, you’ll  see “Inbound and Outbound”.

Inbound means coming towards the city of Boston ,  outbound means going away from the city.

You’ll  mostly  see this if you take the Red Line.

If you get confused, look for the friendly transit ambassadors in the red jackets.

They’re  there to take the confusion  out of your trip.

The city also has a commuter  rail called the Purple  Line and a bus and train line known  as  the  Silver Line.

It’s  all about  the  colors when it comes to transportation  in the city.

Just as it says, the Silver Line buses and trains are more light greyish in color, which I guess you could describe as “silver”.

Like the other modes of transit in the city, you will see the big black letter T on the side of the buses and the train.

On my way to catch  my bus at South Station  Bus Terminal ,  because  I  was  staying  so close to Boston  Logan  Airport ,  I took the  Silver Line train to South  Station . 

If you arrive  in Boston  by plane  and you want to  get to the city quickly ,  rather than take the shuttle  bus to the Blue Line airport  station ,  take the Silver Line to South Station where you can catch the Red Line trains.

From there ,  connections to the Green, Red, and Orange Lines are easier to get to than if you took the Blue Line.

For one thing, from the airport ,  the Silver Line is free . 

That’s  right, you pay nothing until you get to the South Station Red Line stop.

The Silver Line makes stops at Terminals C and E, which are the two terminals that most of the flights come leave ftom.

As the train leaves from the airport ,  expect the train to be very crowded . 

The ride is comfortable  and  smooth as it leaves the airport terminal and begins the journey  into the  city.

You’ll  be seeing areas of the city that you wouldn’t  otherwise  see.

If you happen  to  get on the train in the South Boston neighborhood  of  the  city, be ready to pay the normal  fare of $2.75.

It’s   not free anymore, only from the airport . 

While  you might not want to  take public  transportation  to get to Boston  Logan ,  taking the Silver Line is the cheapest  option to getting there, and you won’t  have to worry about traffic.

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 .