2016 US Open - Full Fan Preview & Grandstand MapI just came back from 3 days at the US Open this weekend! Wanted to share my tips and findings with all the US Open tennis fans from around the world. Should give you an idea of what to expect*
Millions of fans will be attending this year in NYC or following it online and on TV.
Our goal is to make your experience fun, safe and most importantly a good value.
Personal Weekend Experience and Opinions:
Two days of Qualifiers plus Arthur Ashe Kids Day. I witnessed a lot of new things while there on my preview tour of the grounds at Flushing Meadows.
1) Good = New Grandstand Stadium and Ashe Roof. Great Weather. Lots of Tennis.
2) Bad = HIGH Prices. Not Tech Savvy. Lack of Easy Info.
3) Ugly = US Open Staff (not everyone) - a few rotten apples...more later
The Good - Great New Venue*NEW*: Our 2016 Insider's Instagram - US Open Grandstand Map is now on Instagram
- FOLLOW US for Secret TIPS and info about this new stadium!
|Grandstand Court - US Open Map Guide for 2016|
|Grandstand Lounge - hidden secret on the far side|
Access up the stairs. Turn LEFT after you past the SMART car booth
|New 2016 US Open Grandstand Court - best shaded seat area looking towards Ashe|
New Grandstand StadiumAbsolutely gorgeous architecture and facility designed by Rossetti Architecture.
The flow of the tennis campus now draws crowds in more of a circular path, but bottlenecks still occur at the food court pavilion and effectively isolates off Court 17 as it is in the opposite corner from everything else.
A few tricks to save yourself time and sweat: Walk *behind* the new Grandstand stadium area. Stick to the paths at the South edge and West Edge. There is a "secret" back entrance along South side of the Grandstand...with lounge seating and a private bathroom if you go all the way up to the top of Grandstand. This is where most of the ESPN crew go to use it. It's like a private little hotel up there.
Also another optimal and shaded path you can take is between the P1-P5 courts and cut through to see the new Grandstand.
|Free US Open Game Ball. My favorite tennis souvenir.|
Tip: Go early morning to find them next to the practice courts!
|Free Fan! Visit Orlando = Fan Friendly|
|Go inside the American Express Private Lounge|
Amex Card gets you upstairs for Beverages and Snacks :)
|Get your free 2016 US Open art poster|
Just show them your pre-sale ticket.
|All USTA Members can pick up this cooling towel FREE!|
The BAD: Tennis is getting over pricedAlso, as full disclosure for my personal opinion and review, I do not get paid a DIME by USTA nor the US Open to write my reviews.
I am an annual ticket member and paying patron fan that buys US Open and US Open Shop products every year. We literally pay their salary but sometimes fans get treated like unwelcome guests?!
"Robin Hood of Tennis"
Maybe it is because I take pride in helping you all save money on US Open tickets and get more value from them. It seems that USTA and particularly the Media Credential staff are particular prejudice toward anyone who may cut into their corporate bottom line.
Tickets and Ticket Plans are a RIPOFF if you buy there
From personal experience, I was once a Mini-Plan holder.Now, every year they even try to charge me too much for US Open ticket plans every year if I ever want to renew - NO THANKS and please stop calling!
The box office and ticket booth staff are offering the exact same deals as online. Nothing special there - you cannot even get Loge seats the first year you buy a FULL Plan...instead on TicketExchange you can get those same seats instantly.
US Open Tip #1: Check prices FIRST at TicketExchange for Last Min deals!
Sold by Fans to Fans. Cut out the Box Office...they are not your friends when they try to sell you the worst seats at highest prices.
They offer no useful tips / info about where to sit, and they get paid a salary to rip fans off?? No thanks. Check out our 2-for-1 US Open Ticket Specials instead. Also find great Amex Card Member US Open Specials *before* they are sold to the general public. Those who know Tennis Bargains don't need to pay retail for tennis!
Food and Beverages are wayyyy over-priced - eat outside instead!
|$17+ Crepes this year! Wow, and it's Not even a full meal.|
|I saw Many ball kids are getting pizza from Neapolitan. So maybe that's an ok try?|
|Depends on how you pronounce the name "FukU"?? But prepare, you may get SCREWED!|
|US Open Food and Prices?! I got an over-priced and under-cooked chicken*|
Tip: Save $5, Bring in a sealed plastic bottle (Water or Gatorade)
|Instead, I recommend going just outside the East Gates.|
$9 for a whole meal! Great Eats! Much cheaper D
|Check out the tennis practice courts|
while enjoying your Wings!
The UGLY: Heroes and Villains working at the US OpenOn Facebook, I want to start posting 2 albums a WALL OF FAME and WALL OF SHAME.
First off the commendable and talented young people - especially the ball boys and girls who EARN their spot with hard work. I respect a meritocracy where they had to compete to get their spot. Instead all around the grounds, what I saw was overstaffed positions of US Open Staff (sometimes 6 people to do 2-3 people's work). Worse of all they were clueless about answer basic questions about their job.
Too many US Open Jobs
If you work at the membership booth, I expect you to be able to find my USTA number quicker than I can looking up Gmail. If you run the bathrooms, please do not be siting in there, watching video on your cell phone while charging and just pretend to stand in the doorway with a trashcan to try to block people from entering. When I'm ordering food, do you need 3 cashiers standing around who cannot figure out how to turn on one cash register?
Big question to US Open: where are the Supervisors?!
What are they doing to fix this? Worst they have many of them just sitting around to collect a paycheck. I recommend hiring competent staff / reduce the numbers of redundant positions. Or find volunteers who *love tennis* as they do at the Cincy Open and do a better job for FREE than most US Open paid employees.
Several times there are Ushers who know little or nothing about tennis. They simply stand there giving fans the evil eye all day long - especially those working in the P1-P5 areas. Occasionally at P5 there were some helpful ones that could actually identify the player playing and offer helpful suggestions. I tried to do this for a few fans who came up to me: "who's famous here"? I pointed out Monica Puig (Gold Medalist for Women's Doubles). Unfortunately, the Usher standing there was surprised as the young fan who asked the question. Let's get some knowledgeable
I want to highlight the staffers who are going the extra mile. But for those who are treating my fans with disrespect - I have no patience. Not even in NYC, there's no excuse to be rude and unprofessional at an important tennis event shared by the world. In my book, you don't get away with being a jerk or stealing patron's hard earned money. Period.
My Secret Shoppers and Tennis Bargain ReviewersI have asked my readers send my pictures of any outstanding individuals, products or booths you want me to post online! They are my eyes and ears on the ground the next 2 weeks. Secret shoppers and eye witnesses.
Lastly, the USTA annual memberships and organizational member fees I pay do not seem to be recruiting the right USTA staff. In fact, I usually see 2x-3x more USTA staff just standing around than doing actual work. That includes in the bathrooms, staff, ushers, security and guest service folks who actually will snatch money out of your hands when you're going through the bag check area.
Be careful with your possessions! Even the US Open staff cannot be trusted to be professional (more on this later...part 3 of the Ugly).
One of many Bullies working for Guest Services at US Open this year. Probably not getting paid enough, so has resulted in several instances of staff reportedly taking bribes and stealing at access control points around the stadium. This one was at the East Gate near the NTC.
|Gregory Y. Rabener, 40 Cheslan Ct, Oceanside NY:|
"This is MY property now...I may or may not give it back to you..."
After refusing to return my property pass, money and paper receipts stuck to my daily access media wrist band.
|Guest Services Employee "Randi" warned by ATP ref 3 times! Stop walking during play at Court 17.|
Not sure where they hire these "guest service" employees from.
If you don't know tennis etiquette - find another job you bum!
|US Open staff hiding at the back of Grandstand and Court 8.|
Again, you see these Staff sitting around or sleeping (on the right) at important check points.
Zero accountability by the supervisors who let this behavior happen daily!
More to follow....