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Big apple sports equal big time fun

Everything is big in the Big Apple, including their sports teams. I was in New York last week for eight days and during my stay took in several sports events - all at New York's three new stadiums.

Everything is big in the Big Apple, including their sports teams.

I was in New York last week for eight days and during my stay took in several sports events - all at New York's three new stadiums.

We started out our New York sports adventure on Sunday, Aug. 29, with a trip to Queens and Citi Field, the brand new home of the Mets.

Subway travel is the way to go in New York. You can get from one side of the city to the other, visiting all five boroughs (Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Harlem) very easily. Just fill up your metro card, grab a subway map, and you're on your way. We paid $27 for a seven-day unlimited ride pass, by far the best value.

Once arriving in Queens, the subway station is literally right in front of the stadium. Citi Field is pretty impressive with its large columns and inviting concourse - a far cry from Shea Stadium, the Mets' previous home, which has far outlived its time.

We entered through the closest gate, which took us past the Mets museum and their team store, up the escalators to the main concourse area. If you have been to Safeco Field in Seattle, you will note the similarities to Citi Field - a wide-open concourse area with direct sight lines to your section and the field.

We had seats in the 100-level down the left field line with a great vantage point of home plate and the entire infield. The stadium boasts great views of Queens, lots of interactive message boards and a huge jumbotron video replay board. It's just a good, all around ball park.

A wide selection of eats is available too. Did you honestly think I would go to a ball park and not have a hot dog or two? I recommend the sausage and peppers instead of a regular Nathan's hot dog, but there is everything from burgers to sushi, popcorn and peanuts to fresh fruit, nachos to chicken fingers, so everyone can get a taste of what they want.

There was not a great atmosphere in the park as the Mets are far from a pennant race. The fans were a little quiet, but it was still an enjoyable day at the park.

Next up was the experience of all experiences for me - three back-to-back games at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (Sept. 1 to 3).

I'm a diehard Yankees fan, so heading to the Bronx for the first of three games, I was like a kid on Christmas morning.

The new stadium is epic. If the old stadium was dubbed "The House that Ruth Built," the new stadium can certainly be named "The House that the Boss Built." And by boss I'm referring to George Steinbrenner, the passionate long-time owner of the Bronx Bombers, who passed away on July 13.

The wide-open concourse area is packed with banners and photos of present and past Yankees, and the field itself - well, breathtaking certainly comes to mind. With Monument Park in centre field between the two bullpens, a major scoreboard and video replay boards in centre field, the tribute to Steinbrenner and the 27 world titles prominently displayed, the park simply rocks.

We had seats in the upper deck against Oakland on Wednesday night - a 4-3 Yankee win, so not great, but I didn't care. I was in the park and the Yankees won - enough said.

On Thursday, we had evening tickets to the Giants / New England Patriots exhibition football game at new Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey, so while my mom planned a day of shopping, my dad and I got in a bonus Yankee game during the afternoon (another Yankee win, this time 5-0 over Oakland), then headed over New Jersey for the football game. Two games, two parks all in one day - doesn't get much better than that.

We had seats that afternoon in the 200-level right behind first base, so much better sightlines than the night before.

There's great food at Yankee Stadium too. I recommend a milkshake and a Johnny Rockets burger, but the foot-long hot dog was pretty good, too.

To get to New Jersey, I suggest a round-trip train ticket (using Meadowlands Sports Complex as your final destination) from Penn Station at the New Jersey Transit desk. Your tickets will be valid for transportation via rail to Secaucus Junction, as well as a rail shuttle to Meadowlands. By buying this round-trip ticket, we avoided the long post-game ticket buying lines.

Giants Stadium, the new home to the Giants and New York Jets, is pretty cool. We had seats in the endzone with a full view of the stadium and field. They are still working out the kinks, as the stadium just opened up, so the service at the concession stands was a bit slow, but lots of food choices and cold beer - good enough for me!

We finished up Yankee Stadium on Friday with another afternoon affair, this time a 7-3 win over the Toronto Blue Jays with seats in right field - not great as you lose a bit of the action. I would suggest getting seats either high up or on the sides of the field to get the best views.

All in all, it was an awesome New York sports experience. The new parks are great and well worth a trip to any one of them.

Next week, look for more New York travel adventures including Coney Island and the Bronx Zoo.