5 Boro Amazing Race 2014

It's time once again for a 5 Boro Amazing Race as hosted by my brother, Matt!  Do you need a refresher?  The NYC-themed Amazing Race ensures you will stop in all five boroughs of New York City in one day through a series of clues you have to solve.  The clues are crazy hard, and the sites all follow a theme.  This year's theme was BASEBALL! And there were, I think, 28 teams of 2-4 people competing this year.  Matt figured there were about 70 people racing around NYC solving his clues, how cool!  Are you interested in playing along next year?  Let me know and I'll get you on race emails early in the process!
Becky and I were very willing to help Matt by waiting at one of his designated clue locations and meeting up with people to give them their next clue (which actually got them to the location 2 away from us- he wanted to make sure they were able to head to one clue location while solving the next clue location so they didn't need to sit around wasting time).  This year we were again at a park, the FDR Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island.  With a start time of noon in Hoboken, NJ (the site of one is considered the first official baseball game played in the US), and us being situated at location #5, we had some time in the morning to chill with the nephews!  WestsideWes chillin!
But first, a little of the night before the race!  Cole had asked me if I brought my camera (this kid is so smart).  I told him yes, and he asked if he could see a picture on it.  I told him there weren't any yet, so he told me to "take pictures of my baby brother", so I took some pictures of Wes (one seen above).  He came over and looked at the pictures, learning how to scroll through them using a dial instead of swiping with his finger (must be frustrating), then asked if he could take a picture with the camera.  I decided that as long as I stayed close, I would agree to this (I'm crazy).  I put the strap around his neck, and helped him hold up the super heavy camera by supporting it at the base while he gripped the sides and had his finger on the shutter button.  He looked through the viewfinder (unsuccessfully I think, we'll work on that one) and took some pictures of Becky, his Dad, and me (I refused to let go of the camera, so I was way too close and look blech)
Based on this post from Patti, I think we have another generation of photographer blooming!  Maybe in a year of two I'll let him hold it by himself...maybe...

We headed to Eataly, like I mentioned in my birthday post!  Saw the Flatiron, which I actually don't think I've seen before, and totally stuffed ourselves with amazing food!
Think of anything Italian you'd like to eat, it's there!  I wish I lived closer so I could stock up my pantry and fridge...  We ate our dinner outside, then our gelato in the park and watched night fall.
The next morning, we were up early with Cole and Wes!  We all grabbed coffee and a little food before Ed met up with his team, and the rest of us headed to Central Park to play and exercise.  Becky and I ran a loop in the Park while Patti watched the boys at a playground, then Becky and I switched with her and she ran while we each watched a boy.  Then a walk to our favorite market to grab lunch, and we were off to our clue location!!

We'd never been to Roosevelt Island, so I had Patti help us figure out the best trains to get there from her apartment (and wrote down the directions since a day of constant cell phone use gps-ing and staying in contact with the other helpers and racers might run down the battery), and we headed out!
It's kind of awesome.  And the weather was perfect!  There was a breeze on the water, the sun would warm us and the shade would cool us, so it was glorious to hang out there for hours!
We walked to the FDR Four Freedoms Park from the subway stop and took pictures along the way, obvs.  Do you know what our location had to do with baseball?  FDR threw out the most opening day pitches of anyone!  Also it was a great excuse to check out the park :-)
When we reached the park itself, we were blown away by the simplicity of it, but how grand it felt at the same time.  We felt we were in a special place and really loved the mix of materials throughout.
It was really very awesome.  If you're in NYC, I highly suggest the trip!

Matt met up with us to give us a list of participants, since he was waiting at location #4 and that was actually very close to us.  He stayed clued into his racers all day- through texts, calls, and emails to make sure they didn't go too far astray or get frustrated and stuck with a clue.
And what do Becky and I do while on location in NYC with a camera?!  Take as many pictures as possible, obvs.
I even had Becky try to teach me how to feel comfortable in front of the camera.  I know what to do when taking the pictures, just not when they're taken of me!  She did her best, and I have a few things to work on!
FDR Memorials are my favorite, why are his always so cool?!
We waited for a couple hours before the first team finally arrived.  We always like to play it safe to make sure we don't screw up any of the teams by getting to our site late, but we were so so happy to see two teams racing towards us for the first time that afternoon!!  We saw a guy in red race up the stairs at the end of the monument, see our green shirts, and turn around and wave people forward.  It was awesome.
We asked them "During Franklin Roosevelt's presidency, we declared war on a number of countries.  Which country's declaration of war received the most votes in both the house and senate?"  We told them to enter their answer on the Amazing Race website, and it would unlock the next clue!  Smartphones encouraged.
We were once again left on our own.  Commence photo shoots!
We once again saw people in matching clothing headed towards us, it was Ed's team in 3rd place!
While they were solving their clue, another team arrived!
And then a bunch of teams arrived at once!  Clearly the public transportation was allowing teams to catch up to each other.
It was also at this time, that we found out the F train was no longer stopping at Roosevelt Island, teams were having to take the tram over to our stop.  This was delaying a bunch of people, and Matt realized his final stop of a baseball game in Staten Island (the Staten Island Yankees Minor League team!) was going to be unattended if everyone was getting so held up.  Unfortunately, though only about half the teams made it to Roosevelt Island, Matt decided to send out an email telling everyone to skip our stop, he gave them the password to the clue online, and told Becky and I to head back.
We found out the train was running into Queens, but we wanted the other direction.  We were told it was only 2 stops until we could switch directions, and figured we'd go for it.  Turns out they meant 2 express stops, not local, so we went about 6 stops into Queens.  We turned around, and got to our transfer to another train around 8pm.  At this point, we still needed to get to the Staten Island Ferry and take the Ferry itself (we were told around 25 minutes for the ride).  I mentioned this to Becky and I just watched her face fall.  We needed food, not another 45 minutes of traveling to get to the baseball game.  We called family members, explained we were still far away and that the baseball game just wasn't going to happen.  We were so sorry that meant we missed the game, missed the cheers for Matt from everyone, and missed seeing the other half of the racers we had missed on Roosevelt Island, but luckily everyone understood.

Sunset from the Upper West Side.
We got dinner and managed to get into Patti and Ed's apartment to collapse.  What a crazy, fun, awesome event!  I can't believe Matt organizes things like this, it's so awesome!  He has ideas for next year to help keep everyone more on schedule, and I can't wait to see what he thinks up for that race.

And on that note, here are some totally stolen pictures from others to show what was happening outside of Roosevelt Island.

Start of the race in Hoboken, taken by my Mom, showing the teams trading "baseball cards" to get their full clue.
Some participants, solving clues and having fun!
View over the East River!
A lot of teams caught up together on their stop at Roosevelt Island.
Taking the Staten Island Ferry to the baseball game.
Patti, Cole and Wes met up with everyone at the baseball game, and even Wes was given an Event Staff shirt.  I love this picture, thanks Margaret for sharing!
And fireworks to end the game, and an amazing day.
Thanks Matt, for such an awesome event in NYC to look forward to!  It also meant one more weekend that our whole family got to spend together, which is always welcome :-)  Again, if you're interested in participating next year, let me know, it's an awesome time!

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