May 2011 Sports Calendar
by Jonathan Zeller, 04/20/2011
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Ladies and gentlemen, girls and boys, prepare for the wonders of superintense New York City athletics this month—it's veritable Mayhem, if you will. Consider the following: during these 31 days, anglers will try to wrangle fish like this at the FCA Manhattan Cup; the Mets and Yankees will battle both their most despised rivals and each other; and young athletes will strive to prove they're "Best in the City" at notoriously brutal games like table tennis and chess in the next NYC Mayor's Cup competitions (we'll be the ones on the sideline, faces painted). See what we mean? It doesn't get more bruising and intense than NYC sports in May! For more event highlights, read on.
TD Bank Five Boro Bike Tour
May 1, line up from 6:30 to 7:45am, race starts at 8am at The Battery
Happy Bike Month! On May 1, bikes own the road, and approximately 32,000 cyclists will pedal their way through all five boroughs on a traffic-free, 42-mile course. The ride is definitely more of a tour than a race, so have no fear if you're not a pro (and don't try to prove you're the next Lance Armstrong). It ends in Fort Wadsworth, Staten Island, with a festival that includes free stuff, fun activities and even massages—and, after 42 miles, we think you've earned one. Registration is full, but you can still join by helping raise funds for a charity.
Wrestling in Times Square
May 5, 6pm; Duffy Square, Times Square
Watch Olympic wrestlers grapple for glory at the Crossroads of the World—for free! Just in time to entertain sports fans making their way home during the evening rush hour, the United States and world champion Russia will face off in a freestyle dual meet. If you can’t make it in person, the event will also stream on TheMat.com. These bouts won’t feature the dramatic plotlines, loud music and smoke machines that define the flashy WWE, but the elite athletes competing will provide their own pyrotechnics on the mat. Following the meet, the Hard Rock Café will host the Beat The Streets Gala and Benefit, which raises funds for youth wrestling programs throughout the City.
NYC Mayor's Cup Table Tennis Championships
May 7, 9:30am; Alfred E. Smith Recreation Center
Table tennis players of all levels, from kindergarten through 12th grade, compete to be able to call themselves "Best in the City" in this, the latest in the NYC Mayor's Cup series of youth sporting events. Not merely a relaxing summer camp activity, serious table tennis can be lightning-fast and thrilling to watch. On a related note, it has also become a popular NYC nightlife activity, as documented by this very website. For more info, visit nycmayorscup.com.
The Big Swim
May 14, first check-in at 10:45am; Asphalt Green
Kids ages 6–12 who aren’t part of organized teams get the opportunity to compete in a daylong swim meet during this event, now in its 16th year. The winners receive medals, and everyone experiences the thrill of competition and the chance to meet Olympians including Americans Mark Ruiz and Glenn Mills, Briton Margie Pedder, Mexican Carlos Arena and the event’s host, gold medalist Rowdy Gaines. The day also includes performances by Olympic athletes and Ohio State University’s national champion synchronized swimming team, plus the Big Swim Benefit—which raises funds for Waterproofing, Asphalt Green’s free water safety education program.
Red Bulls Soccer
May 15, 7pm; May 25, 8pm; Red Bull Arena
With the acquisition of midfielder Dwayne De Rosario—a two-time Major League Soccer (MLS) Cup MVP and one of the league's flashiest goal scorers—the Red Bulls have added another star to a formidable lineup that already included Thierry Henry. The team hopes to build some momentum heading into July's MLS all-star game (during which Manchester United will take on the best MLS players), a major showcase for their gorgeous stadium. For a full accounting of games taking place all season long, check the Red Bulls' schedule.
NYRR Foundation Health and Wellness Jamboree, Plus Assorted Track-and-Field Events
May 15, 9am; Icahn Stadium
Icahn Stadium welcomes children ages 4 through 15 for a day of "running, jumping and throwing events" that will help them stay in shape and discover the joy of competition. It's a great opportunity for budding track-and-field stars to compete where the pros do. Beyond the jamboree, it's a busy month at Icahn Stadium in general, as the venue also hosts track events including the Gotham Games (May 23) and the Catholic High School Athletic Association Intersectional Championship (May 28). For a full schedule, visit the Icahn Stadium website.
FCA Manhattan Cup
May 20, sign in at 7:30am at Chelsea Brewing Company, boats depart at 9am
This massive Fisherman's Conservation Association catch-and-release event calls itself the "premier inshore fishing tournament in the Northeast," during which anglers take to the Hudson and attempt to hook the largest bluefish, striped bass and weakfish in the water. The competition attracts a mix of fishing pros and amateurs—especially Wall Street businesspeople. Registration is first-come, first-served, so be sure to sign up in advance at the FCA Manhattan Cup website if you're interested.
May 21, 7am; Prospect Park
Run 13.1 miles in Prospect Park, or just show up and cheer on the intrepid men and women trotting through the trying course. The morning also includes a special kids' race for children between 2(!) and 12 years old. For more information and to register, visit the New York Road Runners website.
NYC Mayor's Cup Chess Championships
May 21, TBD; The Frederick Douglass Academy
In The Morals of Chess, founding father Benjamin Franklin offered the following advice: "Snatch not eagerly at every advantage offered by [your opponent's] unskillfulness or inattention; but point out to him kindly, that by such a move he places or leaves a piece in danger and unsupported; that by another he will put his king in a perilous situation, etc. By this generous civility…you may, indeed, happen to lose the game to your opponent; but you will win what is better, his esteem, his respect, and his affection, together with the silent approbation and goodwill of impartial spectators." We doubt that the young competitors at this event will follow such guidance, for this is a no-holds-barred battle to be named "Best in the City"—and NYC's most ferocious chess masters will take no prisoners in their quest for glory! For more information, visit nycmayorscup.com.
Big Apple Hockey Festival Memorial Six-a-Side Field Hockey Tournament
May 28–29, 7:30am; Aviator Sports & Events Center
Players in four women's divisions—under 14, under 16, under 19 and open—plus an open men's division compete in Brooklyn. Field hockey is a very popular sport worldwide (an estimated 3 million people play), and the game's fast pace and athleticism make it enjoyable to watch, even if it's far from America's most popular spectator sport.
Various dates and times; Citi Field and Yankee Stadium
It's going to be an intense May for the Mets and Yankees, as each team faces hated divisional foes. May 27 to 29, the Mets take on the Philadelphia Phillies, who have won the National League East each year for the past four seasons, while the Yankees battle the Boston Red Sox (May 13–15) in the latest renewal of a rivalry that stretches back decades. To top it all off, the Mets and Yankees even face each other May 20 to 22 at Yankee Stadium—it's likely to be one of the hottest tickets of the season. For more game dates, check the Mets' schedule and the Yankees' schedule.