New York City isn't the only municipality to claim sports supremacy, but it has one of the strongest arguments for the title. There's a major sporting event happening almost every day somewhere in the five boroughs—and history is frequently made here too. NYC is the place where Roger Federer won five consecutive US Open tennis championships, where Mark Messier led the Rangers to Stanley Cup glory, where Babe Ruth became baseball's first superstar, where Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier and where the “Greatest Game Ever Played” catapulted professional football into the national spotlight. The City's teams add to that history and excitement on a near-constant basis; read on to find out how you can be a part of it.
New York Yankees
Babe Ruth. Mickey Mantle. Twenty-seven World Series championships. The Yankees may be the most storied franchise in sports. In 2009 the Bronx Bombers continued that winning tradition by clinching a World Series in their new, state-of-the-art stadium—just as they did back in 1923, the year they christened the House That Ruth Built. The ballpark balances history with modern amenities, and features an on-site museum filled with Yankees artifacts and memorabilia—including signed baseballs from an ever-increasing number of Yankees (the team has 1,000-plus signatures from the more than 1,500 players who have donned pinstripes). For tickets, visit ticketmaster.com.
New York Mets
Born in the swinging '60s as heirs to NYC's National League tradition, the Mets inherited orphaned fans and an underdog spirit from the long-suffering Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants (baseball), both of which had moved to the West Coast. They've experienced lows (a dismal 1962 debut), highs (the 1969 “Miracle Mets” and the dominant 1986 squad) and everything in between. A few years back Mets fans welcomed a new era in the high-tech—and yet, it must be noted, cozy—Citi Field. The park echoes the design of the legendary Ebbets Field, where the Mets once played (and the Dodgers before them), and also pays tribute to the team's Polo Grounds and Shea Stadium heritage. For tickets, visit mets.com.
New York Red Bulls
Watching the City's long-established Major League Soccer franchise take the pitch is always a kick. The side plays at Red Bull Arena, which many believe is the best soccer-specific facility in the United States. A partial roof protects fans from the elements and helps their cheers reverberate loudly, making it an intimidating place for the opposition to play. Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill are among the team's star players. For tickets, visit redbulls.com.
New York City Football Club
New York's second Major League Soccer franchise will play its inaugural season in 2015 at Yankee Stadium. It's safe to say there's some muscle behind the club: it's co-owned by Premier League side Manchester City and the New York Yankees. David Villa and Frank Lampard are set to be part of the first-ever New York City FC squad to take the field. For tickets, visit nycfc.com.
New York Giants
Big Blue's history is packed with memorable moments. The “Greatest Game Ever Played,” in 1958 (it was a title-game loss to the Baltimore Colts), helped make NFL football one of America's most popular sports. Super Bowl wins led by Jeff Hostetler, Phil Simms and Eli Manning created some of the game's most enduring images (who can forget David Tyree's against-the-helmet catch?). MetLife Stadium, the team's state-of-the-art home, is one of the league's newest venues. For tickets, visit ticketmaster.com.
New York Jets
The Jets' loyal supporters pack the stands for every game and support their beloved Gang Green through thick and thin—embracing a plucky attitude rooted in their upset Super Bowl III victory, led by the brash Joe Namath. They started life out in Shea Stadium as cotenants with the Mets, but they've shared a stadium with football’s Giants since the 1980s. For tickets, visit ticketmaster.com.
New York Rangers
The Blueshirts' fans are some of the most rabid in the National Hockey League, and Rangers tickets are constantly in demand, even when the team is having a down year (they managed to stay popular during an excruciating 54-year title drought from 1940 to 1994). The atmosphere in Madison Square Garden is always charged, especially when the rival New Jersey Devils or New York Islanders visit. For tickets, visit ticketmaster.com.
New York Islanders
Currently playing one final season out on Long Island, this storied NHL franchise—which won four consecutive Stanley Cup titles from 1980–83 as one of the game's great dynasties—will take up residence as the Brooklyn Nets' gym mates in the Barclays Center beginning in 2015. A talented young roster led by captain John Tavares may well make the team a big draw from day one. For tickets, visit ticketmaster.com.
New York Knicks
Knicks basketball is an NYC institution that's about more than just the game. The team has been involved in some epic struggles over the years, headlined by larger-than-life heroes like Patrick Ewing and Willis Reed and villains (at least from a New York perspective) like Chicago Bull Michael Jordan and Indiana Pacer Reggie Miller. You can feel the history in Madison Square Garden, and you never know which famous faces you'll see courtside—save for the omnipresent Spike Lee. For tickets, visit ticketmaster.com.
From the looks of the black-and-white team gear flooding the borough's sidewalks, it's safe to say Brooklyn's residents have embraced their new NBA team. The squad has found success early in its tenure, with two playoff appearances. The team's earlier history on Long Island and in New Jersey had its bright spots too—notably the final ABA league championship, led by high-flying Julius Erving. For tickets, visit ticketmaster.com.
New York Liberty
One of the WNBA's proudest franchises, the Libs have wowed New York City fans since 1997 (the team is a particular favorite with families). Over the years they've made four trips to the WNBA Finals. And it doesn't hurt the team's appeal that they play their home games at Madison Square Garden, arguably basketball's most storied venue. For tickets, visit ticketmaster.com.
US Open Tennis
More than 700,000 people attend the US Open annually, and tens of millions watch on TV, both to see great tennis and to be part of a sport that has produced icons—like the Williams sisters, Andy Roddick and Maria Sharapova—who have ascended from mere sports stardom to full-blown celebrity. Make sure to get your tickets early if you want good seats for prime matches. The event takes place in late August and September. Throughout the rest of the year, the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center hosts a number of smaller tournaments and rents its courts to the public for as little as $24 an hour. The complex is just across from the Mets' ballpark, Citi Field, and about a half hour away from Midtown Manhattan via the 7 subway line. For tickets, visit usopen.org.
This race, held in early November, is the participatory sporting event to end all participatory sporting events—during which around 50,000 competitors endure a punishing 26.2-mile journey through all five boroughs. Amateurs run alongside professional stars as millions of fans cheer them every step of the way. Marathoners compete not only on two legs but also on prostheses and wheels. For more running action in NYC, check out Icahn Stadium, located in Randalls Island Park—whose Mondo surface is believed to be one of the fastest in the United States—and the New Balance Track & Field Center in Washington Heights.
The Brooklyn Cyclones, the New York Mets' Class A Short Season minor league club, play in picturesque MCU Park—about an hour's subway ride from Midtown Manhattan. The smell of salt air permeates the stadium, which is situated close to the ocean and Coney Island attractions like Deno's Wonder Wheel and Luna Park. The on-field competition of scrappy, hardworking ballplayers harks back to the good ol' days of Brooklyn baseball—as does the intimate setting, where the team can hear what fans yell out from the stands. The Cyclones are also famous for their wacky promotions, which have included game days themed around Seinfeld, The Office and Jersey Shore. For tickets, visit brooklyncyclones.com.
Staten Island Yankees
Nicknamed the Baby Bombers, the Yankees' Class A Short Season minor league affiliate plays on the northeastern tip of Staten Island at Richmond County Bank Ballpark. Cities throughout America feature ballparks with astounding waterfront views, but this one may be the best of all: panoramas of New York Harbor and the City's skyline. The easiest way to get to the borough from Manhattan is by the Staten Island Ferry, which not only is free but also takes you right to the ballpark and offers views of the Statue of Liberty and the Lower Manhattan skyline on the way. For tickets, visit ticketmaster.com.
The Bolts, members of the Fall Experimental Football League (FXFL does not, as we initially suspected, stand for Fairly Xtreme Football League), play at MCU Park at Coney Island, the summertime home of the Brooklyn Cyclones. The brand-new league aspires to become a football equivalent to baseball's minor leagues, developing talent that can get called up to the NFL. The 2014 season is its first.