New York’s “Other” Sports Teams

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A Brooklyn Cyclones game is a good alternative to New York's Major League games

For many visitors, a trip to New York wouldn’t be complete without a game at Madison Square Garden or Yankee Stadium. But for those who can’t stomach the prices or, in some cases, the poor performance (sorry, Mets fans), New York has several other sports teams worth cheering. Game on!

Affiliated with the Mets, the Brooklyn Cyclones play other minor league teams in a stadium overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. If you arrive early, take a stroll along the famous Coney Island boardwalk and stop at Nathan’s for a hot dog and milkshake, or try Totonno’s for a classic New York pizza. Game tickets are available online, by phone (718-507-TIXX), or at the ticket office, which opens at 10 am.

Many Bronx Bombers get their minor league start in an entirely different borough: Staten Island. Often called the “Baby Bombers,” the Staten Island Yankees are the New York Yankees’ Single-A Affiliate. Like their MLB counterparts, the SI Yanks tend to win, capturing division titles in 2008 and 2009. Make sure to ride the top deck of the Staten Island Ferry for the best views of the Statue of Liberty. (The stadium is next door to the ferry terminal.) For the best tickets, search the schedule online or call 718-720-9265.

Staying at the Hotel Reserve puts you within walking distance to subways to Brooklyn and the Staten Island Ferry Terminal.

Professional women’s basketball offers an elegant, less-ego-driven alternative to men’s basketball. Like their brother team the New York Knicks, the WNBA’s New York Liberty plays in Madison Square Garden; like the Knicks, the Liberty has struggled for wins. But a combination of seasoned and new players should strengthen this year’s team. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster (online or by phone, 866-858-0008) or by visiting the Madison Square Garden Box Office, which opens at 9 a.m. Monday through Friday and at 10 a.m. on Saturdays. Diehards might want to tack on a separate tour of Madison Square Garden and stay at the Hotel Pennsylvania, across the street.

The Long Island Lizards represent the New York City area in Major League Lacrosse. Games tend to be fast-paced and physical. Though MLL has yet to really catch on among the general populace, the league does have a few standouts, including Matt Danowski, who plays attack—yup, that’s an actual position—for the Lizards. Buy tickets online, or call 866-LIZARD-1. Games generally take place at colleges in New York and New Jersey, so you could stay pretty much anywhere, including the London NYC in Midtown.

Roller Derby
Six teams make up the Gotham Girls Roller Derby—and each one is awesomer than the next. Although these ladies-who-skate are amateurs, that doesn’t make them any less athletic or tough. Just take a look at the team names: Wall St. Traitors, Manhattan Mayhem, Queens of Pain, et cetera et cetera. Tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets, by phone at 888-830-2253, or by email. Events are held throughout the city, including gyms at Hunter and City Colleges. Stay at the Westin New York at Times Square for easy access to the subway.

The New York Red Bulls, part of Major League Soccer, actually play in New Jersey. And, yes, they’re named after an energy drink. But a little branding can’t keep away true New York fans (i.e., Citi Field). World Cup fans will be excited to know that the Red Bulls have one player in the Cup (Andrew Boyens, playing for New Zealand) and are trying to recruit another (Thierry Henry, playing for France). Buy your tickets online. The Wingate by Wyndham is close to Penn Station, which has frequent train service to New Jersey.

––Jessica Allen and Garrett Ziegler of We Heart New York

[Photo credit: duluoz cats/Flickr]

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