FAN GUIDE: FORDHAM
We're just five days away from finally getting on the field. One of the good things about Ivy League football is that no matter how weak your team might look, the very long offseason makes everyone really excited about finally getting the games going.
Of course, this season there are high hopes at Columbia. And while the horrible showing in the scrimmage against Harvard gives us pause, it's really quite foolish to put too much stock in it.
But all the ships are sailing to Fordham right now, and so now as promised, I give you the:
Columbia Fans' Guide to Getting to and Enjoying a Game at Fordham University
A few weeks ago, I urged everyone who wanted to go to get tickets early and have them sent to you so you could avoid the sometimes horrific lines at the very few ticket booths at Jack Coffey Field. If you're too late for that, it's still a good idea to order now so you're fighting the relatively smaller line at the Will Call booth.
"If you have ever wondered if you're in Hell, then you are experiencing a rather normal spiritual quandary that you share with many. If however, you know without the shadow of a doubt that you are in Hell, then you must be on the Cross Bronx Expressway!" - Jeff Saltzman
The key to getting to the Fordham game by car, especially if you are coming from the greater Metropolitan New York area, is NOT to get hung up on mileage. The overall ease of the trip is much more important, no matter what MapQuest says. And sometimes two miles on the wrong highway in New York can take longer than 50 miles on side streets.
But you'll need to give yourself extra time no matter what you do. You just can't figure that you can make it just in time for kickoff, because that is too dangerous when you're traveling in New York.
*IMPORTANT NOTE* if you drive an actual commercial truck or an RV, you can't usually travel parkways in New York, only expressways. This is very important, as you could be ticketed or even have your vehicle damaged in one of the parkways' low tunnels or underpasses.
Now, the Fordham University website is not too terrible in its directions to the school, with one big exception. Many of the directions advise people to take the dreaded Cross Bronx Expressway. Thankfully, one is only required to stay on that cursed roadway for about 1.2 miles... but that can be torture. If you chose to take a route that puts you on the Cross Bronx... it is IMPERATIVE that you tune in to regular traffic updates on WINS AM or WCBS AM BEFORE you get on it. For those of you not from the New York area, WINS is at 1010 on your AM dial and it does traffic updates every 10 minutes on the "ones." (5:01, 5:11, 5:21, etc.), while WCBS is at 880 on your AM dial and does traffic updates every 10 minutes on the "eights."
If they don't flag the Cross Bronx as being bad in the traffic reports, it will still be very slow but nothing to get worried about for just 1.2 miles. If they say it is bad, then make sure you have an alternate route as things can be at a standstill when it's worse than usual.
Let me go through some common scenarios and hopefully, one of them will match your planned route to Fordham:
1) From Long Island
This is where I'm coming from, and sadly it's one of the tougher origination spots. The Fordham directions advise people to take the Cross Island Parkway to the Bronx River Parkway... which should not be too terrible, but if you hear bad traffic reports, here are a few alternatives to the C.R.B:
(my new favorite way) a. Head to the Triboro Bridge and get on the Bruckner Expressway to the Bronx River Parkway. Take Bronx River Parkway to Fordham Road Exit (7W). Bear right up a small hill as the road splits following the underpass, then make a right at the light (Kazmiroff/Southern Blvd.) Turn left at next light into the main parking lot.
b. Take the Triboro Bridge to the Harlem River Drive all the way to the end until you reach Dyckman Street/10th Avenue. Take Dyckman all the way to the West Side Highway/Henry Hudson Parkway NORTH until you see the Mosholu Parkway Exit. Take Mosholu Parkway to the end. Make a right onto Kazmiroff Blvd. (Southern Boulevard). Turn right at the third light into campus.
c. Take the Midtown Tunnel and then continue all the way crosstown, (this is rough, double parkers and suicidal pedestrians make driving through Midtown Manhattan a no-no for me when I can avoid it), all the way to the entrance to the West Side Highway NORTH until you see the Mosholu Parkway Exit. Take Mosholu Parkway to the end. Make a right onto Kazmiroff Blvd. (Southern Boulevard). Turn right at the third light into campus.
d. Take either the Throgs Neck Bridge or Whitestone Bridge to the Hutchinson River Parkway North to the Pelham Parkway West. Take Pelham Parkway for approximately two miles until the road splits following the Bronx River Parkway Underpass. Stay right up a small hill and make a right at the light (Kazmiroff/Southern Boulevard). Turn left at the next light into the main parking lot. (I JUST DON'T RECOMMEND USING THIS OPTION UNLESS EVERYTHING ELSE IS AT A COMPLETE STANDSTILL... IT IS MORE THAN A LITTLE EASY TO GET CONFUSED BY THE "ROAD SPLITS" SECTION OF THESE DIRECTIONS. Plus, Pelham Parkway can be rough on the weekends).
2) From New Jersey and Most Points South
(from some points south of NYC it MAY make sense to come via Staten Island and the Verrazano Narrows Bridge... but this is not exceedingly common for getting to Fordham).
You can avoid the Cross Bronx Expressway completely without breaking much of a sweat simply by following the Fordham website's directions for BUSES from New Jersey. Those are: Take the George Washington Bridge to the Henry Hudson Parkway/Saw Mill River Parkway North. Exit at Mosholu Parkway. Take Mosholu Parkway to end. Make a right onto Kazmiroff Blvd. (Southern Boulevard). Turn right at the third light into campus.
Again, I just love avoiding the Cross Bronx and while this route may be longer in miles, it usually will take less time overall.
3) From the North
The Fordham website directs people to take the Pelham Parkway exit... but I HATE that idea. Make it easy on yourself and just take the Henry Hudson Parkway SOUTH to the Mosholu Parkway. Take Mosholu Parkway to end. Make a right onto Kazmiroff Blvd. (Southern Boulevard). Turn right at the third light into campus.
Fordham was doing some construction on its lots in past years, but that construction is over now. There should be ample parking in the Fordham lot, and if not, the guards at the gate will direct you to the very easy-to-find parking garages just up the road.
DITCH THE CAR AND TAKE THE TRAIN
I'm a huge fan of public transportation, but for a night game at Fordham, you may not want to get locked into the subway's or Metro North's less frequent train schedule. The good news for Metro North riders is there is a Fordham stop.
This Saturday, the Metro North trains from Grand Central Terminal run to Fordham at 4:02PM, 4:23, 5:02, and 5:23. All should get you there in plenty of time for the 6pm kickoff.
If you're coming from somewhere other than Grand Central, then check here for a complete train schedule. (Make sure you've punched in the correct date when you get to the actual train page).
The Subway does not stop very close to the Fordham campus, but if you insist then the 4 or D line train to the Fordham Road stop. You can then transfer to the Bx12 bus to the Webster Ave stop and cross the street to Rose Hill Campus library entrance. Or you can walk to campus by going EAST on Fordham Road, (you should pass streets like Valentine and Tiebout Avenues, if you don't see them, you probably walked west by accident).
No matter how you choose to get to Fordham, I suggest going on to GOOGLE MAPS and simply print out a map of East Fordham Road, Bronx, NY.
WHERE CAN I EAT?
It would truly be a shame to come all the way to Fordham and not try one of the legendary Italian restaurants on Arthur Avenue. Arthur Avenue is the Bronx's lesser-known "Little Italy," but it should not be missed. You really can't go wrong at any of the many restaurants there, but Pasquale Rigoletto is a popular spot
(Use your google map of East Fordham Road to find Arthur Avenue).
WHAT CAN I DO?
If you really want to make a day of it in the Fordham area, I suggest visiting the New York Botanical Gardens or even the Bronx Zoo. The Yankees are away this Saturday, so sorry about those of you who wanted to see the Bronx Bombers.
In other news...
Rick Mantz's South Brunswick high school team lost a heart breaker in OT
to Monroe high school, 29-28 on Saturday. Hopefully, he'll get back in the win column this weekend.