Category Archives: Exploring New Brunswick, NJ

Day Two Hundred and Seven: “Go Green-Go White!” Supporting Michigan State University sporting events for Football and Basketball October 9th and November 9th, 2021

I have to admit that I am a very proud Spartan of Michigan State University and am willing to travel to support my Alma Mater when they are playing locally. I feel the same support for Cornell when they are playing football games locally as well.

I recently talked about my trips to New Haven, CT and Philadelphia, PA for Cornell football games that had mixed results. I have to admit that Cornell football has not been one of the college’s strong points over the years but at least we have a good turnout from Alumni.

So, I put my walk in the Garment District on hold and attended the games both in New Brunswick and in Midtown Manhattan and supported my Alma Mater.

When I went to the Michigan State University versus Rutgers game back on October 9th in New Brunswick, NJ, it was finally nice to see what I consider ‘real football’ between Division One teams. This is usually the only game I can see when it is played every other year at home for Rutgers. Otherwise, it means going out to East Lansing, MI for the games which I have not done since 2013.

It was a rather gloomy day for the game even though it was a warm Fall weekend. Since New Jersey and New York are top recruiting states for out of state students, we have a sizeable Alumni Association in the Metropolitan New York City area. So, we formed a pretty big block at the stadium.

SHI Stadium (Hale Center) was just renovated in 2009 to expand the capacity to 52,454 seats. This makes it ready for other Big Ten games but I have to be honest. The place was a third empty and it was Homecoming Weekend for Rutgers. I kept wondering when everyone was going to come in from Tailgating.

The gentleman sitting behind me, who was a lifetime Rutgers season ticket holder, answered the question. He said the fans prefer to tailgate then come into the stadium and will hear the game on the radio or watch it on a tv near the tailgate. So much for Homecoming support.

The first half of the game was pretty exciting with the teams going back and forth. Rutgers led in the beginning 10-0 but it did not take long for us to catch up. By half time, we came back to a 21-13 lead before we left for the locker rooms. We would score 10 more points in the second half and hold Rutgers to a 31-13 win.

I have to say one thing during half time. It got very quiet with Rutgers Alumni as they left the stadium. Michigan State alumni hit the concession stands and I had a pretty amazing fried chicken sandwich with a Coke. Because of COVID, there was no place to gather and eat, so I found the edge of a closed concession stand and ate with other alumni from both schools. None of us were very impressed by the game at half time.

The game went back and forth in the second half but we pulled out ten more points and again, we won the game 31-13. After the game was over, everyone headed back the to the busses to take us back to the parking lot at the back of the campus. This was the weird part. We were all on top of one another in the stadium and again on the line for the busses and then they made us wear masks for the ten-minute trip back to the parking lot. That made no sense whatsoever.

I have to say one thing, don’t underestimate Rutgers Football. With their coach and the recruiting pool he has in the State of New Jersey and the surrounding states, this team will be a powerhouse in the future.

Before I headed home, I stopped in Bridgewater, NJ for a taste of nostalgia. I stopped at Joe’s Pizzeria in Martinsville, NJ (see reviews on TripAdvisor and DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com) for an early dinner. I swear that the pizza has not changed in 50 years since I started coming here as a kid.

Joe’s Pizzeria at 1938 Washington Valley Road

https://www.joespizzamartinsville.com/

The pizza is still so crisp on the bottom and at the crust and the sauce has the same fresh tomato taste that it had in 1971. I came here as a kid and all the time when I was growing up. The pizza is still amazing and the restaurant is still on only its third owner (the original Joe still owns the building). I relaxed and enjoyed my pizza and then headed home for the evening. It had been a nice afternoon in New Brunswick.

The pizza at Joe’s is excellent

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/698

Michigan State versus Rutgers in football at New Brunswick

Highlights from the football game

About a month later, I got an email from the Alumni Association that out basketball team would be playing at Madison Square Garden for the Champions Classic. We were playing University of Kansas (who was Number 3 at the time) and Duke would be playing University of Kentucky for the second game (Duke would end up having the best record). The event would be starting with an Alumni mixer and get together at Mustang Harry’s, a bar near FIT and just south of Madison Square Garden.

I had not planned on going into the City that night but since nothing had been planned, I decided to be the good Alumni and support the team at the Alumni mixer. I thought at least the Greater New York Alumni Association might have a nice buffet.

It ended up that when I got to Mustang Harry’s at 352 Seventh Avenue, I talked with the host who said that the Alumni Association was meeting upstairs. That ended up being the Parents of the Players get together. The woman organizing it invited me to stay and have dinner with them but I double checked downstairs to see if there was a formal get together. I talked with another Alum eating at the bar and he said no. They just met here to watch the game.

Mustang Harry’s at 352 Seventh Avenue

I decided to head upstairs again and join the players parents and ended up having some very nice conversations with members of the families whose sons played for the team. I got the insights not just on the kids careers through high school but many of the fathers had played college basketball (many of whom did not have careers after college).

The inside first floor of Mustang Harry’s

Even though the food is good here I felt it was an expensive rip off. I was not that hungry and I ordered a small plate of sliders and a Coke. With tip, the bill was about $28.00! For four little sliders that could have fit into a dollhouse and a Coke with a piece of lemon? I think that the restaurant gouges people during game day. They could have offered some specials. Also, they had one waiter working our whole section. I saw what looked like the manager bring my order up which took almost a half hour.

I had a nice time talking with the parent’s and decided to stay for the game. I had not been in Madison Square Garden since the Big Ten Championship a few years before. Most of the stadium was empty because most of the Duke and University of Kentucky Alumni waited until their game started after our game was over.

I have to say for such a young team we kept up with Kansas in the first half. At the half, we were 39-32 with Kansas just slightly ahead of us. We thought we could keep up which we did for most of the second half but then Kansas started hitting the three-point shots and we kept missing the baskets. The second half we were only outscored 48-42 but the difference of the points in each half was too much to overcome.

Still, I think this is a young team with a lot of promise and I know that they will do well in the future. They all have two or three years together as a team so when it plays in the future, they will know how to depend on each other.

Michigan State versus University of Kansas game at Madison Square Garden

We lost 87-74 but we held our own!

Go Green Go White!!!

Our Fight song!

Places to eat:

Joe’s Pizzeria

1938 Washington Valley Road

Martinsville, NJ 08836

(732) 469-3356

https://www.joespizzamartinsville.com/

https://www.facebook.com/joes.pizzeria.nj/

Open: Sunday 4:00pm-9:30pm/Monday-Saturday 11:00am-9:30pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g46604-d3395400-Reviews-Joe_s_Pizza-Martinsville_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/698

Mustang Harry’s

352 Seventh Avenue

New York, NY 10001

(212) 268-8930

https://www.facebook.com/mustangharrysnyc/

Open: Sunday 11:30am-10:00pm/Monday 11:30am-11:00pm/Tuesday -Saturday 11:30am-12:00am

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d478290-Reviews-Mustang_Harry_s-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Places to Visit:

SHI Stadium

1 Scarlet Knight Way

Piscataway, NJ 08854

(732) 932-4636

https://scarletknights.com/facilities/shi-stadium/2

Open: Check website for game days

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46736-d19255077-Reviews-Shi_Stadium-Piscataway_New_Jersey.html

Madison Square Garden

4 Pennsylvania Plaza

New York, NY 10001

(212) 465-6741

https://www.msg.com/madison-square-garden

Open: Check website for game days

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d275371-Reviews-Madison_Square_Garden-New_York_City_New_York.html