Royalty Tours USA

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Royal Birthday Celebration for the Prince!

Prince at the Pavilion
After I got out of work Friday night it was time to start the royal celebration.

I met my parents in Astoria where I now live and we went out for dinner at Romano's Famous Pizza and Gyro. They serve Greek cuisine. It was a great way to reunite with my parents and I got to have a nice meal too.

Afterwards I went home to rest up for the busy weekend I had lined up.

I got up Saturday morning which was my birthday and I took public transportation out to where I used to live so I could go to Avis to pick up a car for the weekend. I did get treated to some royal treatment as the MTA didn't let me wait too long for the buses and trains I needed to take in order to get there.

I wound up renting a Crown Victoria which had plenty of room. I got in touch with my pal Eddie Pelle who was on his way to the Philadelphia area via public transportation from Long Island. He was also going to Villanova, Pennsylvania to see the Wildcats play the Cincinnati Bearcats in a college basketball game. The King and I were doing the same.

I called Eddie when I got into the car. He said he was in Queens so I arranged to meet him after I went back home to pick up the King. It worked out well as we got him by the entrance to the Queensboro Bridge and away we went.

We arrived in Villanova around 1:40PM which gave us enough time to get ready for the 2PM tip off.
We also met up with Andrew Van Cleve aka the Ultimate Sports Fan and his son Dylan aka the Ultimate Sports Baby.

I love seeing the "USB" if you will. He's adorable and he's getting so big.

Ironically we were all visiting the Pavilion, which is the home of the Villanova Wildcats' basketball team on campus for the first time. They play a handful of games there. They play the rest at the Wells Fargo Center where the Flyers and 76ers play.

It was a thrill to finally see a game there. It was very intimate since it only holds 6,500 people. The seating area is comprised of mainly benches that are very close to the action.

As for the game we saw, it was a competitive one right throughout. The Wildcats who are having a bad season wound up coming up short as the Bearcats of Cincinnati beat them, 72-68.

After the game, we said goodbye to Andrew and Dylan. They went home. Eddie, the King and I continued on to Washington DC where we went to see the Wizards play the Cavaliers at 7PM.

We stopped off in Baltimore first so we could pick up our friends Peter and Carmen Agnew. We got them just after 6PM. Thankfully Peter had a parking pass for the garage that's connected to the Verizon Center since we had no margin for error as we arrived right at game time. In addition, Peter arranged to get us all free tickets for the game. He always asks us to come down so I looked at the schedule once the lockout ended and this was the perfect time to go there.

As for the game we saw, the Wizards they've had a horrible season so far but on this night they found a way to win, 101-98. It worked out well for our friend Eddie who said this was the first time he had ever seen the Wizards win live. I was glad to help arrange for him to join us.

After the game, we drove Peter and Carmen back home. They live right near Looney's Pub, where we went to get a late dinner since we were all very hungry. The burger and chicken wings we had we tremendous as usual.

After we ate we dropped Eddie off at the Amtrak station because he wanted to get back home to see some college basketball in NYC on Sunday.

The King and I drove 30 miles to Aberdeen to Super 8 where we spent the night. We arrived there around 2:30AM.

We got some sleep then we got up in the morning and we drove back to Baltimore to have breakfast with Peter and Carmen at another of our favorite eateries in the area, Eichenkranz Restaurant which is located in a local neighborhood.

We were served by Rose, who loved my accent. Needless to say, the food, the service and the company were priceless and well worth driving the extra miles for.

After we parted ways with Peter and Carmen, we headed towards Philadelphia where we were seeing the 76ers play the Bulls at 7PM.

Since we had plenty of time to kill, we decided to stop off at the Hollywood Casino which was conveniently on the way in Perryville, Maryland off exit 93 on I-95.

We spent a few hours there pressing our luck on the slot machines. I had some luck but the King didn't. Regardless it was entertaining experience.

We got back in the car and we drove to the City of Brotherly Love. We arrived there around 4:30PM. It worked out well because we got to meet up with our friend Rich Wolber aka Staten Island Rich who took a Chinese bus from NYC to join us for the 76er game. We went to the bus terminal and we picked him up.

On the way to the Wells Fargo Center, we stopped off at the Oregon Diner to have dinner before the game.
I thoroughly enjoyed my meal there. You can't beat the value you get there. I had broiled flounder with crab meat stuffing which came with two sides and a small cup of soup along with rolls and cornbread for a mere $9.99. They have a nice variety of food items for that price that they offer everyday.

After I stuffed my belly, we drove over to the arena which is right nearby.

We met up with our friend Frankie Centola who got us tickets for the 76er game. We also were joined by Andrew Van Cleve who got a ticket outside on the lower level from a buddy of Joakim Noah, who plays center for the Bulls.

At halftime, I got a royal upgrade as I went down to sit with Andrew who had a few empty seats by him.
As for the game we saw, the 76ers led into the fourth quarter but the Bulls led by their superstar guard Derrick Rose who had 35 points and 8 assists held off a late 76er push to win 96-91. Joakim Noah had 11 points and 18 rebounds to help the cause.

After the game, I drove Rich back home to Staten Island. I got him back just before midnight. I proceeded to drive the King to work at the Post Office at Grand Central Station. I got him there at 12:40AM so he had plenty of time to relax and unwind since he starts at 2AM.

I finally arrived home just before 1AM. I went to sleep and I returned the car in the morning.

I want to thank everybody who remembered my special day. I had a blast all weekend long.

Thank you for reading and following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

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