April 29, 2013
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NEW YORK — After two sold-out home games and a road win in Virginia, the Iowa spirit squad took its show to New York for the NIT Championship.
The trip started with a plane ride with the team, coaches and administrators. Landing in New Jersey and taking the Lincoln Tunnel under the water to the New Yorker Hotel. A hotel among hundreds of skyscrapers. The hotel was located one block from Madison Square Garden where the games would take place and eight blocks from Times Square.
The second ay brought a free day for the spirit squad and pep band members to explore New York City. Starting with a visit to the Today show and for some, a visit to the top of the Empire State Building.
Figuring out the subway system was the next task to get around, Downtown literally meant down on the map and Uptown meant toward the top of the map. Many went to see the 9-11 Memorial, an emotional site. A walk to the pier revealed a view of the Statue of Liberty (still closed from Hurricane Sandy). A short walk uptown brought a visit to Chinatown, with its unique food options and sales opportunities and just on the other side of that was Little Italy and a break for food.
Another popular stop was Central Park. It has a variety of terrains, a pond, baseball diamonds, miles of trails and an ice skating rink. The park has been seen in hundreds of movies and television shows. The evening brought a variety of food options, from steaks on Times Square to New York-style pizza, Asian buffets and even White Castle for a late-night snack.
Game day brought Hawkeye fans from all over. The Hawkeye Hoops Huddle took place at the New Yorker. The spirit squads and pep band performed to a packed house getting Hawkeye fans ready for a fun night. From there, they headed to Madison Square Garden for a night filled with electricity and a Hawkeye win over Maryland.
The next day brought another opportunity to explore New York. Some visited Times Square, Macy’s and the Fashion Quarter to shop. Others took the subway to the Brooklyn Bridge. A few were able to secure tickets to see David Letterman or see a Broadway show on Broadway. That night, the group split to two Major League ballparks, half went to see the Yankees, while the other half went to see the Mets. A chilly night for baseball, but a fun night for all.
With the Hawkeyes in the NIT Championship game, even more Hawkeyes made their way to New York. Another Hawkeye Hoops Huddle was hosted at the New Yorker this time in a larger ballroom.
This time on the way over to Madison Square Garden the Iowa cheerleaders ran their large ‘I’ and Tigerhawks all the way from the hotel as the Iowa Pep Band played the Iowa Fight Song. The Hawkeye fans took up about half of Madison Square Garden and were extremely loud throughout the night.
After the game, a quick stop at the hotel to pick up luggage and then off to the airport for security sweep before boarding the plane. A late night trip back to Eastern Iowa Airport and then on to Iowa City.
The trip was great and offered everyone a chance to experience something they may have never had the chance to see. The whole NIT tournament gave Hawkeye fans a glimpse at the future of Iowa basketball.