Saturday, March 14, 2009


In the recent past I have attended quite a few "Big East Basketball" tournaments held each March at Madison Square Garden in New York City. My friend John and I are big "college hoops" fans. John attended Georgetown and I graduated from the University of Connecticut; both teams are in the "Big East Conference".

We rent a different hotel room each trip. One hotel in particular was very memorable. I remember this room as the New York City "dark room". This hotel was located about four or five blocks from Madison Square Garden so we had a short walk each day for the basketball tournament. Being a moderate sized hotel, the building was surrounded by taller buildings on both sides as well as the back of the hotel. We checked into the motel after taking the train from Providence, Rhode Island down to Penn Station which is located underneath Madison Square Garden.

The front desk attendant handed us our keys. We were assigned a room on the first floor in the back of the motel. The first floor location was convenient as we didn't have to wait for the elevator when coming and going to our room. However, when we opened the door for the first time, we were greeted with an overwhelming smell of musty, mildew laden air. The room had a double bed and a sofa bed, a small black and white television and a bathroom. John took the double bed and I slept in the sofa bed. We didn't bother to ask the front desk for a room change as we figured that we wouldn't be in the room that much as each of the first two days of the basketball tournament featured two sets of double header basketball games. After a while our noses almost got used to the overpowering room smell.

After settling into the room we went out to dinner and returned to get ready the first games of the tournament. The first game featured Georgetown at noon and John wanted to make sure we got there on time as John is an alumnus and fan. We didn't bother to ask for a wake-up from the front desk as we figured the light from the window would wake is up.

We turned off the room lights and went to sleep. After quite a long time sleeping it seemed like a very long night as the room was still pitch black after spending hours and hours in our beds. We both were wondering when the morning was going to come and lighten up the room. I finally got out of bed and went over to my wrist watch and said "Hey John, You won't believe what time it is. It is 11:30."

We both took quick showers and jogged over to Madison Square Garden in time to see the last few minutes of the first half. Due to the lack of light ever reaching this moldy, mildew smelling room, John missed quite a bit of seeing his favorite team. This "dark room" of perpetual night would have been better used for growing mushrooms.