3. Inconvenience. As stated previously, the US Open site is in the middle of a dreadful slum in Queens. Queens is such an armpit that Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith joked about it in the movie Men In Black. There are no decent hotels in Queens, so the players, staff, and contractors have to stay downtown in Manhattan. Players schlep out to the site every day in big Greyhound-like buses. Seeded players can get a ride in a tournament car. At any other of the Grand Slam tournaments, anyone with a credential can get a ride in the tournament cars, as long as they’re on official business. But not at the US Hopeless. At the US Open, the car transportation is run by a guy whose job 50 weeks a year is interviewing interns at the USTA office in White Plains. I doubt he’s ever even seen a tennis tournament other than the US Open. Maybe on TV.
A few tournament contractors (like me) and a few tournament players choose to stay at the crappy hotels in Queens, just to avoid the exhausting daily commute from the city. The referee staff, for example, who are often the last to leave the site at night, stay at the Crowne Plaza La Guardia, which isn’t too bad a place, as long as you do not go outside the hotel unarmed. A bunch of the food & beverage workers stay at the Holiday Inn at Shea, which symbolically and ironically was built as a NY State insane asylum in the 50s, then fell into disrepair, was condemned & abandoned, and finally was bought up and renovated by Ramada in the mid-1990s.
Check out the movie “Kiss of Death”, with David Caruso and Nicholas Cage. It’s about an ex-con who lives in the slums of New York, who is trying to rise above his wretched surroundings, go straight, and make a life for himself and his family. It was filmed across the street from the US Open site. The producers wanted a hopeless, lifeless, polluted, noisy, awful place, so they filmed it across the street from the US Open stadium.