The folks who published the AAA 2008 New York Tour Book had a hard time recommending any hotels in the Bronx. They could only find one, in fact, a rather bland-looking Howard Johnson a mile north of Yankee Stadium and hard by a service road to the Major Deegan Expressway.
Hey, the hotel fared better than restaurants, since the guide does not list a single place to eat in the Bronx. As far as the AAA guide goes, Arthur Avenue, Morris Park Avenue or City Island do not exist.
It is an odd distinction for that lone hotel, a Howard Johnson of no particular architectural distinction. And given the borough’s long battles against hot sheet motels that rent rooms by the hour, a casual observer might assume this place was no different.
It is a real hotel catering to real tourists. One day last week, the parking lot was filled with cars from out of state, most belonging to guests who had come to see the Yankees play Cleveland. Retirees from Oklahoma and families from upstate New York eagerly hauled suitcases upstairs as they prepared to change into baseball jerseys and take in a game.
Chadd Morris and Brandon Bebout had driven eight hours from Cleveland to score game tickets. They asked a local police officer for the location of the nearest hotel and were directed to the HoJo.
“We got to New York with no idea where we were going to stay,” Mr. Morris said. “I had heard negatives and positives about the Bronx. We’ll see what happens.”
Negatives? In the Bronx?
“People said we couldn’t wear Indians stuff in New York,” he said. “But Yankee fans wear their stuff in our field, so we’ll try that here.”
The hotel itself has Yankee pinstripe wallpaper in the lobby and a breakfast nook dominated by a photo mural of the stadium. The rooms and windows are tiny, but clean and well appointed, with wi-fi access (and plasma screen televisions coming soon, too). A southbound highway ramp is nearby. The garage even has a waiting area labeled “High Class Passenger Pick Up and Drop Off.”
O.K., “High Class” is not (necessarily) referring to the passengers, but to High Class Bronx, a livery cab service that takes guests to the stadium or back and forth to the subway.
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