Jewish vibe ever-present at US Open

If the 800 hot dogs sold on Day 1 of the US Open is an indicator, it is going to be a great two weeks in Queens.

August 31, 2017 00:29
2 minute read.
Israeli kids at the US Open in New York

Kids at US open. (photo credit: Howard Blas)


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NEW YORK – Day 2 at the US Open featured suspension of play for rain and ultimately cancellation of all matches not taking place in Arthur Ashe Stadium, with its retractable roof.

Still, the rain didn’t stop the crowd from braving lines of twenty minutes or more at the Kosher Grill.

“I’ll wait five minutes then move on!” said Adriana of Westchester who clearly waited much longer for a sausage- and-peppers sandwich.

“A classic move!” she noted.

Sarah and Moshe, a religious couple from Riverdale, hosting Israeli relatives, braved the line for two pretzels and three pastrami sandwiches.

Clearly not everyone in line was there for the kosher food.

“There is the perception that kosher meat is better meat,” noted one patron.

He very well may be right. Jon Katz, of Englewood, New Jersey, operates Kosher Grill every day but Shabbat at the US Open. He began serving kosher food in 2003 at New York Giants football games. He then went on to found Kosher Sports Inc., which operates concession stands at professional sporting events in many cities in the United States.

Katz, who worked on the New York Stock Exchange before starting in the kosher food business, is now a partner in NY Brat Factory on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, and serves homemade hot dogs and sausages, in addition to steak, pastrami, wraps, pretzels, cold beer and more on the grounds at Flushing Meadows.

If the 800 hot dogs sold on Day 1 of the US Open is an indicator, it is going to be a great two weeks in Queens.

Inside Arthur Ashe, fans were treated to tournament top seed Rafael Nadal battling Dusan Lajovic of Serbia.

After a bit of a scare in the 64 minute first set, Nadal went on to easily win in straight sets.

While Nadal has historically denied rumors that his family may descend from Spanish Conversos, one orthodox Jewish ball boy was close enough to Rafa throughout the match to hand him tennis balls, towels and (theoretically) tip his kippa to the victor.

This ball boy is no boy – he appears to be in his 30s and has been working big-court matches for many years.

Other ball persons go bareheaded or wear Ralph Lauren baseball hats. This proud Jewish man prefers to be on court with his black suede yarmulke.

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