Wednesday, February 11, 2009

510 Ignoring the Hood

510 Ignoring the 'Hood

"Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got til  it's gone..."  --Joni Mitchell

In the song, they "...paved paradise and put up a parking lot." Is not always true.  Sometimes, the parking lot's an improvement. Take Moote Pointe, NY where they elevated the railroad tracks and put up a parking lot.  Now, they you don't have wait 20 minutes while the railroad crossing gates bounce up an down, keeping the light red.  You can get to the train without waiting forever when heading for the station.

Sometimes a parking lot's an improvement.  Sometimes, you don't realize what you have.

The first house was at 711 Walton Avenue. That's in the deep south.  The deep south Bronx, that is.  It is 43 seconds from the front door to Yankee Stadium, on foot.  Did any of us ever make the trek?  No.  Forty three seconds away from Mantle and DiMaggio, and no one cared.  Forty three seconds to the House that Ruth Built.  Did anyone go?  No.  Fifty cents for a seat in the bleachers.  Did anyone go?  No.

Now, they're building a new stadium.  It's a couple of hundred feet farther than the original. Will anyone from the neighborhood go?  Unlikely.

The second house was at 49-09 41st Street, in Queens, five minutes away from some of the great factories of the postwar era.  CN disinfectant, Swingline Staplers, Amcan Fancy Feathers, Eagle Electric, Bordon's Milk, Executone, Bryers Ice Cream, Sunshine Biscuits, Chicklets Chewing Gum, Silvercup Bread, Sweetheart Soap.  Did anyone go?  Only us kids.  We had no toys, so we played with the junk these factories threw out on the street during the war.  But the grownups?  Nah.  What did they know?

All that's gone now except the feather factory and the company that made electric switches.

We brats knew what we had.  The "grownups" didn't have a clue.

Lot of parking in the south Bronx now.  And in Long Island City.

Mr. Steinberg's Shell Station and two story parking lot's now a Korean church.

Executone's  building  now is "LaGuardia Community College."

Swingline now is a bunch of little workshops that produce ... nothing worth noting.  Borden's and CN are long gone.
Back in the Bronx, the Stadium is coming down, making way for a brand new ballpark, one that will be priced over the heads of the people on Walton Avenue.

But those of us who could walk to the stadium, or to Amcan or Eagle or CN or Chiclets, never realized what we had, and what we don't have now.

Want to take a stroll to the Stadium:?  Nah.  No one who's real can afford even a bleacher seat.  Plus there are no more Mantles or DiMaggios.  Watch it on TV instead.


--A-Rod is Alice in Wonderland.  He falls down a rabbit hole and encounters a syringe with a note, "inject me."  So he does, not knowing what's in the needle and he grows 10 feet tall just like Alice, and hits a zillion home runs as a result.

--Would DiMag do the same?  Hell, no.  He'd look at the syringe and the table and say "siete della vostra mente?  Quello stuff omocidio  
dis."  Or "Are you out of your mind?  That stuff's murder."

--Not even the Red Sox would have gone for this junk in those days.  But that was before Alex Rodriguez.  And it was years after George W. Bush ran the Texas Rangers baseball team.

I'm Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.®
©WJR 2009

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