Those Were The Days: Growing Up In NYC In The Ed Koch Era

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The Good Old Days

To say Ed Koch was the quintessential New Yorker would be a huge understatement. Everything about Koch was New York, his accent, his brashness and his combative style all New York. Sadly those of us of certain age see that kind of New Yorker fading away.

The New York of the Koch era was one of the most exciting times the city ever witnessed, good and bad. I was 20 years old when Koch took office, working for Salomon Brothers a pretty big financial institution at the time, headed by a flashy trader named Mike Bloomberg, in fact I worked in the computer room at 1 NY Plaza. On some weekends I’d come in to do an overtime shift where I’d stay out all night, mostly in the East Village at Max’s Kansas City, and head to work and grab a two hour nap on some big executives leather couch until one of my shift mates would wake me up, but I digress. The Koch Era was the last of the gritty, nasty days of New York. I’m just glad I grew up then.

I laugh when I see folks get on the subway and anoint themselves with loads of hand sanitizer, I think of the days of subway trains decked out in graffiti and who knows what else. With all the uproar over gun control and curbing of violence, how about growing up in an age where 2,000 murders were the norm and riding the subway after 10PM meant you had better be armed with some sort of weapon to survive the trip. I get a real kick out of going to Time Square with my kids to go to the theater and look around at the Disney-facation of the area. It’s kind of hard to articulate this without sounding like a complete asshole, but I do miss a lot of the nastiness and out right debauchery of the old 40 Duce.

 

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I guess it’s because there were no big wave of tourists coming to see the sites and the neighborhoods were still full of neighborhood people. I grew up on a block in Brooklyn where everyone on the block knew everyone. During the summer you could hear the TV’s blasting Mets games and Highlander games on to the streets with the familiar cry of “Yo Whad’s da Score??? “ . The moms and grandmas would take their folding chairs outside to sit in front of the house or under a tree after the chores of the day were done. Kids played in the street all day and night. That was New York. That was the New York that Ed Koch governed and governed so well because he was one of us. Koch would tell a heckler to “shut the hell up” and it was fine because hey that’s what we do, when Bloomberg does it, we say, “look at this little pampered prick, who does he think he is”? It’s not just the fact that Bloomy is out of touch with his constituents because he’s a rich guy, it’s also because he’s not one of us, he wasn’t born here didn’t grow up here and that makes all the difference.

I think about all the hot dogs and orangeades I devoured as kid at the stand at the 42 St Subway station while transferring  from the Sea Beach line (N train) to the IRT Flushing Line (7 train) to  get to Wiilets Pt/Shea Stadium. I doubt that stand would have gotten an “A” rating back then. Same with Dave’s Luncheonette that was on Canal and Broadway where you could get a hot dog in a natural casing (great crunch) a knish and a chocolate egg cream at 3 in the morning. That’s all gone and sadly a whole generation has missed out on what gives New Yorkers such a hard shell.

Sorry for the old guy trip down memory lane but with Ed Koch passing away yesterday it just conjured up so many memories of the era where this city was unruly and imaginative, filthy and cutting edge, menacing and remarkable. Just like Ed Koch I am and always will be a proud New Yorker.

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GOTTA GO GET SOME ROCK SALT

First off congratualtions to the St Lousi Cardinals for winning their 11th World Series in franchise history. Some folks on Twitter can’t understand why I was rooting for the Cards to win this Series. With the exception of 2008 and 2009 when I just couldn’t bring myself to rally for the Phuck Phaces (in 2009 I abstained from rooting as much as I hate the Phuck Phaces, rooting for the Bronx Bastards would be a mortal sin) I always support the NL and I’ll say this the Senior Circuit has won the last 4 of 6 World Series.

Now that the World Series is over and we are getting out our snow shovels (WHAT?) it’s time for the Hot Stove to rev up and of course the first order of business will be the signing or non-signing of Jose Reyes. Sandy Alderson will handle the negotiation with the team coming first and the fan base second. For those of you who clamor for Reyes back at any price, haven’t we gone down that road of destruction too many times in Flushing ? The days of winning the tabloid back pages in the winter are over. Of course I want to see Reyes back as the Mets shortstop but not at a ridiculous price. I’m more concerned about the years than I am the money. Four years, I’m fine with five would have to be an option with incentives; six would be thank you for your years of service Jose.

The Highlanders were smart to sign a 1 year extension with WCBS 880 for the rights to broadcast their games on radio. The Met deal on WFAN is up after this season and I’d bet anything that WFAN wants those Highlander games badly.  That’s fine by me as that would then conclude me from being a WFAN listener ever again. As it is now, I turn on the station out of boredom or just tired of listening to music at work.

If I were the owner of a MLB team I’d be pissed with Bud Selig today as he stated the deadbeat Skill Sets have not paid off their $25 mil loan to MLB. I wonder what Frank McCourt has to say about that. Call it BuddyCare.

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OUT THE DOOR POST

Yesterday was a triple header day of baseball for me.  First my Babe Ruth League played a double header, yes that’s right a DOUBLE HEADER during a heat wave. We started at 8:30 AM and we finished up at 1PM winning the first game 7-6 and playing the second game to a 4-4 tie that was called due the heat after 7 innings the regulation amount of innings for Babe Ruth baseball. After a nice cool shower and lounging in air conditioning while watching the Highlanders-A’s contest from the Bronx (I muted the TV as it was Michael Kay and Paul O’Neil  doing the game and radio for Highlander games is not a option and besides I think I have a pretty good handle on the game of baseball that I really don’t need to hear the commentators unless of course it’s our own GK & R) I headed to St George for the SI Highlanders v. Tri City Cats of the Houston Astro organization. It was Boy Scout night so this was more a social call than an actual sitting and critiquing a baseball game .

So even with that I still woke up early enough to watch a replay of last nights Mets-Fish game . I think it safe to say Terry Collins went a bit to far with Chris Capuano. It looks like once you get to the third time around the lineup for Capuano, he falls apart. It will be interesting to see how Collins handles Cap in his next start as he he gets to the third at bats in the opposing line up.

Jason Bay looks like a boxer who looks toward his corner during a fight he knows he doesn’t want any more of. It’s like he wants Terry Collins to throw the towel on the field to end his season of futility. Making things worse for Bay is Lucas Duda is on fire and really needs to get into the lineup.

Maybe all this farewell to Beltran is a bit premature. What if Alderson doesn’t like the prospects offered to him for trade and says “Fuck it” and keeps Beltran for the rest of the season? Who you be surprised?

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WELCOME BACK R.A. DICKEY

A few observations on last night Mets win over the NY Highlanders:

Reports of the demise of R.A. Dickey and his knuckleball have been greatly exaggerated. The Dickster was spot on with his Dance of the Sphere With 108 Stitches, that floated through the Bronx night. The Highlanders got to R.A. for one run, on a home run by Mark Texiera that just nudge itself over the right field wall of Cheap Knock Off Stadium.  At Citi Field, Ruben Tejada gets a P4 in the score book on that bloop.

I haven’t watched many Highlander games this season but after watching them last night, my question to Highlander fans is “do they always look this feeble”?

If you thought I was a Terry Collins fanboy, how about the Mets TV announcing team? Gary, Keith, Ron and Bobby O were gushing about the job that TC has done with this team. If you’re still not convinced that this team is in tune with the manager, then how about this. Last week after a Mets win, in his post game presser, Collins out of the blue singled out the struggling Josh Thole for a great job he did behind the plate and for some great at bats. Last night when Kevin Burkhardt spoke to Daniel Murphy after the game and wanted to know about the HR he hit that proved to be the game winner, all Murph wanted to talk about was the outstanding job Dickey and the bullpen did. The Mets are starting to take on the manager’s personality.

All this Rapture, end of the world talk we’ve been hearing is pure bullshit. Nothing will happen until Justin Turner says it happens.

After watching Jose Reyes last night all I kept think was the Skill Sets better sell whatever else the own to raise money to keep Jose. If that means selling all their homes, cars and boats and moving into the Queensbridge Houses, then so be it.

Frankie Rodriguez has been so good so far this season that I only eat two Tums and one teaspoon of Maalox when he comes into a game .

The one big drawback tonight is the game is on FOX

Felt bad for F-Mart and Ruben Tejada last night as they were disrespected   by home plate ump Tim Timmons last night. F-Mart motioned to Timmons for time as Freddy Garcia went into slow down mode in the 7th and his request was denied and a strike was called as Garcia threw a pitch after Martinez stepped out of the box. Timmons then called a third strike on Tejada in the 9th inning to halt the Mets attempt  to get an insurance run.

 

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DEAR MAINSTREAM MEDIA, KISS MY BLUE AND ORANGE ASS!

A little Irish greeting to all the  Mets critics on the eve of St Patrick’s Day

There have been some stories the last few days from the dead media (a/k/a newspapers) about ticket sales at Citi Field for single game tickets not being particularly brisk. These newspapers wasted time and money to send reporters to Citi Field to see if anyone was buying Mets tickets. The reporters were SHOCKED that weren’t lines snaking around 126th street with fans holding fists full of cash clamoring for Mets tickets.

The story in this case was not the dearth of ticket buyers at Citi, instead it should have been WHY would people go to Citi to buy tickets? Back before we were unable to “fire through the internet” going to Shea Stadium for ticket day was a happening for some. People enjoyed sleeping in front of Shea to get tickets while freezing and peeing into bottles just for a shot at opening day, Highlander games and gym bag day, I was never one of that ilk.  Back then I’d rather pay a premium for a ticket while sleeping nice and cozy in my own bed, but to each his own.

Why would anyone schlep to Citi for tickets when you can turn on a computer, pick the game you want and print the ticket yourself (yes the $2.50 fee to use your own printer and your own ink is total bullshit)

There just seems to be a MSM conspiracy to kill the Mets any way they can. There are some who follow the team that really hate their job (I’m looking straight at you Andy Martino) and just really hate the Mets (That would be you Klap) that anything they say or write about the team I ignore.

The Mets don’t do enough to fight the perception that they are inept in all facets of the baseball business but most media and general baseball fans that belittle the Mets are out and out assholes. I put them in the same category of people who now participate in the new sport of bashing union workers especially government workers because they think our medical and pension benefits are bankrupting the country. We union workers wish we were living as well as you think we are, the folks who are raping this country’s economy run the financial intuitions that most of our critics work in. But I digress.

Our Mets are far from perfect but we are not a disaster the club is portrayed as.  Yes the owner has fucked up something awful and the financial where with all that the club has enjoyed for years is gone but I bet if the Skill Sets put the For Sale sign up at Citi Field then you’d really see a line forming around Citi Field.

This will all come to a head soon as the Skill Sets will either survive paying off the Madoff trust with either enough dough to keep the Mets or they will get cleaned out where they have to sell the club, SNY and Citi Field to pay off the lawsuit but you what it doesn’t matter to us we’re “Webees” We be here when the Skill Sets got here and We be here when they’re gone.  Mets fans are the one constant in Flushing. As have been and always will.

If it’s the Skill Sets who keep the team or a new owner for the club, there needs to be a plan to fight the negative perception that follows the organization. Does anyone in the Mets front office get pissed off as the fans do? I hope with the new front office this would change because it really bugs the shit out me that the Mets fans, bloggers and Tweeters are the only ones with the guts to fight this perception.

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W.W.G.H.D. WHAT WOULD GIL HODGES DO?

 

 

Trying hard to put up a post today as I replay a tough loss over and over in my mind, no not the All Star Game, I gave up on that at 10PM when RESCUE ME came on, no I’m talking about my Babe Ruth team losing 8-0 to the top seed last night.

Don’t let the score fool you it was a closer game than that. We had one bad inning (the 3rd) letting in 4 runs on a couple of errors and a some solid base hits. But the biggest obstacle was the pitcher we were facing a 13 year old with a big time yellow hammer that buckled my guys knees. We could only muster two hits on the night and three base runners total (my son accounting for two of the base runners with a walk, reaching first on a strike out/passed ball and two stolen bases) and now we face an elimination game on Sunday. Not much to say to the kids but “Hang with ‘em.

After the game we went home to watch the All Star Game and the first thing my son told me was “Dad, let’s get all the when I was a kid stuff out early so we can just watch the game” I guess like how the All Star Game was played during the day and how the two leagues played the game like it was a World Series game and how the NL had all the stars and always won and because of that the AL couldn’t draw fans so they sullied the sport with the DH, and how I miss Curt Gowdy calling the big games and that’s when I get the hand and “that’s enough old timer” and I quiet down.

I was listening to Joe (Bada Bing Bada Boom) Beningno and Evan Roberts yesterday and I agree with Joe that there is so much baseball available for us to watch that the All Star Game is no big deal, as it used to be a chance for fans to see players they never get to see much but with the Extra Innings package and ESPN and MLB Network and Mets and Highlander games on every night there isn’t a team or a player I haven’t seen add in that there is no more rivalry between the NL and AL with so much player movement and the fact that both leagues are not run as separate entities (remember when there were League Presidents ?) That has made the All Star Game hum drum.

Admit it you were hoping that President Obama would have brought Artie Lang with him to the game to hang with Doofus Joe Buck. Now that would have been riveting TV.

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Tickets

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