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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HAPPY ST. PATRICKS DAY PT. 3

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day to Larry Kirwan and Black 47 great Irish Americans and great New Yorker’s as well

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FREDDY SKILLS GONE WILD

 

When I turned on my computer this morning there was a e-mail from the New Yorker with a link to a story written by Jeffery Tobin about Freddy Skill Sets and the rise and fall of the Skill Sets financial world. There are quotes it seems from Bernie Madoff, that makes both Freddy and Uncle Saul look like a couple of patsies when it came to finances.

The real bombeshell though is Freddy’s take on some of players, these comments are sure to start a violent shit storm with the Mets fan base.

The piece is long and I’m going to read it now so here’s the link so you can get a gander of it for yourself. Sometime later this morning I’ll be back with some comments but from reading Mets Blog and Adam Rubin’s Mets Blog this morning, losing two of three to the Highlanders will be a fart in the wind after this story gets it fill of eyeballs.

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2010 OVER AND OUT

As if there is not enough snow here on Staten Island, my family has decided it would be good idea to go upstate NY for New Years Eve and the weekend to snow board and ski, two activity’s I will not be involved in. So I don’t know how much access I’ll have to a wi-fi hot spot so I’d like to wish everyone you comes to this site a very Happy New Year and more importantly an healthy and safe New Year.

I’m so glad that when I turned on the news this morning, that Times Square is clear of snow and that the million or so people can now enjoy standing in a area blocked off by NYPD barricades for the next 12-14 hours to watch a ball drop from a building.  As a life long New Yorker it stuns the shit out of me that people come from all over the world to do this. Once your in those pens, you can’t leave even to go to the bathroom. If you have a real bathroom emergency you have to hope there is a sympathetic cop guarding your holding pen to let you out to find a bathroom.

If you can’t make it to Times Square, you can always stop off downtown at the NYPD’s central booking station by the courts and have the same experience as those revelers in Times Square.

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REMEMBERING JOHN LENNON

Thirty years ago today, I was working in  computer operations for the defunct Manufactures Hanover Bank at 55 Water St on Manhattan. I was 22 years old and had the luxury of still living at home and spending most nights out running the streets on NYC. So when I got up on the morning of December 8th 1980 and went into the bathroom for a leak, shower and shave, I switched on the radio which was always set to 102.7 WNEW FM and heard Richard Neer talk about the DEATH of John Lennon, I thought I was still feeling the effects of the past evening.

Unfortunately it wasn’t. It was fact. John Lennon was gunned down in front of his Dakota Apartments home by a fucking lunatic . How could this happen? Lennon was not just a rock and roll icon, he was one of us, a New Yorker and not just any New Yorker but a guy who hung out at the downtown bars and rock clubs just like the rest of us.

It was the coolest thing about Lennon and Yoko, they never thought they were special, they just felt they were one of a few million folks who called the city home. They would walk into Max’s Kansas City and blend in.

It’s still kind of surreal when one night Lennon walked past a group of myself and my buddies,who were there to see the Von Lmo band, of which a couple of neighborhood guys played in, and as he past he looked at us and said “how are you lads”? What? did John Lennon just ask us how we’re doing? HOLY SHIT!!!!

John Lennon, gone but certainly not forgotten.

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JOIN ME TONIGHT AT 11PM ET FOR THIS CALL TO THE BULLPEN ON BLOGTALK RADIO

Last night on Pro Baseball Central, we had Brian Costa, Mets beat writer for the Newark Star-Ledger on as a guest and when I asked him how things were down in St. Lonesome, he felt bad about letting us know the weather is very Un-Florida like, temps in the upper 30’s and 40’s, as he knew as we were speaking,  we here in the NY Metro area were in the midst of a snowstorm.

I know it’s the “in” thing around these parts to bitch and moan about this awful winter weather and believe me I’ve had enough of this shit as much as the next irate New Yorker , but what gets me is the shock of some people that the month of February sucks, weather wise that is. It’s always sucked. It’s winter, we live in the Northeast get over it.

Speaking of last night’s PBC, in addition to Brian Costa, we also had John Delcos join us as well as Mike Henderson of Nationals Pride, who gave us some great insight into the Nationals and what to expect from the DC team this season. So while you’re vegetating during this “Snow-Acain” click on the to the podcast here at Kranepool  Society or at our page on Blog Talk Radio and sit back, relax and be entertained .

One more piece of news about myself and Blog Talk Radio. I’m putting together my own radio progam on the network called, THIS CALL TO THE BULLPEN, and the first episode will air tonight at 11PM ET. This will be like a test run and will run until 11:30PM but this Wednesday March 3rd,  I will do a full hour show  that will air live from 5PM to 6PM ET (when you first start a show on Blog Talk Radio your options are a bit narrow)

Whereas PRO BASEBALL CENTRAL is a Mets intensive show, THIS CALL TO THE BULLPEN will encompass all news and views from MLB and a smattering of other sports topics that are newsworthy. I also want to bring on bloggers and baseball writers from other teams to get a more broad view of the happenings  around MLB.  But a big part of what I want to do with THIS CALL TO THE BULLPEN, is to interview authors of baseball and other sports books along with folks at SABR who write outstanding essays in the various publications that SABR publishes.

I’ve received a lot of books and publications and after I read them, I find myself asking questions on how the subjects were researched and many more who, what, where and how’s.

I am in touch with many of these writers and bloggers and I’m putting together a guest list, so you can keep checking here at Kranepool Society for those announcements and if you’d like to be a guest on the show just drop me an e-mail at sinymets@aol.com

So if you’re up late tonight tune in and call in the call in number for THIS CALL TO THE BULLPEN is (646) 727-2465

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GREETINGS FROM THE HOUSE OF MOUSE

Just have a minutte here to say hi from Disney World. Saturday I listened to Angel Pagan hit that 8th inning granny that proved to be the game winner. I see last night Big Pelf was not on his game and tonight Nelly Figs is back and starting.

I see I struck a nerve with my Billy Joel comments but like I say his is not the kind of music I listen to and it’s pretty weak to plat th elast concert at Shea and be a New Yorker and give in to Phillyfans by wearing thier colors.

Speaking of Philly fans there were a lot of them in the Magic Kingdom all of them in thier new Phillies cap andnew shirts all bandwaggon jumpers.

Tons of Rays fans as you wouls suspect and many Cardinal fans but the biggest group here are the English soccer fans with Everton the team most fancy.

GTG later

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Tickets

The Mets are looking great this year and The Eddie Kranepool Society keeps you up to date on the good bad and the ugly. If you are looking for Mets Tickets, you must visit Coast To Coast Tickets for all your ticket needs. CTC carries MLB Tickets as well as some of the best priced Concert Tickets on the web and don't forget they also carry Yankees Tickets.

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