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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Is Terry Collins On A Short Leash ?

 

 

So let me start out by welcoming everyone back to the newly redesigned Eddie Kranepool Society and to wish you all a very happy and healthy 2013 and to give a big thanks to Joe McDonald for this fantastic new layout of the blog. I haven’t posted here in a few days as the holidays were very hectic in a good way by spending a lot of time with family and friends, so it was good to step away from the keyboard for a while.  

I didn’t step away from reading all the sports news though, even while we were getting set to head out for some New Year’s Eve revelry in the Pocono Mountains (it’s as far from the madding crowds of Time Square as you can get. I still don’t understand why people love to stand in the freezing cold to watch that ball drop, in fact I don’t know any native New Yorker who has ever ventured out there, but I digress) as my iPad was burning up with stories of 7 NFL coaches given their pink slips.  Some like Andy Reid in Philly and Lovie Smith in Chicago were very successful but they’re message was growing stale and it was time in the eyes of ownership to get a new voice and a new way of doing business in to run their teams.

Just a week before the Brooklyn Nets fired their head coach Avery Johnson, who just came off winning Coach of the Month honors. As puzzling as that is, how about Mike Brown of the Lakers getting the boot after 5 games this season? WHOA! Some owners mean business. Here is what Prokhorov had to say when he canned Johnson:  

“I think we have very talented players but they are capable of much more than what we have seen in the recent weeks,” Prokhorov said. “I respect Avery and really I wish him well, but sometimes chemistry just isn’t right. It happens.

“I think the main question is why we were unable to bounce back and to play like champions.”

I bring all these coaching changes up because as I sat in the sauna over the weekend (some sight eh?) I thought about Terry Collins and wondered just how long does he have to keep his job as Mets manager in 2013?

Oh I know what your muttering to yourself about my sanity and what an asshole I am (for some that was even before reading this post) I totally understand that the talent level of the Mets entering the 2013 season is not pennant race quality but before you flame away on me ask yourself this, “Has Terry Collins made a positive impact on this team” Sadly I say NO!

I have been a proponent of Collins from the day he was hired. I felt then and still do that Collins is an outstanding baseball instructor and he would make the Mets better fundamentally and more professional. I still think he is a top notch instructor but I feel he’s failed on the other two skill sets I felt he was bringing to the job. Not only that, it seems to me the Mets clubhouse is lacking in discipline as we have seen the last two seasons under Collins leadership the team has folded it’s tent after the All Star break.  The 2009 and 2010 version of the NY Mets gave up in the second halves of the seasons as well, and Jerry Manuel was run out of town, justifiably so. So what’s the difference between Terry Collins and Jerry Manuel?

Collins came to the Mets manager’s job with a soiled reputation as a non-communicator in his past three managerial jobs.  The stories out of Anaheim were about player revolt and in Houston; Collins Astros teams were involved in a civil war between hitters and pitchers. There have been rumblings about the Mets relievers feeling a disconnect between the manager, pitching coach and themselves.  

Collins lost me the night of September 20 th of last season when the Mets were destroyed by the Phillies at Citi Field by a score of 16-1 and visibly upset Collins sat for his post-game presser ready to explode, and when asked by Kevin Burkhardt if the team had quit, Collins deservedly threw them under the bus by telling Burkhart to go ask them. Word was many players were upset with the manager for hinting that the team had packed it in and instead of Collins challenging his detractors, he apologized. I took that as a sign of insecurity by the Mets skipper and he should have stuck to his guns as the team did respond to being called out by actually playing its best baseball of the second half in winning 7 of the next 8 games.

With every second half sleep walk defeat by the Mets, Collins would go into Rick Kotite mode in his post-game pow-wow to the point that it was offensive to me as a Mets fan. I was so tired of hearing that the team played hard and that Collins had seen some positives, all he did was make me think he still had Anaheim on his mind and was afraid to speak out and show anger thinking that media and fans would say he was melting down again.  

Collins enters 2013 without a contract extension and quite frankly I feel he’s only back for this coming season because the Skill Sets don’t want to pay two guys for the same job. When the season ended in 2012, I thought there was a chance that Collins would be re-assigned to either a front office position or back to where his strength is, working with minor leaguers, but Sandy Alderson has kept him on board for the coming season but for how much of the season?  Personnel aside, if the Mets start off badly and show the same listless way of playing baseball as they did in the last couple of second halves of the season, many Mets fans will get their wish of seeing Wally Backman manger the Mets . As Prokhorov said, “sometimes the chemistry just isn’t right, it happens”

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