We’re heading off to Loge13 for tonight’s Mets-Cards game. Then we’re taking off for an extended weekend. There probably will be no site updates for a few days.
Until the next update, here is one of the all-time classic between-inning pastimes at Shea – The Curly Shuffle:
One of our favorite Shea memories: when The Curly Shuffle played on DiamondVision, Keith Hernandez rarely warmed up the infield. Instead, he’d watch the screen, and probably sang along too. We can’t be sure. No one could hear Keith over 50,000 fans yelling “Hey Moe! Hey Moe!” They don’t write ‘em like that anymore.
Yesterday, we wrote about the battle in Willets Point over the land across the street from Shea.
Here is the city’s Web site, detailing what it is calling THE WILLETS POINT PROJECT. There is a detailed map of what type of buildings and businesses will exist in the redevloped area:
From what I understand, building a school is mandatory in order to take over the land and re-zone the area for mixed-use.
Yesterday, we posted an item about Metphistopheles, a friend of the Faith and Fear guys who returned to Shea for the first time in almost 20 years and shared his observations in his blog.
Following up on the theme of revisiting Shea after years away, here’s a nice note from Loge13 reader Bob, along with some photos. Enjoy.
I left New York City in 1984 just as the Mets were beginning their rebirth. I watched from afar as they became the scourge of the National League, and managed to attend a game at Shea in 1986 on a visit to the city. They were playing the Astros, and beat Nolan Ryan (an omen for that year's NLCS!)
But my allegiance began to fade as the years rolled by, and I didn't return to Shea until July 1998. I decided to take in a game during a trip to NYC, and was astounded to pay $9 for a ticket that once cost me $1.30. All the grandstand seats that used to be unreserved were now assigned seating. The soothing organ tunes of Jane Jarvis were replaced by blaring recorded music, the Diamond Vision was constantly providing visual and aural stimulation. I was no longer allowed any time to just chill out at the ballpark, think about the inning that just happened, and ponder the inning to come.
It made me realize my youth was gone, but at least Shea was still there. It had changed a bit over the years - seats behind the outfield fence, the Big Apple that popped up after a Mets home run, and a few other modifications. But at heart it was still the same place where I watched Seaver, Agee, Cleon and the others thrill millions of fans. I took these photos that day.
Most likely, that was the last game I ever will see at Shea. When the stadium is leveled and the debris carted away, will anything mark the spot? Or will there simply be parking spaces over the places where Swoboda saved Game 4 of the World Series, and Seaver almost pitched a perfect game against the Cubs, and Bud Harrelson got into a fight with Pete Rose in the '73 playoffs?
Baseball doesn't always honor its past. In San Francisco, where I later lived, there is no marker or memorial at all - none - to let people know that Seals Stadium used to stand where there is today a supermarket. Joe DiMaggio and Willie Mays roamed center field there, but nobody has bothered to honor that. Will the same happen to Shea?
Thanks Bob. It’s odd to see the parking lot again beyond the outfield walls.
In a rain-shortened game, the Mets beat the Cardinals 2–0 Wednesday night, overcoming two rain delays, a heat wave, rolling power outages throughout the city and ongoing power outages at the plate.
Congrats to Tom Glavine, who earned his 297th win.
The Mets managed only 2 hits against Anthony Reyes, who was 0–9 coming into the game. But david Wright’s 13th home run of the year was all the Mets needed to beat the Cards for the second time this series.
Tonight it is El Duque vs. Wainwright. We hope to be in Loge13, with kids in tow. However, the weather reports are not encouraging.
Meanwhile, today is the last day of All-Star voting. Post your ballots early and often.
The area of Willets Point across the street from Shea is known as thr Iron Triangle. If you’ve never been there, here’s what you’re missing:
For a drive-through the neighborhood with “Drinking with Bob,” check out this earlier post.
It may not be pretty but the Iron Triangle is home to 250, mostly family-owned businesses. Trash removal, auto body shops – it’s all here. And most stores have been here for generations.
And for generations, New York City has tried to remove these businesses. Without success. NYC has denied the region services, so there are no paved streets, no sewage system, no proper trash removal. Yet it survives, mainly because these businesses do legitmate business.
But the Iron Triangle’s days may be numbered. In May, Mayor Bloomberg introduced a plan to revamp the area. This week’s City Limits has an excellent story on the status of the plan. The plight of the Iron Triangle is a great side story to the Citi Field saga.
The situation is a bit confusing. Here’s a breakdown, culled from the story
- A new plan for redevelopment of the area unveiled in May 2007 calls for the 250 industrial businesses and manufacturers who now occupy the land to submit to a mixed-use makeover.
- Last week, a number of local nonprofits and politicians – including the Pratt Center for Community Development, ACORN and Queens City Councilmembers Hiram Monserrate and Tony Avella – convened a meeting of area stakeholders in order to gather input for a community plan to influence the administration's.
- “Once the mayor’s plan is certified" – the first stage of the city’s public review process – "City Council is limited in how much they can alter that plan,” explained Avella, who chairs the Council’s zoning committee. “So community involvement has to happen before certification
Community leaders learned this spring, however, that this coming fall the city is going to push for the area to be rezoned from heavy industrial to commercial/residential before it picks a developer.
That means the plan will go through the city’s public planning process (or ULURP – short for Uniform Land Use Review Procedure) before the mayor negotiates a contract with a developer to turn all those abstract blocks into concrete blueprints. “It’s unusual for the city to make plans on privately owned property,” said Brad Lander, director of the Pratt Center.
Since the mayor has put the Willets Point proposal on the fast track for approval, neighborhood groups in this case can only hope to “develop their own principles and priorities for development on the site.”
At last week’s meeting, there were neighborhood groups from the nearby areas of Flushing and Corona who expressed concern about the size of a proposed school in the city’s plan. Others said they wanted to see 50 percent affordable housing onsite. Still others wanted assurances that the new jobs the project is expected to bring go to area residents.
But to the 250 property and business owners who occupy the land now, and the 1,300 some workers employed by them, concerns like these rather miss the point. They don’t want the rezoning to happen at all, with or without community benefits.
So there it is: the city (with pressure from developers and big business) is gearing up to force many small businesses out of their homes. New York has a lame-duck mayor – now unaffiliated with any political party – so there is no political price to pay for displacing hundreds of family-owned enterprises.
The local employees and politicos are vowing a fight to the death.
Meanwhile, adjacent community groups are negotiating terms to secure the best jobs, best housing, best deals in return for their support.
And across the street in Shea, the players wear clown shirts.