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September 24, 2007

I am ready for autumn. The real autumn. The autumn where I get to whear boots and jackets. The autumn where I can breathe in and feel the invigorating thrill of chilled air. The autumn where the trees drop their feathery leaves and stand crooked, naked, skeletal against the sky.

I am ready for that autumn, not this one. This is the autumn where I am still wearing shorts and tank tops. This is the autumn where I am covered in bug bites. Covered. My fingers. The soles of my feet. My shoulders, sides, calves, elbows. My everything. I am tired of the itching.

I am tired of the people on the streets, with their sweating and yelling.

This past Saturday, I was hungering for the cool breath of autumn. A mile-or-so long stretch of Myrtle Ave. was closed off for a street fair. A street fair like the ones that are populated mostly by vendors selling sweaters and tee-shirts and cheap jewelry. Not a street fair like the ones with carnival games, zeppoles stands, and teetering-surely-not-safe thrill rides.

I was underwhelmed. It was sad. The repetition of the booths. The blandness of the people. And I was walking amongst them. No better than them, really. It was then that I wished it would turn cold suddenly.

I wanted a cold wind to blow. I wanted the entire ugly little thing to be swept away. Let the harsh air of true autumn take away the folding tables, the ugly white plastic tents, the crying children, the women spending money on crap just to have an excuse to socialize and talk to someone. Blow it all away. Except for the wooden blue police barriers. Let them remain.

I like empty city streets. The city, for all its masses of citizens, is a lonely place. A place that can make you feel alone and desperate like none other. I like to see vacant city streets to match that. I mean truly vacant, without cars lining the curbs and without people crowding the sidewalks.

The other night a rerun of Sex & the City ended with the main character traipsing down the steps of her brownstone on Mnahattan's Upper West Side and eschewing the sidewalk to walk down the middle of the blacktop. There were no cars parked on it. There was no traffic buzzing down it. She just merrily entered the street and walked down it, back to the camera. This, I might point out, was not the first time I saw this character do this. For her, the streets of New York were quite often deserted.

And I thought, now there is a fairy tale. That is complete fantasy. There are never no cars, there is never no traffic. Not in this city. And I was jealous. I wanted to have that walk. I wanted to feel that carefree aloneness -- take ownership of it. Instead, I had a street free of cars but crowded with the long and tired faces of this city, and I was beginning to see myself in them. Frightening.

With autumn comes the cold, and the cold triggers dormancy. Dormancy might be nice right now--cut off the growth of those undesired things inevitably come to life in all of us: the aging, the aching, the wayward wandering.


Carrie Bradshaw on an empty street

For Carrie Bradshaw,
The City Was an Oasis of
Empty Streets

September 13, 2007

Last night I went to a Mets game. My first-- and probably last--of the season (Perchance a championship season? You Metcha!). The Mets won.

My husband, a friend, and I all went together--the tickets were a generous birthday gift from said friend, so let me just say this: Thanks Mike. Great seats. So good, that I might never go for the cheapie section again.

First of all, baseball games as an adult are, like most things, not the same experience as when I was a child. They seem to move a lot quicker for one thing. I understand the rules a lot better, too. I am totally aware that a foul ball might clock me in the head at any moment. I now understand that the people who run the graphics and music in the stadium are like Svengalis, the way they can get 30,000 people to do the same things all at once, and over and over again. Oh, and I get to drink beer (though, at $7.25 for a bottle of lousy Miller Lite, you have to wonder why I do).

Also, I'm not in awe of the players anymore--not star struck. This is in stark contrast to 1986 when I might've fainted at anything that then Mets centerfielder Lenny Dykstra did (apparently now Lenny is giving out free stock advice a la Jim Cramer, who knew?).

I might not have been star struck, last night, but I was struck by something: Atlanta pitcher John Smoltz may not be very good-looking face-wise, but he has a rather impressive ass. Our seats were right on the first base line and as a right-hander, his back was to us a lot. And let me tell you, when he was in the stretch, well, let's just say it was a nice to have something to look at. Smoltz is not a big fat pitcher (gosh, how do pitchers get so fat?)--and he's old enough that he still wears the uniform trousers relatively tight (not like the kids today whose uniform bottoms are baggy and cover the heels of their cleats) so his bum was just fine-looking. Good job, John.

Anyway, let me get back on track. If anything these days, I get annoyed at ballplayers' celebrity and their pay rates. I mean, look at closers. If a pitcher comes in and blows a lead and the team loses the game, there's no real recourse. I mean, do it often enough and your career might end. Compare that to my life. If I make a mistake and blow a project then it's "See ya later sister," and I'm off to the unemployment office.

Last night I decided that teams need to make the players really earn their dough. I think that every pro's contract should include a clause that says they don't get paid for the days when they lose games. Could you imagine? I bet there'd be some really great games if we could get that to happen--damned players' union would never agree to it, of course. But I can dream.

Finally, a little requiem for Shea Stadium. The Mets organization is in the midst of building a new field to replace Shea, and upon its completion I can only imagine that Shea Stadium will be imploded. Destroyed. Taken down.


You gotta realise that I'm a girl who had a parakeet named Shea, after the stadium. I also dated a guy whose last name was Shea, and somehow managed to marry a different guy whose parents named him Shea. That stadium is significant to me.

It's absurd, but I sorta feel like buildings are living things. They certainly change and grow. They have histories. They seemingly have souls. It's a shame how disposable we make them. Destroying them makes me misty. All the work --the man hours--that built that thing goes down with it in my opinion. No one seems to remember how mankind relishes buildings that stand the test of time--the pyramids, the Parthenon, any one of the myriad thusand year old castles in England. And all the achievements--for Shea Stadium, the two outstanding championship seasons--are kinda lost and eroded by that destruction too--not erradicated, just eroded.

Maybe I'm just sensitive to buildings being torn down because every charming, grimy one-story structure in Williamsburg has just about been made into rubble in the past few years.

Now, I'm sure the new ballpark will be beautiful, and prolly more aesthetically pleasing than Shea--which is a big Mets-blue 1960s-era architectural eyesore. But Citi Field (the moniker purchased for the new stadium) won't have the pedigree. It won't have the character that came from being the home to an odd bunch of players on a pathetic expansion team. It won't be a venue that both The Clash and The Who played. It won't be the plcae where I had membership to because, for my birthday one year, my grandmother signed me up for the Mets Kids Club.

I'll miss it. Will I still go to Mets games? Prolly. As long as I'm in New York, I don't see why not. But I will be heartbroken the day the demo team blasts my old friend into nothingness. And this destruction couldn't come at a worse time--I mean, I'm already reeling this summer due to the imminent developers' ruin of my beloved Coney Island.

One more thing about knocking down Shea Stadium: if the big- stupid-looks-like-some-kids-made-it-out-of-papier-mache-home-run apple that pops up out of the top hat isn't in the new park, I'm gonna be sooooooooo pissed. Luckily, others feel the same way and there's a movement to save the apple. Go sign the petition to keep this shoddy piece of baseball memorobilia around for years to come!

In conclusion, what have we learned from my big Met adventure? Well, let's see.
1. Good seats make for a better experience.
2. Baseball could be revolutionized if the players were only paid for the games they win.
3. I'm a big softie when it comes Shea Stadium.
4. Some people really love the home run apple.
5. Most importantly, John Smoltz has a nice butt.

Len Dyskstra

Sure, he'd go on to be known as a drunken, steroid-abusing
(most likely)
Phillies player, but he was
irresistible as a skinny little Met.

John Smoltz

Granted, it doesn't look like much
on a playing card, but
on the field that tucchus is

Shea Stadium

Shea Stadium:
We Hardly Knew Ye!
(check it out, the field is set up for football)




Home Run Apple

Listen Up Stadium Designer:
This Piece O' Crap Had Better Make the Move to CitiField

September 3, 2007

And so we have moved. Bye-bye Williamsburg, hello Ridgewood. I'm a lot more comfortable with things now that some online research has revealed that Ridgewood was a part of Brooklyn up until 1979 when its residents decided that being a part of a very dangerous area in Brooklyn was bringing down property values. Yay! Ridgewood was actually a tough mother-fucking area in Brooklyn at one point.

Now, under its Queens mantel, it is a sleepier part of New York City, but New York City nonetheless. There are crickets that chirp as I go to sleep now, as opposed to the drunken minions leaving Williamsburg's myriad bars. And as I wake in the mornings on weekends, the voices of children--would be mooks--who call to each other as they pedal bicycles and push off on foot scooters is what I hear. Based on the number young of voices calling for their friends, a young chap named Miguel is quite popular. Here is what I have learned from the actual act of moving:|

--Time is not your friend. Always bite the bullet if you can afford it and keep two apartments for at least two weeks. This will allow you to move at a more leisurely pace (though, really, there is never enough time).

--Never agree to re-paint your apartment white if you opt to paint it in the first place. Painting is backbreaking work that involves a lot bending over, repetetive motion and clenched fingers.

--Gravity is not your friend (see above). Or as Radiohead sang: "Gravity always wins". When you are forced to repaint your old apartment gravity fights you on two fronts. A) it makes your arms ache like a bitch, and B) it cause paint to drip and cause irregularity on the walls and splatters on the floor.

--Your life is heavy. No matter how much you decide to jettison into the trash, there will always remain, of a significant weight, boxes of doo-dads and whats-its that you will have to pack, lug around, unpack, wash, and put in an appropriate place. All of this is hard work. I repeat: Your life, my friend, is heavy.

--Moving ruins your diet. There is a lot of reliance on packaged chips and fast-food. Fresh vegetables are a rare occurrence.

--Your hands will take the brunt of it all. The fingers will swell and ache--honest, my fingers were so swollen that I couldn't fit my wedding band and engagement ring on. Also, the nails will break and become filthy. Even the most dedicated white-collar worker's hands will look like those of a stevedore.

--Pets do not like to move. It freaks their shit out. On the day of our cats transfer, one of my beauties (the one who cannot go in the hard, secure cat carrier because she doesn't get along so well with the other two cats in close quarters) busted out of the cardboard carrier we had her in (this, after she had pissed in it) and sat in the back window of the car, panting, meowing, and hissing in alternate breaths. She was one stressed pussy. I was scared she bust out of the car at a full gallop once I opened a door, but she didn't--she clung to me like velcro and I safely got her into the new place.

--You must accept that you will live out of boxes for a while. It is not glamorous. It is not convenient. It is the price to pay.

That's about it. So, in the end, if you can avoid it at all, moving is not something to run out and sign up for. ou' been warned.

map of Ridgewood circa 1873

In 1873 and up until 1979, Ridgewood was a part of Brooklyn. Stupid looting caused by the 1977 blackout and ensuing riots had to ruin it for all of us.