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Let’s take a trip down memory lane to understand that if it had not been for mega builder Robert Moses along with both the New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers leaving the Big Apple in 1957 for California, there may have been no “Shea Stadium nearing completion” (I Have Often Walked by Ron Marzlock, Feb. 13).
The golden era of baseball in New York City was the 1950s, with a three-way rivalry between the American League New York Yankees and the National League Giants and Dodgers. All three teams claimed to have the best center fielder in baseball. On street corners all over town, citizens would argue whether the Yankees’ Mickey Mantle, Giants’ Willie Mays or Dodgers’ Duke Snider was champ.
Ordinary Brooklynites could ride the bus, trolley or subway to Ebbets Field to see their beloved Dodgers. Men and women of all ages, classes and races co-mingled in the stands. Everyone could afford a seat. Refreshments and souvenirs were reasonably priced.
Team owners would raise or reduce a player’s salary based on his performance the past season. Salaries were so low that virtually all Dodger players worked another job off-season. Most were neighbors who lived and worked in various communities in the County of Kings.
Residents of the era sat outside on the stoop and shopped at the local butcher, baker, fruit and vegetable stand. Television was a relatively new technology and the local movie theater was still king for entertainment. Brooklyn still had its very own daily newspaper — the Brooklyn Eagle — which ended publication sometime in the mid-’50s.
During the ’50s, Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley tried to find various locations for a new baseball stadium, which he pledged to finance using his own monies. With limited seating at Ebbets Field, he needed a new stadium to remain financially viable.
Master mega-builder Robert Moses refused him access to the current-day Atlantic Yards site. This location was easily accessible from all around the Big Apple via subway.
Thousands of fans who moved to eastern Queens, Nassau and Suffolk County would have had direct access via the LIRR. Imagine how different Brooklyn would have been if elected officials had stood up to Moses and allowed construction of a new Dodgers stadium in downtown Brooklyn. Without the departure of the Dodgers to Los Angeles and Giants to San Francisco, there may have been no National League expansion in 1962. There would have been no Colt 45s (original name of the Houston Astros) or our beloved New York Mets.
Shea Stadium nearing completion for opening day in February 1964.
New Yorkers over the age of 65 still remember how much we were starved for National League baseball when the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants moved to California. The only game in town was the American League’s Yankees, and when they went on the road, you had nothing. A horrible thought for a baseball addict.
Attorney William Shea headed up a committee to make arrangements to expand the National League from eight to 10 teams. Abraham Beame, later to be our mayor, was the city’s budget director and comptroller in 1960. He backed a stadium in Corona. All members of the old Board of Estimate voted for it, except the two from the Bronx.
In another attempt to put a wrench in the behemoth development plan for Willets Point, state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) and others filed a lawsuit on Monday claiming the shopping mall portion proposed for the Citi Field parking lot in Flushing Meadows Corona Park is illegal under state law.
The plan, submitted by the Queens Development Group — a partnership between Sterling Equities and The Related Companies — was given approval by the City Council last October.
A lawsuit claiming that the shopping mall proposed for the Citi Field parking lot in Flushing Meadows Corona Park is illegal under state law was filed today.
The suit charges that the mall, approved by the City Council near the end of former Mayor Mike Bloomberg's last term, cannot be built without the approval of the state Legislature because the location is parkland.
A lawsuit will be filed tomorrow, Feb. 7, in an attempt to prevent the construction of a shopping mall in the Citi Field parking lot, which is technically part of Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the Queens Chronicle has learned.
The suit will be brought by state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Whitestone), City Club, NYC Park Advocates and a number of Corona businesses and residents, according to a source who has seen the papers that will be filed.
There were a lot of naysayers five years ago when the Yankees and their co-sponsor, New Era, announced that they would be starting an annual college football bowl game to be called the Pinstripe Bowl. It would be the first college bowl game in the New York area since the very short-lived Gotham Bowl in 1962.
As is generally the case, Yankees management knew what it was doing. The Pinstripe Bowl has arguably become the premier college bowl game that is played prior to Jan. 1, judging by game attendance. Yankees Chief Operating Officer Lonn Trost happily reported that Saturday’s game between Notre Dame and Rutgers had an advance sale of 47,000 tickets, a Pinstripe Bowl record. He gleefully added that the Super Bowl Host Committee was very jealous of the 50-degree-plus sunny weather for the game.
Former Mets manager Bobby Valentine stirred things up when he complained that the Yankees did not reach out to their community following September 11, 2001.
In fairness to Valentine, he was probably still steaming about a 2004 HBO Sports documentary, “Nine Innings From Ground Zero,” which spent the lion’s share of the time concentrating on the Yankees playoffs and seven-game nail-biting World Series loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the fall of 2001 and how that helped cheer up New Yorkers needing a diversion. The Mets barely rated a three-minute mention in it from what I remember even though Valentine and his players spent a lot of time preparing boxes of food and supplies. Shea Stadium was used as an emergency center for first responders because of its sizable parking lot which Yankee Stadium lacked. The MLB network replayed the documentary last week — carryitclearly.com.
Middle Village songwriter Lori Martini dives into the world of film with her real-life inspired short “A Route Less Traveled.”
Martini, who co-produced and directed the movie with a friend, Staten Island actress-filmmaker Maria Rusolo, admits it’s a lot of work, yet fun and rewarding.
It took a little over 49 years but the Midsummer Classic, the Major League Baseball All-Star Game has returned to Queens.
Unlike 1964, when Phillies outfielder Johnny Callison hit a dramatic three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning at Shea Stadium to win the game for the National League, the All-Star Game is literally more than just a game.
Edgardo Alfonzo decided to live in Bayside so he wouldn’t have a long commute to work.
He could leave his quiet neighborhood and in less than 20 minutes be at his locker in Shea Stadium, ready to play for his New York fans as a member of what is considered by many to be “the best infield ever.”
You won’t need to get out your favorite MGM film to see people singing and dancing on the streets this summer.
The annual Make Music New York festival which welcomes in summer with scores of free musical performances scattered throughout the streets and parks, is coming to dozens of locations in Queens.
The NBA Draft Lottery held last week at the Disney Studios in Times Square determined the order of selection in the 2013 NBA Draft, scheduled for June 27 at the Barclays Center. The participants were all from NBA clubs that did not qualify for the playoffs, which meant that for the first time in years, neither the Knicks nor Nets were involved. Nevertheless, there were a number Queens-related stories.
Ernie Grunfeld, the greatest basketball player in Forest Hills High School history, was at the lottery as president of the Washington Wizards. Ernie has the unique perspective of having been a former first-round draft choice himself, as he was chosen by the Milwaukee Bucks in 1977, and now is in the position of selecting a player for that honor. I asked him about his memories of being selected by an NBA team after finishing his four years at the University of Tennessee.
Louis Armstrong at Shea Stadium.
Few words brought Mets fans greater joy than when the Amazin’s late broadcaster Bob Murphy would say “Back with the happy recap!” immediately following a victory. Howie Rose, the team’s longtime play-by-play voice, has his own signature phrase that gladdens the hearts of Mets fans following a win: “Put it in the books!”
Rose has written his first book, appropriately titled “Put It in The Book! A Half Century of Mets Mania” (Triumph Books), an interesting amalgam of autobiography combined with a breezy look back at the history of the Mets.
The home run apple from Shea Stadium still is a sentimental favorite for fans like Zachary, Mario and Margaret Perrone of Flushing.
The home run apple from Shea Stadium still is a sentimental favorite for fans like Tom and Amy Wilk of Glendale
If you believe in the tooth fairy, this soccer stadium is for you.
You had mentioned Harrison, NJ in your Jan. 31 article “MLS to Queens? Visit Harrison, NJ first.” Why are you even looking over there? We have our own Harrison, NJ right here: It’s called Shea Stadium, now Citi Field. We have had Major League Baseball in this very location for approximately 50 years with absolutely no spinoff benefit to the neighborhood at all.
You can also throw in the United States Tennis Association Arthur Ashe tennis complex for good measure — still no development in the surrounding neighborhoods.
This is just a giveaway of public parklands to someone who will take the money and run. If this is such a great idea, try Central Park, Prospect Park, even Pelham Bay Park, or buy land and put it wherever you can. Why should the taxpayers have to finance it if it is such a great money-making deal? This stadium would ruin Flushing Meadows and turn the rest of it into a parking lot, just as we see with the tennis open in the summer.
No more of this beautiful park should be given away, no more!
Call it a redo on a Major League Soccer stadium in Queens.
A committee charged with bringing the Olympics to New York suggested a soccer stadium in Queens serve as a backup plan in its 2001-2005 push to host the 2012 Olympics, according to decade-old documents obtained by the Chronicle. It would have also served as the home to a Major League Soccer franchise.
David Wright’s productive season was a rare bright spot for Mets fans in 2012. With one year remaining in his contract, David picked a good time to finally feel at home at Citi Field, a place where he had struggled for the first three years of its existence.
Mets owner Fred Wilpon was quoted in New York magazine as saying that Wright, while a good player, was not a superstar. Wilpon may have been right, but the reality is that his woebegone organization had no choice but to re-sign Wright to the most lucrative contract in Mets history. Had the Mets traded him, Citi Field would have resembled the ghost town that Shea Stadium was in the late 1970s following Tom Seaver’s departure.
It has been a busy first month for the Barclays Center as there have been concerts (Jay-Z and Barbra Streisand), three preseason Nets games and a Golden Boy Promotions boxing card last Saturday night that featured the lightweight world champion Danny Garcia defending his title by knocking out Erik Morales.
There are certainly enough dining options at the Barclays, from the expected Kings County fare such as Junior’s, Nathan’s and Brooklyn Burger to ethnic options including Paisano’s Meat Market, L&B Spumoni Gardens, Calexico and the glatt kosher Avenue K Deli (which is closed from sundown Fridays to an hour past sundown Saturdays). Levy’s Restaurants is the main food vendor at Barclays. This is the Chicago-headquartered company’s first New York City sports venue, and the food quality is vastly superior to that of Philadelphia-based Aramark, which serves Citi Field and operated at Shea Stadium before that.
With only 29 days to go before Election Day in what national pundits are unanimously calling a safe Democratic Congressional district, Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing) was out campaigning like a challenger.
She says she is trying to run the last days of her campaign against Republican Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) as she has run her Assembly career.
The meeting started at 5 p.m.on Thursday and stretched long into the night as residents and organizations gave testimony for and against the Willets Point redevelopment project billed as bringing the city’s biggest mall.
The public scoping meeting hosted by the Economic Development Corp. introduced how the organization plans on collecting data about the redevelopment’s environmental impact. People can continue to submit comment about the plan until Oct. 9 at 5 p.m.
The Mets showed class last Friday by honoring Chipper Jones with a ceremony held in their press conference room before the start of the Braves’ last visit to Citi Field this year. Jones talked about how much he enjoyed playing at Shea Stadium and how he has no regrets naming his son, Shea, in its honor.
Contrary to popular opinion, he did not relish being known as the Mets’ tormentor. “I think John Rocker enjoyed that role far more than I did!” he quipped.
Corona native Joan Dellicicchi left for Long Island decades ago. But she picked a good day to attend her first US Open last Thursday.
She, and seemingly everyone else in Louis Armstrong Stadium, was rooting for unseeded American James Blake, during his straight-set drubbing of 24th-ranked Marcel Granollers of Spain in the twilight.