Sunday, September 21, 2008

day +397

Early Friday afternoon was spent at the Hope Lodge in Midtown Manhattan, where I visited a friend, who received an allo SCT a little over 50 days ago for Acute Myelogenous Leukemia, and his fiancée. He is doing very well. This was my first visit to NYC's Hope Lodge, which is nestled within the bustling chaos of Midtown between Madison Square Garden and the Empire State Building. It's funny how I had walked in front of the Hope Lodge several times in the past en route to Herald Square or Penn Station but hadn't given this building a second thought.

The Hope Lodge, which is a free service of the American Cancer Society, has locations across the country. For individuals receiving cancer treatment far from home, the Hope Lodge may be worth exploring. Learn more here.

Yesterday my dad and I were invited to attend tonight's final game at Yankee Stadium. It's going to be pretty crazy there tonight. Regarding the historical significance of the closing of the Stadium, I found Landmark in Heart and Minds, Not in Fact to be quite interesting.

My feelings about the final season of this hallowed cathedral continue to oscillate. I feel torn at times between the nostalgia and love of a baseball fan and the astuteness of a mindful observer, a student of history who knows that we live in a world that can be cold and unforgiving. As someone who has lived his entire life in the shadows of this iconic ballpark, there is sadness not just for its historic loss but also because the familiar landscape of my neighborhood will be different forever. The vistas that I had taken for granted for all these years will be no more. I will no longer see its mountainous, imposing white facade as I climb the hill from my building. Its bright lights and the crowd's roar will be more distant now. Though its replacement is being built just one block northwards, the familiar subtleties of my neighborhood and consequently, my sense of home - of identity - won't be the same.

At the same time, however, I've become increasingly cynical about the new Stadium as I have learned more about how the city and the Yankees organization have managed its construction and dealt with its neighbors: Too Much Nostalgia, Not Enough Skepticism. This new Stadium is over budget and what was supposed to have been a privately funded operation has turned into one subsided significantly by the city's taxpayers. With budgets shrinking and services failing, I'm saddened at how quickly politicians can form a consensus to build an over priced sports arena. Perhaps the recent anniversary of 9/11 illustrates the smallness of the present state of our politics most clearly. Seven years later, the Freedom Tower has not been completed because of squabbling amongst political, business, and interest groups. The Empire State Building was built in less than a year. Let's not forget the Gulf Coast, whose levies remain incomplete, and the anemic pace of redevelopment that continues to plague New Orleans and its environs. As a nation, we've seem to have lost the ability to take on bold challenges with depth and intelligence. Allegations of corruption by the city and the Yankees have surfaced in the media as well. Tickets will cost way too much in the new ballpark not to mention that there will be less seats. The parks that were supposed to have been built in the wake of the new Yankee Stadium are way behind schedule. Funds for community programs and sports clubs were dispersed months after they were supposed to. And there's just the eerie sense that this colossal project is just the latest chapter in a decades long drama between the powerful and the weak, the minority and the majority. It's as if this is more about the desires of the corporate fat cats and less about baseball, its fans, and those who live closest to the historic ballpark (many of whom can't afford to attend the games). The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. We'll just have to wait and see. Wrestling with these feelings, I was gripped by Melancholy in the Bronx, but Not Because of the Stadium.

Finally, I was fascinated by A Painter's Brush With the Bridges of New York, which looks at Antonio Masi's amazing watercolors of the city's bridges (most of which are the "great" ones).

Before reading this article, I had never heard of him. An exhibition of Masi's work will take place at a Manhattan gallery next month. I'm definitely planning to catch this. I'm really curious to learn more about him and his work. Whenever I come across stories about these bridges and the city's waterfront, it's a thrill.


Comment Blogger Kathy - Eric's Mom said...

You're doing fantastic, my friend... You know, the whole two steps forward and one step back? That's just life's natural rhythm! We all play at that game..

Good luck with the interview - I know you'll be selected for one.


7:38 PM  

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