Who’s Afraid of New York City?

The downside? Well, its an outdoor bowl game in New York City… in late December … in a baseball stadium, complete with bad sightlines for football in a really bad part of town.

via Big Ten Agrees to Play in the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium – Corn Nation.

I spent a few minutes over the weekend with two very different sets of Nebraskans. One set had lived in the city for 18 years, they said, and the other were here visiting for the first time. Needless to say, there were different perspectives being shared. The newcomers were breathless, in some respects, about the size of the city and the accompanying bustle. The veterans were glad 1) to have found a parking place and 2) to have met a Nebraskan who was not breathless.

Being infected with the sickness of Huskeritis, I have in my RSS reader the feed from the blog Corn Nation. Which, if nothing else, is a reliable aggregator. This morning, however, as I read with tepid interest about the coming Pinstripe Bowl, I also recognized what appears to be a reliable Nebraska stereotype.

To be fair to the Husker blog writer, he’s right: The Pinstripe Bowl does not sound appealing. December is not a great time to be standing around outside anywhere in this latitude. And Yankee Stadium is scarcely suitable for baseball, let alone football. But the writer hit a nerve on one point: that Yankee Stadium is in a “really, really bad part of town.”

So I put fingertip to laptop keyboard and wrote:

From: Me.
To: That Guy
Subject: Your Post on the Pinstripe Bowl
Date: Today

I write today because I am a fan of your Web site and, often, of your writing in particular.

This morning, I read with interest your post on the Pinstripe Bowl, but — in my opinion — you have to go back and adjust your comment that Yankee Stadium is in a bad neighborhood. That makes you sound dumb. Or worse.

You linked, by way of citation, to a post by a writer who compared the nearby Bronx streetscape unfavorably with Chicago’s so-called Wrigleyville. But that writer wasn’t talking about crime or blight; in my opinion, your remarks made it sound like he was.

I am a former Nebraskan who lives in Brooklyn and goes regularly to New York’s baseball stadiums. The area around Yankee Stadium probably lacks the obvious amenities and development that baseball fans would recognize, but in many ways it is better. There are three large taverns that open early and stay open late; there are more than a dozen restaurants (Indian, Caribbean, you name it — including a McDonald’s) nearby for takeout (you can bring what you like into the ballpark); and on each side of the stadium there are broad public spaces, ringed with vendors, that are suitable for hanging out and meeting people.

Yankee Stadium might be a stark, depressing mausoleum. The Yankees themselves might be the epicenter of gluttonous team management, disgusting financial largesse and poor role models. But it is not 1979. The streets around the stadium are a safe and comfortable landing pad for responsible adults.

I refer you, for instance, to this.

Yours respectfully,
and Husker-ishly
Me.

Update, June 7: I have a good friend who always ignores about two-thirds of what I write him. I will shoot him an e-mail and say something like, “Did you see that thing on TV? Wow. Anyway. Weather’s great. Do you want to get a beer tomorrow?” And he will reply, “It is a nice day.” We always get the beer; he’s not avoiding me. He just has functional e-mail blindness or something.

Like when you correct someone who’s made a simple mistake and he or she stubbornly and repeatedly outlines how the mistake was made, as if that mitigates things.

Anyway. You learn after a while that some things are not worth fixing.

On an unrelated note, my correspondent replied not long after I published this post.

From: That Guy
To: Me

A fair perspective. Frankly, I’ve never been to Yankee Stadium…in fact, I’ve only been to New York City twice, and both times, it was just Manhattan. So I have to go by what others say. Perhaps I should have said “perceived” because I don’t have first hand experience there. Frank isn’t the first person who thought Yankee Stadium was in a bad neighborhood, though.

Thanks for the feedback.

For the record, High Bridge (where Yankee Stadium is) is not in a bad neighborhood, by gentrified New York standards, anyway.

The south Bronx was once synonymous with urban blight, yet many of the areas neighborhoods, such as High Bridge No. 39, Melrose & Morrisania No. 45 and Mott Haven No. 59, rank higher than gentrifying neighborhoods in Brooklyn with much better reputations.

via The Bronx – DNAinfo.com Crime and Safety Report.

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