Archive for the NYC Category

American Pride , Revenge and Baseball!!

Posted in Baseball, ESPN, History, MLB, New York City, New York Yankees, NY Times, NYC, Politics, YouTube Classics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 4, 2011 by mattyfresh697400

Long Live The World Trade

Where were you at 10:30pm on Sunday May 1, 2011??

I suspect that as time marches on most people will remember where they were when they heard the incredible news that the worlds most wanted man, Osama Bin Laden was dead!

Have Fun In Hell

Now without question you can ask anyone and I mean literally anyone where they were the morning of Tuesday September 11th 2001 and each person knows exactly where they were and what they were doing, and if you are talking to New Yorkers as I so often have, every person has a unique and fascinating story about that morning and the hours that followed. I myself was living on Christopher Street, barely a mile away from the World Trade Center. I unfortunately had a front row seat to the devastation as I watched both Towers fall with my very own eyes from the roof of my building. I along with 15 very scared neighbors watched for hours as the black smoke billowed against the crystal blue sky and eventually  the black smoke got thicker and thicker and then the towers fell.


One of my first thoughts that morning as I made my way up to the roof was ” I wonder if the Yankee game will be cancelled tonight” of course I had zero indication this was a terrorist attack and no sense whatsoever at the magnitude of what I was witnessing, but something told me it was serious but really I was clueless , as we all were at first.

Well not only was the Yankee game not going to be played that night but in truth the entire world stopped that day and we were changed as a country forever!!

The days and weeks that followed were incredibly challenging for all Americans but for New Yorkers it was a whole other level. Within hours of the towers falling pictures of missing loved ones covered light posts and street signs, make shift memorials were everywhere, candle light vigils were a common occurrence for weeks. I recall the incredible somber mood during the Jewish High Holidays where at my synagogue there was not a dry eye in the house.

But America and our citizens are defined by their courage and resilience in the face of unfathomable challenges, and in the days that followed the attacks there was a patriotic unity that I had certainly never seen or felt in my lifetime and nothing the country had experienced since perhaps when John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963.


So of course on the night of September 11th there was no Yankee game and in fact there were no Major League  Baseball games whatsoever for 8 days. What did Baseball really mean at a time of such unparalleled tragedy?

But 8 days later baseball did return and the national anthem that is played at the start of every game took on a new and profound meaning.  On September 25th Baseball finally returned to New York and the Police Officers that patrol the stadium were finally being treated as the heroes they were, American flags were visible everywhere at the Stadium.

God Bless America

And as the month of September marched on and the baseball season slowly crept towards the post season, The defending World Series Champion New York Yankees were giving their fans and more importantly their wounded city, something to cheer about. If only for a few hours every night, the Yankees gave hope and distraction to 8 million grieving neighbors. And as the Yankees always do, they just kept winning and winning and before anyone knew it, it was mid October and the Yankees were on their way to the World Series, playing not just for their fans but for all New Yorkers (yes even you Met fans out there)

Now New York and the Yankees in particular often take plenty of flack from every other city out there (most likely because we are bigger and better) but that is a whole other post entirely. But for 10 days at the end of October and the start of November, the Yankees were truly Americas team!

The first two games of the 2001 World Series were in Arizona, (Arizona won both) so Game three was the first in New York and once again the eyes of the entire world were on New York. I have an uncanny ability to remember baseball games but the real historic highlight of this game came before the first batter even stepped in the box.  On this night, The President of the United States would be throwing out the first pitch, this moment encapsulated all the things that make this country what it is in one symbolic moment; Strength, Pride, Resilience and Hope. George W. Bush might have a had a very tumultuous presidency but in October of 2001 , he was our leader and the entire country was unified in our support of him, nowhere was that more evident than in Yankee Stadium on that legendary evening.


As the President marched out to the mound , chest out, shoulders back, head held high ,  55,000 screaming fans began to chant “USA, USA, USA” !!! I have never and will never see or feel anything like that again, but through our National Pastime, Baseball… it was clear that America can never be held down!

The next three nights the Yankee magic continued, Derek Jeter became Mr. November and Scott Brosius and Tino Martinez achieved the impossible (2 run HRs with two outs down by 2 on back to back nights) Now the Yankees might not have won the 2001 World Series but they did captivate a nation and helped lift up a city that desperately needed some Yankee Magic and the boys certainly delivered.


Fast Forward almost 10 years to this past Sunday night, when I saw the breaking news alert on CNN I could not believe my eyes! We actually got him! President Barack Obama authorized what seems to be one of the riskiest covert missions in our countries history and Osama Bin Laden was finally dead, pierced by the bullet of a brave American soldier. Just as it should be . America Never forgets!!

Monday morning I ran out to buy the paper because I wanted to save what in many ways is the bookend to the greatest tragedy in American History. The evil face of Osama Bin Laden covered the front page with the bold text reading : “WE GOT HIM”

I turned the paper over and was surprised that there was not another image of Bin Laden where the sports section would normally be, but instead of Osama there was an image from the Mets vs. Phillies game from Sunday night. As it turns out the Mets and Phillies were tied at 1-1 and the game went into extra innings and late into Sunday night and as thes rest of the country was glued to their TV sets trying to digest the incredible news, the fans at the Citizens Bank Ballpark in Philly were getting text message and facebook updates from friends and family. And then just like in 2001 the entire stadium erupted in chants of “USA, USA, USA”

Once again Baseball somehow has weaved itself into the fabric of American History!!

Justice

and on this night there were no Philly Fans and there were no Mets Fans…There were just Americans.

Justice is Served!!!

AROD # 600 and The Hall Of Fame Debate.

Posted in Baseball, ESPN, History, MLB, New York City, New York Yankees, NYC with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 5, 2010 by mattyfresh697400

AROD # 600!!

I have a new love in my life and her name is TWITTER.  Fine ,  I might very well be a little late to the tweet party , but that is all good! At some point this summer I figured out the amazing beauty of twitter and I dove in headfirst. But rather than detail the workings of the super-social network that is twitter, I would prefer to talk about Baseball , and the milestone that occurred when Alex Rodriquez of my beloved New York Yankees finally clubbed career home run # 600.

In typical Arod fashion he hit # 600 during a day game (of which I could not attend) , He hit it in the first inning when there were zero dramatic implications (although the 2 run shot did turn out to be all the Yankees needed for the W) and in very typical Arod fashion, it took him a while to hit it. He might be one of the greatest to ever play the game but  the dude is just not great with milestones.

The Real HR King

But as sure as the sun rises each day Arod was going to blast # 600 and he did! And just as soon as the ball landed in monument park , the great sports debate of our time jumped right back to the front page of every paper, the top of every blog and of course to the greatest sounding board of all…TWITTER.

Baseball is all about history and stats, plain and simple. The game is defined by its history and the numbers that make up that history. Any real baseball fan is at heart a statistics person, perhaps not in the sense that you like to sit around and bang out ill computations like Matt Damon in “Good Will Hunting” , but you know the single season HR record , you know that Rickey Henderson is the all time stolen base king and you know the mother of all statistics….you know who the all time Baseball Home Run King is….or do you?

# 600 for Arod has quickly resurrected the Steroid era debate or what is now cutely known as the PED debate (Performance Enhancing Drugs). Do those admitted and or accused ROID users belong in the Hall Of Fame, Do the Home Runs actually count, should all the numbers be tossed?

Alex Rodriquez is only the 7th player in Baseball history to knock 600 career bombs, the club he joins is beyond exclusive and some members beyond reproach. The Babe , Hank Aaron , Willie Mays and even Ken Griffey JR. are all safely and cleanly in the record books..no asterisk required, they are all in the Hall of Fame (with the exception of Jr. , and he is a first ballot shoe in with out question. Its the other two members who make things interesting.

Always a KING!!!!

Sammy Sosa, who along with Mark McGwire captivated the nation in 1998 with the great single season home run chase as they both smashed the record of Roger Maris (61 dingers) Sosa has 610 career home runs and before the PED debate would have been a no brainer for the HOF. In fact pre -2003 when the house of cards started to unfold, the rule of thumb was, if you hit 500 career home runs you basically get into the Hall Of Fame automatically.

Thats about right!

Well when it became terribly obvious that Barry Bonds was a freak of nature whose cap size grew like 10 sizes in two seasons and at the age of 38 started banging out 50 plus homers a year and then in 2002 broke the already obscene single season record of 70 held by McGwire , the jig was up. Major League Baseball could no longer look the other way and before you knew it  a slew of incredible home run hitters and perhaps the games greatest pitcher were lying before congress and labeled , well , cheaters.

Back to yesterday , again Arod goes yard and Twitter is burning up.  “Does Arod belong in the HOF?”  “Bonds and Clemens will never get in” “Sosa and McGwire stand no shot ever” “Rafael Palmeiro is a doucher” (Agreed..what up coop)

The Future King?

So just being at Cooperstown two weeks ago , and  having a pretty solid handle on what it means to be in Cooperstown from a fans perspective.. I chimed in on twitter…. “If The Hall is willing to recognize Bonds  statistically as the all time HR King and displays his record breaking home run ball as well, why should he not get his plaque too” ( I want to note that I despise Barry Bonds , but he was going to the Hall prior to his cheating so… go fish)

Well this turned out to be a great question ,  because before I knew what was happening I was being retweeted by espn bloggers and well-known sports columnists and I am thinking , damn this twitter thing is pretty freakin cool.

And for the next few hours, the debate raged and I came to a few conclusions.

1. There is a consensus that Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds are dirt bags and are never getting into the Hall of Fame.

2. The Jury is still out on Arod as far as the public is concerned although my money is on him getting into the Hall because time is on his side.

3. and finally….That twitter might be the single greatest blow to worker productivity modern man has ever seen.

Congrats AROD…looking forward to # 700 and eventually # 763 and looking forward to continuing the great STEROID debate….on TWITTER of course!

#Summertime

Posted in Baseball, Basketball, Dave Matthews Band, ESPN, Hip-Hop, Hip-Hop History, James Patterson, MLB, MMA, Movies, Music, New York City, New York Yankees, NYC, Rappers, Sneakers with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 22, 2010 by mattyfresh697400

INCEPTION

The Boss and Joe Torre

ahh Summer Time , its been a very busy summer so far and its been a minute since I have posted,  so rather than post about a single subject I am simply gonna write and see what comes out….From Capri to Inception to the loss of Steinbrenner , it really has been a crazy summer to date…In just a few short weeks , Lebron went from sports icon to total DOUCHER , I became completely obsessed with Twitter, Hip Hop came back hard with great albums from The Roots, Drake, Big Boi, Eminem and Ricky Ross , The Yankee Organization was hit hard 3 times with the losses of THE BOSS, Legendary PA announcer Bob Shepard, and former player and manager Ralph Houk , Dave Matthews crushed Citifield , Nick Swisher was on the All Star team and in the Home Run Derby , great books by James Patterson and David Bladacci were read , Brock Lesnar battled Shane Carwin and pulled off a great victory keeping his UFC heavyweight belt , .The Yankees are sitting in first place atop the AL EAST……… AND…………..I bought six pairs of dope ass kicks (shout out to the crew at WEST on 72nd Street (WESTSIIIIIIDE!!!)

Baseball Hall of Fame

This weekend I take my annual trip to Cooperstown with my dad. It is a weekend consumed with the sport of baseball and the very deep history of the game, needless to say it is a great time and also very much symbolizes the mid-point of the summer and will certainly get a full post of its own.

So that’s my very brief summer to date recap…MUCH MUCH MORE TO FOLLOW

“Father Knows Best” – Fathers Day 2010

Posted in Family, Music, NYC, Restaurant, YouTube Classics with tags , , , , , , , on June 22, 2010 by mattyfresh697400

I had a very nice fathers day this past weekend , and of course not being a father myself, the day was all about my pops. First I caught a few minutes of the rubber match between the Yanks and the Muts on TV, in just enough time to see TEX hit a granny at my dads house before departing for a sunday matinée of JERSEY BOYS (very great musical , well at least the parts I was awake for.)

Fathers Day 2010

For those that don’t know “Jersey Boys” is the story of legendary singer Frankie Valli and his group the Four Seasons. I consider myself  a huge music fan and pretty knowledgeable about the history of the business, but clearly I did not do my homework on Mr. Valli and his Four Seasons. The numbers are actually staggering, Mr. Sean Carter aka Jay Z would be impressed. 29 top 40 hits as a member and lead singer of The Four Seasons and 9 top 40 hits a solo artist…Incredible.

Now of course I did know a lot of the songs, I just never knew Franki Valli was the man behind them. These songs are so legendary that at this point they are American Standards covered by everyone from Lauryn Hill to The Spinners. I mean when I hear “Ill Be Working My Way Back to You Babe” I think the Spinners from 1980, and when I hear “Cant Take My Eyes Off of You” I think Ms. Hill…ahh the generation gap.

The Spinners

(Click for a listen)

Grease

Cant Take My Eyes Off Of You

And the Video for “WALK LIKE A MAN” is priceless!!

But in retrospect that’s why the show has the staying power it clearly has, because the music is timeless.

Look at the list of Number 1 Hits…

Sherry,”

Big Girls Don’t Cry,”

Walk Like a Man,”

Rag Doll

December 1963 (Oh, What A Night).”

My Eyes Adored You

Grease Is The Word

Grease.” (Shout to my sister Cortney on Grease, its a family favorite)

So Jersey Boys is not only great classic music from the 1960’s but also a nice little musical history lesson!

So what do you do after a Sunday Afternoon matinée on Fathers Day..well you have a huge steak dinner at Capital Grill, where the calorie listing on the Potatoes Au Grautin is actually a mathematical equation it’s so heavy.

I have little to say about Capital Grille other than it was delicious but made me want to sleep for three days it was so filling, proceed with caution.

Happy Fathers Day Dad, We Love You!!

Hip-Hop is Alive and Well..SOUTH STREET SEAPORT…..oh DRIZZY!!!!

Posted in Hip-Hop, Hip-Hop History, Music, New York City, NYC, Rappers, YouTube Classics with tags , , on June 16, 2010 by mattyfresh697400

Junior Varsity Terrorists???

Posted in History, New York City, NY Times, NYC with tags , , , , , , on May 3, 2010 by mattyfresh697400

https://i1.wp.com/brushwithextinction.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/times-square-one-view.jpg

Terrorism is defined as the ” Use of Violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes” I certainly do not have to tell anyone that the attacks on 9/11 basically were the Triple Crown of a global terrorist attack. Number one and most  importantly the murder of 3000 innocent people, two ,the fact the attack took place on american soil , and three,..the symbolism involved in not only attacking the symbolic heart of our capitalist spirit but the actually ever-lasting images of the collapse of the Towers. Real life images are powerful things, the images of the Twin Towers falling will be haunting forever. Being a New Yorker, I saw them fall with my very own eyes.

I would like to think that post 9/11, the American efforts to prevent another attack on American soil have been nothing short of perfect.

But then of course we HAVE to be perfect don’t we, anything less than complete perfection is complete failure and the loss of further American lives.  When it comes to fighting terror, the odds are on the sides of the terrorists , in that they can afford to not hit their target, and they might very well live to fight another day or certainly some fundamentalist with their own gripes about the world will be there to take their place.

For the moment though I would like to  think, that we are winning the WAR on Terror as they call it, and by applying pressure to terrorist forces on their soil (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Sudan) Fighting the fight in their backyard simply put, keeps America safer. The downside to this philosophy is that unless there are sweeping changes amongst those factions that hate our way of life, preach that hatred to the younger generations and are willing to sacrifice their own lives to “KILL THE INFIDELS”…then Unfortunately this might be a war that never ends. Because it can’t!

There is something that’s clear though as indicated by recent events, The Terrorists (Domestic or International) are still out there and still trying to take innocent American lives, only problem for them is , We got the real heavy hitters pinned down , hiding in caves, dodging Special Forces units all the while trying to play defense and organize their offense.

And clearly right now the Junior Varsity squad is playing ball for the Terrorists. In December the attempted christmas bombing of Flight 253 from the Netherlands to Michigan was perpetrated by a Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab , Nigerian national that might have trained in Yemen but clearly to did not pass the bomb denotation courses offered by Al Quada, being that Mr. Mutallab could not even detonate his device, but in a sweet twist of irony did manage to burn himself in the “CROTCHAL REGION” ….word to Anchorman.

Then we have the events of this past saturday night, a car bomb, loaded with enough explosive devices to put a nice crater in the middle of Times Square, considered by some to be the literal center of the world. The potential carnage would have this nation shook. Thankfully this wanna be terrorist also never got his IED degree , and the ever vigilante New York Street Vendor saved the day.

Now the obvious and most troubling question is how did these JV Terrorists get so close to making the pros and accomplishing their mission. The truth is we live in the most free and open society in the world and you can’t police it ,The freedoms we have in our society define what is to be American. And whether the terrorists are able to succeed one day in the future and all the odds point in that eventuality, I don’t believe America or Americans will change. I mean I went to Times Square yesterday to hit up CHAMPS and by some Air Jordans…Americans dont cave.

But I guess what gives me a slight glimmer of hope is that the few potential attacks that were , (well we can’t say they were foiled, The idiots just could not get the job done) that have been made public,  were perpetrated by the D-League players and perhaps we actually do have the Osama Bin Ladens of the world so holed up that to even consider a plan as complex and as ruthless as 9/11 is just not in the cards right now. The Terrorist varsity team is benched and the hopefully we can handle the JV players. … But then again..any asshole can blow themselves up….right?

I consider myself a pretty superstitious person, but that applies more to like always sitting in the exact same seat at Yankee Stadium and stepping onto the plane with my right foot, so I pray that by writing this I am not jinxing anything. Our country has gotten lucky twice recently and for that I am grateful.

But if you can put a  positive spin on the two recent attempted terrorist attacks, it’s that we are currently dealing (Thankfully) with  the equivalent of  the Bad News Bears of terrorists, The Nigerian genius tries to blow an airliner out of the sky and instead he burns his hanes boxer briefs……what?

Lets pray that if they continue to send over terrorists or even grow them right here on our soil that they are of the JUNIOR VARSITY Variety!!

Cope2 x Shepard Fairey Bronx Mural

Posted in Design, Hip-Hop, New York City, NYC with tags , , , on April 26, 2010 by mattyfresh697400

What do you get when two Graffitti legends get together for a collabo, well you get amazing contemporary urban artwork. Bronx hard rock and Graff genius COPE2 linked up with the infamous Shepard Fairey (novice graff heads know him from his famous Obama campaign image) Or perhaps his mini OBEY Andre The Giant stickers that have been gracing the sides of traffic lights for years.

You know you have seen em.

The new mural….

For those that dont know , COPE2 has been bombing hard for decades, his throw-ups are masterful and are constantly being auctioned by top-notch art auction houses like Christies , Phillips, Sothebys etc…He has come along way from bombing the West Side Highway and the parking lot across the stree from Yankee Stadium, and terrorizing young graffitti toys city-wide.

The Mural looks very cool and might be worth a stop in the BX to take your own flicks, this is a quite a collabo.

Cope 2 at work.