Friday, October 19, 2012

The Only Thing I Want to Write About Right Now

I haven't wanted to write all that much about the baseball going on, as all of you could tell. Yes, I have been paying attention, but after the high of the daily four-game schedule in the Divisional round, the two games remind me it is almost over, and I don't always want to pay attention pitch by pitch or have it on in the background while I'm doing something. I just haven't wanted to pay attention to the baseball going on outside of the New York Realm. I did end up listening to more John Sterling throughout those 4 games than I expected. It was fun to be listening as the Yankees were at their Metsian Best in Game 3, my dad texting me that "Yankees Suck" while they were in the midst of maybe showing like they did in Game 1 that it ain't over till it's over (even though, in that game, it was eventually over.) I said such to my dad once more as Raul arrived, the Yankees having been silent all night against Verlander until the 9th inning, and now had a little 2-out rally going with the tying run on 2nd. Of course, naturally, the playoff baseball went to a 3-2 count, eventually ending in a swing-and-miss on a nasty Coke breaking pitch. I texted my dad, "How very Metsian of you," to which he laughed across the text message universe.

But other than that, I haven't been inspired to write about the NLCS, as much a circumstance of me hanging out with my dad more lately, who isn't always thrilled to watch a Non-New York baseball game in October, especially with his Political obsession at a 4-year high. So, I monitor on the gamecast, not all that inspired by the happenings it dictates (though, I'm sure I'll get into the World Series.) Lately, I have been mostly in the broader world of New York, one that has me exploring its history like never before in my history.

Back when the Mets were being shutout by the Braves, I started the 17 1/2 hour epic that is New York: A Documentary Film. It took me till a couple days ago to get to the Post-War Landscape episode, the 2nd to last of the film's parts. It details, in the atmospheric way we have come to expect from the Burns' Brothers' movies, the story of Robert Moses.

Most of you will probably know who Robert Moses is and what his story entails. I knew his story well from general New York knowledge and in the research for my television endeavor, but the documentary brought my apprehension of the story to another plain. In regards to the enlightenment of all of you, I should never make assumptions about other people's knowledge since there are constantly new beings coming into the fray. For those who know not of The Power Broker, he has profoundly affected every single one of our lives, and if not for him, there would be no New York Mets.

Robert Moses ran the Bridges and Tunnels of New York, its boroughs, and the highways he built to connect them and the greater area in the early-to-mid 20th Century. Eventually, after the war, and with the new Urban Renewal bill pouring money into city projects all over the country, he became head of every public construction project in the city, destroying several square footage of New York City Grid to make massive super-block monotonous residencies, such as Parkchester and Stuyvesant, places that were both private and public housing. Nowhere was his construction and destruction felt more than in the way he would bulldoze vibrant, well-connected neighborhoods he considered "slums" throughout Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island for his highway system. The Cross Bronx Expressway, however, might have been his most devastating endeavor.

In a world economy dependent ever more on getting from one place to another as fast as possible, and getting more and more work done when you get there in the extra time you've been given, Robert Moses saw the New York City grid as obstruent to the ever mobile world of tomorrow. If he said traffic needed to flow on this straight line he had drawn, well then everybody there, along with the buildings, best get out of the way. In our place as the future, we can vision Robert Moses with some sort of voodoo map of New York City, his pen acting as the fist of God knocking down every building and livelihood in its path.

In the end, he didn't get everything he wanted, as the final plan for his urban environment failed to break through The Protest Era. We are left with a city that is a fascinating hybrid of the several pasts this Metropolis has had.

Yesterday, I went over The Kosciuszko Bridge, which connects Maspeth, Queens, to Greenpoint, Brooklyn, on the BQE over the Newtown Creek. On the one hand, I have been convenienced by being able to get to my friend in Brooklyn quicker and Robert Moses has given me a sick view of my city. On the other hand, what's the problem taking Metropolitan Avenue into Brooklyn? And on the other hand, I'd probably have a similar view on the roofs he tore down. Should so many people have been so inconvenienced just so the future could get to places quicker they don't really need to get to quicker? In so many cosmic ways we could ask similar questions when it comes to the fact that this entire piece of land used to not have us white people on it. 

But alas, tis what tis. And our lives go on interwoven in a fantastically strange and comfortably scary way.

So please, people, whether you're from the New York City or the New York Suburbs, the New York State or the Rest of the Land, or somewhere else in this great blue globe, watch New York: A Documentary Film in its entirety. You'll have a better understanding of yourself and your country, and a better understanding of humanity itself. 7 of 8 episodes appear in the whole on You Tube, but that last one is only in pieces, and you'll have to hunt it down. Amazon Instant Video is having a free month trial, and they have the complete set to stream. After the month, its like 79 bucks a year, which is up to you, ya know.

But until you make the 17 1/2 hour commitment in pieces or in full, here's a video my friend, Adam, who is a sick filmmaker, captured on my phone while we went back over the bridge. And after that, a song Q104.3 delivered to me at the stroke of the Noon Beatles Block as I traveled over the concrete web.


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