Skip to main content

A New York Yankees State of Mind

On Friday, November 6, hundreds of thousands of New York Yankee fans got the chance to applaud their hometown World Series heroes with the parade and ceremony in lower Manhattan, celebrating along the Canyon of Heroes on Broadway and on the nearby streets under a sunny sky.

Like many others I arrived too late to see any of the parade, but I did get to enjoy the moment with the crowds gathered in the chilly autumn weather. The diverse fans arrived from all the boroughs and from places even farther away, but they all shared today's required uniform of navy blue and pinstripes. Many grew frustrated when they couldn't see anything at all and turned around to go home, while the lucky ones up front applauded themselves for arriving hours before parade time at 11 a.m..

They got to see Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Hideki Matsui, Mariano Rivera, or any of the others, standing on floats and waving to the crowd, dressed in their street casuals, even as everyone in the crowd along the sidewalks looked suited up for a game.



At some point I turned home, electing to see the rest of the parade and ceremony on television in a warm living room. I was glad I had gone downtown just to be a part of the moment, but I was equally happy to have a better televised view of Mayor Bloomberg's ceremony at City Hall. When the Mayor started passing out the ceremonial keys to the city to every member of the team and to each of the many other members of the Yankees organization, however, the ceremony grew somewhat long and tedious, like it was a high school graduation.

Fortunately, the show improved when the Mayor announced a reprieve of the performance from Game 2 of the series - Jay-Z's stunning new city anthem, "Empire State of Mind." No one seemed more happy than the Yankees themselves, who judging by their enthusiastic reactions to the song during Game 2 and during today's performance have taken the song to heart.

"Empire State of Mind" is not simply Jay-Z's response to Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" but a coda of sorts. While Sinatra's song (words and lyrics by John Kander and Fred Ebb) speaks of the aspiration of making it in the city, Jay-Z's song is about the aftermath of success. He also sees the world differently as a native, someone with a homegrown attitude, in contrast to the Sinatra song where the perspective is of someone moving to the city with a degree of innocence. Now at the pinnacle of New York society, the mogul reflects back on his origins in Brooklyn (Jay-Z grew up in the Marcy Houses in Bedford-Stuyvesant), as well as offering words of caution for others who get caught up in the chase for fame in the city.

Success is a head trip that can just as easily set off a downward spiral into drugs and immorality. If anyone could relate to this message of a successful rapper and businessman who is said to be worth about $150 million, then it would be any of those multimillion dollar players standing and watching behind him. Yet, the song is full of love for the city, offering the dream to everyone - "These streets will make you feel brand new. Big lights will inspire you, let's hear it for New York." That's Alicia Keys singing the chorus. For many, this Yankees championship season and this song will always be remembered together.

For more about Alicia Keys' "Empire State of Mind, Part II, please read this post.

Comments

  1. I love the cross currents of music and sports in this piece, although nit picker that I am I must point out that NYNY is really a Liza Minelli song.

    I wonder whether New Yorkers miss ticker tape.........

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, of course, you are right about Liza Minnelli. This is her song from the Martin Scorsese movie in which she co-starred with Robert De Niro. The Yankees fans are used to hearing the Sinatra version at the end of each game at Yankee stadium. Jay-Z manages to get in references to both Sinatra and De Niro in the first lines of the song.

    ReplyDelete
  3. thanks for the coverage ! :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. You're most welcome, Pascale.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment









Popular posts from this blog

MoMA in Masks

Update. Beginning September 28, MoMA will require all members to reserve tickets in advance.*Walking into the gallery devoted to Claude Monet’s Water Lilies (c 1920) at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) on Saturday afternoon, I saw a woman seated on a bench. She was looking at the artist’s dreamy depiction of his garden at Giverny, and I thought for a moment she might be dreaming as well. As she was the only person occupying what is usually a packed room for fans of Impressionism, I was hesitant to invade her private garden reveries.I would enjoy my own such private moments with my favorite MoMA works that afternoon, including Marc Chagall’s I and the Village (1911). The painting depicts a colorful and geometric fairy tale of peasants and animals, memories of the artist’s childhood home outside Vitebsk. And I had a long time to feel the scorching sun of photographer Dorothea Lange’s Woman of the High Plains, Texas Panhandle (1938), a setting closer to my hometown. Later I would sit in t…

In Washington Irving Country: A Walk Between Irvington and Tarrytown on the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail

A stroll in the countryside may be slow and rhythmic, accompanied by a soft breeze among the trees, but walking in this sleepy fashion doesn’t mean the brain is not alert. This pace is especially true for a walk in Washington Irving country about thirty miles north of New York City along the Hudson River. Up near Irvington and Tarrytown, just south of Sleepy Hollow, a steady yet alert pace is recommended, taking in whatever happens as the walk progresses. Walking along the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail and going off the trail in whims and reveries can awaken the imagination, especially for overactive imaginations primed for the pump. You don’t want to get too sleepy near Sleepy Hollow.When I mentioned to an acquaintance not long ago that I had been exploring the woods south of Sleepy Hollow, this person affirmed with great conviction that this land was truly haunted. She said, “It suddenly gets cold and dark in the hollow.” As a child raised on the tales of the Headless Horseman and Sleep…

The Lonesome Metropolis: A Walk from Grand Central Terminal to Rockefeller Center

As New York City reopens, why do the attractions of the great metropolis still look mostly deserted on a summer morning? A morning walk from Grand Central Terminal to Rockefeller Center sought to address this question. As it turns out, there are several adequate explanations. But for what happens next, there are no right answers.

Many neighborhoods outside of tourist New York are still buzzing along. While some residents of wealthier neighborhoods have largely decamped to mountain cabins, beach houses, and other second homes, the less wealthy have nowhere to go and may still be working. Just visit Washington Heights or Corona or Flatbush, and you’ll see sidewalks full of shoppers and summer evening street partiers. Those who fled the city remain only a fraction of the total population.  

Other renowned parts of the city such as City Hall and Brooklyn Bridge have been frequently occupied, as in Occupied, with crowds protesting police violence. This week, NYPD officers in riot gear remove…

NYC Re-openings and Travel Advice

What will open, and how will you get there? This list will be updated following official announcements.
UPDATED September 25, 2020. Many favorite local destinations have now reopened. 

Openings  - General Information and Popular Destinations   
• Restaurants: Consult this NYC Department of Transportation map (updated link) for restaurants currently open in NYC. Starting September 30, NYC will allow indoor dining at 25% capacity.
• As of September 25, outdoor dining in NYC has been extended FOREVER.
• The 9/11 Memorial reopened on Saturday, July 4. Visitors must wear masks and keep social distancing practices.
• Libraries: NYPL. Starting on Monday, July 13, the library will allow a grab-and-go service.
Governors Island reopened July 15 with advance reserved tickets. 
• The High Line reopened on July 16, with several rules and limitations in place, including timed entry passes - available July 9. Entrance only at Gansevoort Street. See High Line website for details. 
The Bronx Zoo reopened J…

The Company of Nature: Walking With Butterflies in Fort Tryon Park

If wandering the empty urban canyons feels a little lonely and depressing, a better idea would be to head to the nearest park. This past Saturday, a day that was sunny but not too hot, Fort Tryon Park in northern Manhattan turned out to be the perfect place to not only satisfy wanderlust but to rediscover the company of nature. Butterflies were there. Hundreds of butterflies - Tiger Swallowtails, Monarch Butterflies, Black Swallowtails, Cabbage White Butterflies, and Silver Spotted Skippers, among them. Moths, too, although I have not yet learned their names.  The Heather Garden is situated just beyond the entrance to Fort Tryon Park. With seasonal plantings, the garden is always a serene spot.  Observing butterflies involves watching their interaction with blooming flowers and shrubs. The Tiger Swallowtails are easy to find and found here in significant numbers. Just look for the Butterfly Bushes. The Cabbage White Butterflies are here in abundance, too, though not as showy as the swallow…

The City Turned Inside Out: A Walk from Battery Park to Fulton Street

While the cast of HAMILTON sings “The World Turned Upside Down,” New Yorkers could easily hum along to “The City Turned Inside Out” this summer. (not a real song) Where once a city’s important work took place indoors - within the soaring office buildings, famous restaurants, legendary museums, and storied performance halls, the COVID-19 epidemic has literally turned the residents outdoors. 

At least it’s summer in the city, when spending time outdoors is common and pleasant enough. Still, the city remains strange this summer of 2020. 

With the absence of tourists, and with office workers connecting virtually from home, many of the city’s main attractions aren’t attracting many visitors. A walk from the Battery to Fulton Street on a pleasant Thursday afternoon bore this out. 

It’s uplifting to at least find plants that are alive and happy. Thanks to the city’s gardeners and landscapers, the city parks are looking particularly lush and splendid this summer. The grounds of Battery Park feel…

Connect the Dots: A Self-Guided Walk to Public Art in Lower Manhattan

Please see the revised and updated post, New York as Outdoor Museum: A Self-Guided Walk to Public Art in Lower Manhattan, June 2012.)

Lower Manhattan, with its tapered narrow geography between the two rivers spilling into New York Harbor, is not only a convenient area to walk but it's rich in public art.

Be sure to include Jean Dubuffet's Group of Four Trees, 1969-72 (left), in front of the Chase Manhattan Bank Plaza off of Pine Street, the Louise Nevelson Plaza on Maiden Lane (below), and many of the works in Battery Park City.

The latter area, under the guidance of the Battery Park City Authority, raised a new high standard in the 1980s with its commitment to incorporating public art into the new community. There, be sure to see Jim Dine's Ape and Cat (at the Dance) in Robert F. Wagner. Jr. Park, a blend of charm and danger, and South Cove, a great collaborative work of environmental design.



Also welcome is the Downtown Alliance's public art program, Re:Construction,…

The Most Beautiful Bridge in the World

Swiss-born architect Le Corbusier (1887 - 1965), the leading proponent of the International Style of modern architecture, visited NYC on several occasions in the 1930s and 1940s, and he made much to say about the skyscraper city. He didn’t think much of the faux tops of the tall buildings nor did he care about the haphazard city planning, but he did fall madly in love with one particular bridge: 
"The George Washington Bridge over the Hudson is the most beautiful bridge in the world. Made of cables and steel beams, it gleams in the sky like a reversed arch. It is blessed. It is the only seat of grace in the disordered city. It is painted an aluminum color and, between water and sky, you see nothing but the bent cord supported by two steel towers. When your car moves up the ramp the two towers rise so high that it brings you happiness; their structure is so pure, so resolute, so regular that here, finally, steel architecture seems to laugh. The car reaches an unexpectedly wide apro…

A Weekend Walk on the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail

Imagine strolling from town to town near the eastern shores of the Hudson River, walking a well-trodden path lined with trees and stately architecture and with easy access to cafes, local shops, and train stations for an easy ride home. Imagine a weekend when the sun is bright and the sun is warm, and many other people - but not too many - are out enjoying the same weather and the same stroll. Such were the pleasures on a recent Sunday, in the latter part of this unseasonal winter, along the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail not too far north from New York City.


The Old Croton Aqueduct, the system that once delivered fresh water from the Croton River to New York City, was a huge and complex marvel of engineering. The trail sits on top of the aqueduct system. This post describes a walk along just a section of the trail, the one that begins at the Keeper’s House in Dobbs Ferry and ends in Irvington.


First, catch a Metro-North Hudson line train to Dobbs Ferry, a village in southern Westchester C…