By C. J. Cross
Editor's Note: This is C. J. Cross' first contribution to this blog. - M.S.
I am not sure at what point it came to this. Were the New York Mets ever is a position to reject a fan from joining the rest of it's loyal followers? Was it Tom Seaver who shunned a young wide eyed, would-be, Newsday reporter? Something had to happen to make Mr. Wallace Matthews this vindictive.
What is happening in Willet's Point right now, with the construction of CitiField can be called many things. Progress? Absolutely. Evolution? Certainly. Criminal? Matthews seems to think so. Our favorite Newsday "reporter" is convinced he is fighting the good fight. Standing up for the little man. Exposing the big bad corporations for what they are. But here's a little wake up call for Wallace. These things happen all the time. Neighborhoods are wiped out. Avenues are claimed and made parkways. Houses are torn down and made into high-rised brick boxes labeled "condos" but are closer to low-cost housing in their construction than to the luxurious domiciles they claim to be.
Before I was born, the city embarked on its last major publics work project. The city claimed imminent domain over an extended length of 7th Avenue in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn and began construction on what was to be the longest suspension bridge the world had ever seen. In 1964, New York gave to its' citizens the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. My father proudly worked on the bridge as an ironworker. Every time I see the bridge, cross it or photograph it I am grateful. I know sacrifices and hard decisions were made in its formation. And though it may have been hard for all of the people who had to abandon their homes and relocate, I doubt anyone of them could honestly say that it wasn't for the city's best interest.
Now over forty years later, two of my cousins are working on the steel that will hold CitiField upright and the current, and future, Mets fans in their seats hovering above the ball field. While the new Mets ballpark is a private endeavor, the Willets Point overhaul will not be. Not initially. The city is involved and has made the assessment that it's necessary to start from scratch to bring life to the area. Matthews was right about one thing. The area had been long ignored. But not just by the city. It has been neglected by the very same people who claim to love it. The streets and sidewalks are greased, littered, loitered, rancid, an eyesore, a stain etc. etc. etc. I am not ignorant enough to think that all of the Point people are crooked but the area had long welcomed shady dealings with car thieves and mobsters. The only people who will miss it are those who filled their pockets with dirty money while ignoring the area as a whole. Why, if they hated the area's plumbing, sewer system and lack of sanitation would they want so bad to stay there?
It is a point that seems to be lost...on sports fans, who don't care whom the bulldozers flatten in the rush to build their heroes a stadium.
Interesting how WM likes to portray us as sheep, just following the evil shepherd. It seems Wallace Matthews would rather play the holier-than-thou part by standing against our Mets, an easy target, since they are in the public eye. I find it hard to believe that he would do the same against the Russian mob and shady councilmen who allow "developers" to buy up two story houses and build six story buildings in what zoning laws dictate are only reserved for two floors down in the south (Sheepshead Bay, Brighton Beach, Gravesend, Bensonhurst) of Brooklyn. Those people are being run out of their neighborhoods illegally. The idea of community is destroyed in those parts. These are the problems facing the people of New York. Not the Mets, their fans or the residents of the surround area in Queens who only want a change from what was cleary the armpit of the borough. If you need proof of what a new baseball stadium can do for an area just take a look at San Diego.