The Super Bowl is in New York with the cold hype of hyping hype.Broadway is closed from 47th down to 34th with kiosks and sad fanfare. They recommend pre-registration, but it doesn’t even work, not the badges, neither the machines.There is a promise of giveaways, kicking field goals, seeing the Vince Lombardi trophy, playing trivia contests. But the process is slow, often broken, with the long lines stuck in the dark, cold and endless.
Broadway, also called the Canyon of Dreams, is a location for an early morning scene in my novel, My Bad Side:
A flock of small black birds swirled above Bowling Green, hovered a moment, a single organism, and landed in the bare glowing branches of the beech trees. Apollo watched, his mouth open, moaning softly. We followed the plaques. 1910, June 18: Theodore Roosevelt, following return from his African Safari; 1926, August 27: Gertrude Ederle, first woman to swim the English Channel. Crystal called.
“You’re up early.”
“More like late.”
“I was a workshop elf.”
“They painted my face with silver glitter. I had that crazy hat that pointed straight up.”
I could hear her moving, her mouth muffled, distant from the receiver, and then the tinkling of glass, bottles going into the recycling.
“We should go on a trip.”
“They would just freak me out.”
“The Crystal Palace.”
A rat popped out and veered wildly back at the sight of Apollo. “The Winter Palace.”
“Is that what it’s called? The Winter Palace?” There was the snap of her lighter and the intake of another cigarette. “It should be called The Crystal Palace.”
New York’s famed Broadway starts at Bowling Green, the city’s oldest park. It was here, on July 9, 1776, where the Sons of Freedom, in an act of defiance against England, took down the statue of King George III and sawed off the finials from the fence – the saw marks which are still visible today. Bowling Green is also where New York’s ticker tape parades begin, all of which Manhattan’s Downtown Alliance has documented by imbedding granite slabs into the sidewalk. The first parade was impromptu – a collection of people going up Broadway after the dedication of the Statue of Liberty. There were another six parades over the next 35 years…27 parades in the 1920s…17 in the 1930s…22 in the 1940s (all after the end of World War II in 1945)…A whopping 62 in the 1950s…32 in the 1960s…And 20 over the past 42 years, many of which were sports-related. It is actually an interesting exercise to review the list of these ticker tape parades, especially to note how these celebrations have transformed from a focus on politics to that of sports. It is the very apolitical nature of the more recent parades that might indicate how unlikely it is that the current statue in Bowling Green will be taken down any time soon.