Super Bowl Boulevard: A Whole Lotta Nothing

The Super Bowl is in New York with the cold hype of hyping hype.20140128_121359Broadway is closed from 47th down to 34th with kiosks and sad fanfare. 20140129_165423They recommend pre-registration, but it doesn’t even work, not the badges, neither the machines.20140129_202021There is a promise of giveaways, kicking field goals, seeing the Vince Lombardi trophy, playing trivia contests. 20140129_19324720140129_165624But the process is slow, often broken, with the long lines stuck in the dark, cold and endless. 20140129_192655

Broadway at Night: Canyon of Dreams

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.”

1950, August 31: William O’Dwyer Upon his Resignation as Mayor of New York. “You remember the Santa Claus Parade?” “I was an icicle.”

“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.

“I sat on a giant wooden mushroom.” I switched the phone to my other hand.

“We should go on a trip.”

“Where?”

“Las Vegas.”

There was scaffolding on both sides of the street now, the black and silver crossbars, rusted bolts sticking out through broken strands of duct tape. “The Galapagos. We could swim with the seals.”

“They would just freak me out.”

“It would be incredible.”“Rome,” she suggested. “Or St. Petersburg.”

“Really?”

“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 City Hall

Broadway: Bowling Green and Ticker Tape Parades

 

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.

Wall Street’s Bull at Bowling Green