Wednesday, July 30, 2008

New York Report: Medical Update

Rosemarie’s back from the doctor and hobbling around in one of those walking boots. Turns out she sprained her foot while racing to Sardi’s for a cocktail before curtain. Making her the first person to injure herself in such a fashion since Kitty Carlisle Hart.

New York Report: The Old Neighborhood

The entire reason for scheduling our trip at this time was to see one last New York Mets game at Shea Stadium before the exodus across the parking lot to Citi Field. It’s pointless to rehash a week-old sporting event, so let’s focus on the color commentary.

We headed to Flushing early, because it’s where Rosemarie grew up. She took me to her childhood haunts – the candy store turned cell phone shop, the former A&P. Her block, in her words, “is an inch long.” We took photos of her old house, alarming the contractors in the process of remodeling it. We also stopped by her school, not hard considering it’s across the street.

Flushing is renowned for inexpensive and delicious Chinese food. But where to go? We were still without internet access. After a scouting expedition we settled on a restaurant that still had customers late in the afternoon, taking that for a good sign. Plus it had “Gourmet” in the name, and who’d lie about a thing like that? They certainly didn’t. (Note what a later web search turned up.)

Next stop was Flushing Meadow Park. When I was a kid it was the only green area around. Not only did I have to take the subway there, I had to change trains at 74th Street. Never seemed out of the ordinary to me.

Then it was game time. We met up with our friends Mike and Paula. (Here are Mike’s pre- and post-game reports.)

It was merengue night. We didn’t stay for the show.

Call me a traditionalist, but I miss the old blue and orange panels that used to hang from Shea’s exterior. They gave the stadium what character it had.

A recent New York Times article on baseball cuisine reviewed the food at every major league ballpark. The verdict on Shea: eat the hot dogs and nothing else. New York law now requires fast-food outlets to post calorie information. This explains how I know that two Nathan’s hot dogs are roughly equal to a bag of peanuts. This made me feel better until I realized that no one consumes an entire bag of peanuts in one sitting. Even in extra innings.

For the record, I ate two hot dogs and no peanuts. Apparently those things’ll kill you.

Carvel ice cream is also sold at Shea. Talk about childhood haunts. Carvel soft serve would be my treat for getting good grades on my report card. Mike told me that the real prize dessert-wise was the lemon ice, which would last “a good three, four innings.” Only they weren’t available at any of the food outlets in the mezzanine. We’d have to wait for a vendor. By the seventh inning I gave up; “a good three, four innings” meant I’d be finishing it on the 7 train, not known for its dining ambiance. So we had Carvel instead. I didn’t bother to read the calorie information.

Halfway through the sundae I remembered something: Carvel ice cream isn’t that good.

There were a pair of homers in the game, a two-run shot from a reinvigorated Carlos Delgado and a career first for the Mets’ young second baseman Argenis Reyes. I was so excited to see the giant apple behind the center field wall light up twice that I forgot to take pictures each time.

I did the “Jose, Jose, Jose” chant, along with “Everybody Clap Your Hands!” Beats doing it at home all by yourself. But that’s true of so much in life.

Top of the ninth, one out with a six-run Mets lead, and who magically appears behind us? The lemon ice vendor. Thanks for nothing, guy.

The Mets win and we join the throng filing into the IRT station. The “super express” gets us back into Manhattan in no time flat. During the ride, we have a pleasant conversation with a Cardinals die-hard who flew in for the series. Mets fans, magnanimous in victory.

Barring a miracle, the next Mets game I see will be in Citi Field. Across the parking lot, but a world away.