The Yankees, My Birthday and Johnny's Pizza 5-2-2010

The Yankees, My Birthday, and Johnny’s Pizza

May 2, 2010

Richard J. Garfunkel


Then Linda, Dana, Jon and I drove down to the Bronx, the home of the fabled NY Yankees of international sport and baseball fame. The first game I saw was in 1951 at the old, but now leveled Yankee Stadium which stood for 85 years. The new Yankee Stadium, opened last year is right across the street from the old location. From Tarrytown, we drove down the Saw Mill River Parkway to the Mosholu Parkway, which crosses the northern part of the Bronx. Then we headed south on the old Grand Concourse, which was modeled on the Champs Elysees, the center of Paris,


The Grand Boulevard and Concourse (almost universally referred to as the Grand Concourse) is a major thoroughfare in the borough of the Bronx in New York City. It was designed by Louis Aloys Risse, an Alsatian immigrant who had previously worked for the New York Central Railroad and was later appointed chief topographical engineer for the New York

Risse first conceived of the road in 1890, as a means of connecting the borough of Manhattan to the northern Bronx. Construction began on the Grand Concourse in 1894 and it was opened to traffic in November 1909. Built during the height of the City Beautiful movement, it was modeled on the Champs-Élysées in Paris but is considerably larger, stretching four miles (6 km) in length, measuring 180 feet (55 m) across, and separated into three roadways by tree-lined dividers. Most minor streets do not cross the Concourse. Grade separation allows major ones to pass underneath.

The New Stadium opened last year and replaced the old Yankee Stadium which was opened in 1923, rebuilt in 1973 and was nicknamed “The House That Ruth Built.” Ruth referred to George Herman “Babe” Ruth, who was the first professional mega star to grace America. He ruled baseball from 1914 through 1934. Even today, 76 years after his retirement, and 62 years after his death at 53 in 1948, he remains the pivotal American sports family.

George Herman Ruth, Jr. (February 6, 1895 – August 16, 1948), best known as “Babe” Ruth and nicknamed “the Bambino” and “the Sultan of Swat“, was an American Major League baseball player from 1914–1935. Ruth originally broke into the major leagues with the Boston Red Sox as a starting pitcher, but after he was sold to the New York Yankees in 1919, he converted to a full-time right fielder and subsequently became one of the league's most prolific hitters. Ruth was a mainstay in the Yankees' lineup that won seven pennants and four World Series titles during his tenure with the team. After a short stint with the Boston Braves in 1935, Ruth retired. In 1936, Ruth became one of the first five players elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Ruth has since become regarded as one of the greatest sports heroes in American culture.[1] He has been named the greatest baseball player in history in various surveys and rankings,[citation needed] and his home run hitting prowess and charismatic personality made him a larger than life figure in the “Roaring Twenties“.[2] Off the field he was famous for his charity, but also was noted for his often reckless lifestyle. Ruth is credited with changing baseball itself. The popularity of the game exploded in the 1920s, largely due to his influence. Ruth ushered in the “live-ball era“, as his big swing led to escalating home run totals that not only excited fans, but helped baseball evolve from a low-scoring, speed-dominated game to a high-scoring power game.

In 1998, The Sporting News ranked Ruth number one on the list of “Baseball's 100 Greatest Players“. In 1999, baseball fans named Ruth to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.[2] In 1969, he was named baseball's Greatest Player Ever in a ballot commemorating the 100th anniversary of professional baseball.

The Stadium is located at 161st Street and Gerard Avenue, and it was there we met Jon’s girl friend Merry and his old school chum Stephanie, who took the subway up from Manhattan. We parked, made our way into this new and incredible structure, found our seats and settled down to enjoy another Yankee victory. But the fates had other things in store. After the Yankees rallied from being down 5-2 to take the lead, they wound up surrendering the lead in the next inning and wound up losing 6-5. Too bad! So saddened, but not bowed we headed out to our car, and headed up to City of Mount Vernon, where I was raised. Our next stop was the fabled Johnny’s Pizzeria, a culinary landmark for decades. We satiated our sorrows with their house salad and legendary pizza. So, all in all, it was fun and a full day. We’ll get them tomorrow as the Yankees meet the Chicago White Sox for the final game of their three game series.



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