Showing posts with label Yankee Stadium. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Yankee Stadium. Show all posts

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Sports: Leaping Rooftops, Bronx Bombers, and Skating

Leaping across rooftops, no safety net in sight. That was my big-city-born-and-bred father's childhood "sport."

Harold Burk (1909-1978), my Dad, grew up in New York City's Jewish Harlem, on 109th Street near Fifth Avenue. As a teen, he and his friends would dare each other to leap across the rooftops of the 6 story tenements built close together in the neighborhood. When he told me this story, he seemed a bit amazed that he had survived--me too! No net, and no cape (it was before the invention of Superman).

Dad became a travel agent (at right, in his lobby office at the Savoy Plaza Hotel in New York City) and soon after marrying Mom, Daisy Schwartz (1919-1981), they moved to the Bronx. Only a short subway ride away from Yankee Stadium! No wonder Dad loved the Yankees as his spectator sport of choice. Every summer, he'd take his daughters to a few ball games. We were lucky enough to see many of the Yankee greats of the 1960s, stars like Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris. When not at the stadium, he would listen on those tinny 1960s transistor radios.

Of course, I still root for the Yankees (in vain, recently). But my personal spectator sport of choice is figure skating. Note I said "spectator sport" (meaning I don't actually skate, just attend skating events or watch on TV). Now you know why Winter Olympics, not Summer Olympics, are my favorite. 

#52Ancestors - Thanks to Amy Johnson Crow for this week's prompt.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy--Sports: Rooftops, Subways, and Skating

How about this as a sport: Leaping from rooftop to rooftop without a safety net.

My Dad, Harold Burk, grew up in Manhattan at a time when cars were becoming more common. In addition to dodging traffic to play stick ball (a kind of street softball), he and his friends would dare each other to leap across the rooftops of the 6 or 8 story tenements in their neighborhood. Luckily, he was sure-footed. (When he told me this story, he seemed a bit amazed that he had survived--me too!)

Dad (shown at left, graduating from elementary school) grew up, served in WWII, came home, married Mom (Daisy Schwartz), and had a family. As long as I can remember, he was a rabid Yankees fan. Since we lived in the Bronx, a subway ride away from Yankee Stadium, he'd take my twin and me and our little sister to games several times each summer.

Sometimes the tickets would come from his travel agent connections, and we'd wind up in the box seats behind home plate, with a great view of catcher Elston Howard's back and a chance to hear Mickey Mantle or Roger Maris's bat sock the ball out of the park. We saw many of the Yankee greats of the 1950s and 1960s, way too many to name.

We savvy local fans knew what to do when the ball game got down to the middle of the 9th inning. If the score wasn't close, we would scamper out of our seats, exit the stadium, and run up the stairs to the elevated subway alongside the stadium, subway token in hand. Standing on the subway platform overlooking the ball field gave us a perfect place to watch the final out. Sometimes the subway train would idle there for a moment, waiting for the out (conductors and motormen were fans too) and then we'd jump inside the train as the doors closed, whisked away before the other fans were even out of their seats.

Today my spectator sport of choice is figure skating. It's a great sport to watch on TV when your hubby is out skiing. And it's even better to see live, at a rink where Olympic champs train (Alexei Yagudin has startingly blue eyes up close!) or at an international competition. My most memorable skate world moment was in 2003, watching Shen and Zhao win pairs gold at the World Figure Skating Championships in Washington, D.C., skating to Turandot. Below, I'm at SkateAmerica in 2006, next to Ina and Zimmerman's poster, with a stuffed toy in my jacket to throw onto the ice as a tribute to the skater I like the best.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Farewell to House That Ruth Built

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Watching last night's emotional farewell to Yankee Stadium brought back many childhood memories of going there with my father and sisters. We never saw a World Series game in person, but we did see many Yankee greats play--Maris and Mantle and other legends of this once mighty baseball team.

Mounting the stairs to the subway station as the final inning drew to a close, we'd peer over and see the last out(s) from the platform and then slip into a subway car and be gone before the crowds surged out of the stadium. Babe Ruth would (should) be angry that the house he built is being torn down.

Farewell to an era. I doubt the new stadium will inspire the strong feelings that this grand old stadium has inspired over its 85 years.