A story of Mr. T, baseball and the Carousel of Progress
Mr. T threw out the first pitch of Friday's Chicago White Sox/Boston Red Sox game. Baseball great Carlton Fisk caught the pitch. See, this was a promotion for Hanes' new "Double Tough" Socks. See both teams are called "sox" (like "socks" but spelled in a manner that sports fans can read quicker), Mr. T is "tough" and Fisk probably hit a double at some point in his career.
Anyway, I wasn't able to book a flight and ended up stuck in New York during the ceremony. So I called up my good friend, Mr. Freeze, and we headed to Shea Stadium. See, I figured if I couldn't attend the first pitch in Chicago I would attend the first pitch in NY. It was purely idiotic so, naturally, Freeze agreed to come along.
We got onto the subway and started the short journey into Flushing. It was on the subway that I realized two things:
The subway is like the train's creepy, retarded brother who they keep locked in the basement.
I am not a nice person.
I jumped aboard the subway and looked for a seat. For those who have never been on a NYC subway, they have two kinds of seats: light orange with dark orange trim and dark orange with light orange trim. I chose light orange with dark orange trim (or it could have been the other one. I'm not really sure; I'm just trying to fill paragraphs.)
Across the subway car I noticed that three of the seats were wet. A small puddle of liquid sat in the well of the orange plastic seat.
I don't know what kind of liquid and I don't wish to think about it.
I guess I could say I was minding my business, but I am ashamed to say I sat there as one by one each of the seats filled. The first guy mumbled something in Spanish after sitting down, and he sat on the edge of the seat for the remainder of the trip. The second guy jumped up in shock after he realized the seat was wet. Then, inexplicitly he rubbed his backside furiously. The last seat was filled by a large woman with a hairy mustache (in fairness it could have been an average sized MAN with an AVERAGE mustache.) She didn't move at all. I almost asked her if she noticed her seat was wet, but then I lost my nerve. I shall regret that for the rest of my life.
In short order we arrived at Shea. The crowd outside was AMAZING. Tons of people were sitting around outside the stadium. TONS! (I know "tons" is a measurement of 'weight' and not 'quantity' but it sounds better than MANY.)So we looked for a ticket booth, but none were open. So we asked the guy at the souvenir stand. He said "Sold out, dude! It's Merengue Night!"
Then he scoffed at me and mumbled something under his breath. I think it was "Guy is such a loser, trying to get tickets now! On Merengue Night, no less."
I had underestimated the popularity of the Merengue. This is something I shall never do again, so help me God.
I bought a couple of souvenirs to remember the moment I learned to respect the Merengue. A "Mr. Met" keychain, a mini bat and an inflatable stadium replica.
The inflatable stadium in a 12" perfect circle and comes with no advice for what you should use it for. It does say "not to be used as a floatation device." It doesn't say whether it should be used as an "erotic device" so I will assume that is a possibility. I could also fill it up with ice and throw some beers in it. Or I could fill it with Epson salt and water and soak my feet in it. I just better make sure not to do all three on the same day.
The good thing about attending a sold out game at Shea Stadium is that you can see the entire game from the subway platform. Its just beyond the outfield and its a pretty good view.
But first I wanted to see the 1964 World's Fairgrounds. I am most interested in this because the Carousel of Progress debuted there. Plus, it was the place where Tommy Lee Jones begged that giant cockroach to eat him in Men In Black.
This was the symbol for the World's Fair, and one of the few remaining structures. It was seen in Men In Black, and also in the opening sequence of "King of Queens." It's a pretty cool looking globe and since the Carousel of Progress has since moved to California (and then to Florida, where it remains at Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom) this would have to do.
The Towers of the New York State Pavilion:
This is the other major remnant of the World's Fair, and they also appear in MIB and "King of Queens." Unlike the Unisphere which has been maintained as a national landmark, the Towers and Pavilion are in a terrible state of disrepair. The closer you get, the more real the possibility that they could collapse and kill you becomes.
The pavilion is in even worse shape.
So, we snapped some photos and, with inflatable stadium in hand, headed back to the Subway platform to catch the game.
In case you're wondering, the L.A. Dodgers beat the Mets 6-5 and then we merengued the night away.