NEW YORK, NY – I am too young to remember Robert F. Kennedy as a US Senator from New York State. Yes, he was a carpetbagger but from what I can read and learn about his time here as US Attorney General and as an inspiring candidate for the 1968 Democratic Presidential nomination, Kennedy seemed like the genuine article. Last year the Triborough Bridge was renamed for Kennedy, which caused an uproar; New Yorkers are constantly beset with change and like a few scant things to remain sacred and as is, and this change came with a $1-million-plus price tag. Now, Iâ€™m a bit cranky by nature, so I thought it was a lousy idea from the outset. The bridge is the Triborough and I will always call it such. But but does anyone call John F. Kennedy International Airport, Idlewild? Ok, my mother does but sheâ€™s old and kooky and still calls the fridge an icebox and a stereo a Victrola – probably just to get on my nerves… Anyway, the next generation WILL call the bridge the RFK and you should be okay with it. I am. I still call CitiField Shea Stadium mostly, and not out of any malice toward CitiCorp – though I have plenty. Itâ€™s just a habit, even though weâ€™re talking a brand NEW building, which unlike said bridge, stands today as it did in 1936.
In 1899 The New York Zoological Society was founded, but today we know it as The Bronx Zoo. 80 years later the borough AND itâ€™s baseball team vied to steal that name but the zoo held fast. Tudor City was once home to slums, tenements, and slaughterhouses and was known as Goatâ€™s Hill, then Corcoranâ€™s Roost. In a classic naming misapplication, the architecture in Tudor City wound up actually neo-Gothic. But it still sounds a hell of a lot better than Abattoir Heights. In another generation Hellâ€™s Kitchen will be nothing but a name in a history book as the real estate lords will ultimately win the name battle with the gentrified – Clinton. Jeez in a hundred years, morons all over will assume the neighborhood was named for Bill or Hillary.
MTM donated Mel Otter to The Bronx Zoo
In a brilliant naming rights move in 1998, Leona Helmsley set as a condition for any future sales the right to keep the structure at Park Avenue & 46th the Helmsley Building in perpetuity. Thus the former Grand Central Building and General Tire Building will never be know as anything but the Helmsley Building. Take that Goldman Sacks (the current owners of the structure)!
We do get our panties in a bunch over the smallest things sometimes, when we should be concerned with the larger picture. If there are name-games to worry about they ought to be that Nabisco (too big already) was swallowed alive by ConAgra… Or watching your small neighborhood bank snorted up and spat back out as Citi. If Yankee Stadium were to be renamed for George Steinbrenner or Massengill, people would be outraged of course – but not as outraged if they didnâ€™t make the playoffs. In other words, THE BIG PICTURE comes into play. By 2050, fans may be affectionately calling The Stadium The George or The Douche.
Where does “Sports Get Funny” apply here? Well, last week it was reported that the planned community in Port St. Lucie known as Tradition has defaulted on their annual payment to the New York Mets for their Spring Training complex naming rights. Not to worry, Tradition is a stupid name anyway. The average nitwit thinks it has some successful baseball connotation rather than the shameless promotion of a Stepfordesque community that paid over $100,000 every year. Good riddance Tradition Field; the word in and of itself sets the bar way too high for our beloved underachievers. Might we suggest a new name not out of deep pockets or commitment to higher ethics but straight out of pure smarm???
A very Angry Ward, tomorrow. And Thursday. And Friday…