Thursday, July 23, 2009


Richie and I have been taking public transportation to Yankee games this year. The hassle and cost of parking by the Stadium has given way to getting on the Bx13 bus, just outside the 178th Street bus terminal. The last stop drops us at the front door of the enormous house that George (and the taxpayer) built.

This has worked without issue until yesterday. Joanne was going to drive us from our apartment, across the bridge, to catch the bus. The midday traffic into New York was at a standstill. My mistake was saying it would probably be faster to walk.

I am afraid of heights. I have been on foot across the GWB on rare occasions, always hugging the inside of the path, nearest the traffic. I am virtually unable to turn my head to peer out over the water towards the magnificent views of the city. Yesterday was no exception.

In truth, I was happy that Richie was up for the journey. We made small talk as I tried to keep my mind off the possibility that I could somehow lose my balance walking, fall about 6 or 7 feet directly to the right, scale a barrier that was about 4 feet high and find myself hurtling into the Hudson far below.

We successfully avoided the bikers that I envisioned knocking into me, catapulting me into the air, over the railing, and to a watery grave.

We reached the bus terminal in Manhattan safely and shortly thereafter were cheering for our team.

At game's end, Richie headed downtown to meet up with his sister. Outside the Stadium, the 13 bus awaited my arrival. Shortly after I got on, the bus driver announced that this vehicle would not be traveling into Manhattan on its journey today.

The last stop was in the Bronx, about half way up an enormous hill that crests at the Washington Bridge. Not the George Washington, just the Washington. This is a roadway that sits far above the Hudson, just east of 181st. It is a bridge between Manhattan and the Bronx.

As I exited the bus, I decided I would use my feet to get me the rest of the way to the 178th Street terminal. I would encounter no other pampered middle- aged Jewish men on this walk. In the way in which only those of us who have been forever spoiled could feel pride for not being intimidated by being alone in neighborhoods in which we are the minority, I journeyed up the hill and then left the Bronx by foot.

I had no Richie to distract me from focusing on how high above the water the Washington sits. Instead, I concentrated on the group of teenagers who were in front of me. One of the boys had the top of his pants sitting about 3 or 4 inches above his knees. There was at least 18 inches of exposed underwear above this. How he was able to walk was anyone's guess.

Completing my trek across this bridge, I took in the sights and sounds of the bustling streets of Manhattan, filled with outside vendors of items like shoes for $2.99 or cut up pineapples. In my universe, it was wonderful and invigorating.

I gave some thought to crossing the 'real' Washington bridge, from New York back to New Jersey by foot, just to make this adventure complete. In the end, I took the Bergenline bus. It dropped me off in the middle of Fort Lee. From there it was but a few minute stroll to my apartment.

I went to a ballgame yesterday. I had a great day. It had nothing to do with baseball.

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