Remembering, and Forgetting, Shea Stadium
If I were in the family of Bill Shea, the lawyer responsible for bringing National League baseball back to New York after the Giants and Dodgers left in 1957, I'd be relieved that the "landmark" named after him was finally demolished.
As a native Flushingite, I'm just happy happy to see Shea Stadium go.
Shea was built in a dump, and has remained dumpy since it opened in 1964. Worse still, the stadium was a "gift" to New York baseball fans from infamous demagogue and city planner Robert Moses.
Moses' vision for New York was one of exclusion and utilitarianism. Shea Stadium embodies both of those ideals.
Moses looked down his nose at the common citizen. Baseball fans are usually middle-class—and Moses saw no need to build anything more than a cookie-cutter concrete cavern to house the brutish ingrates.
He succeeded in doing just that with Shea Stadium.
The coup de grace came when Moses built his hellish monstrosity in the refuse corridor between Flushing and Corona, on a site intersected by three of his beloved highways—the Grand Central Parkway, the LIE, and the Van Wyck.
Shea was built to alleviate the horrid stench that emanated from the dumps occupying the area—the World's Fair was in session, after all, and the last thing visitors needed was to be subjected to the smell of garbage.
Moses sold the public on the location by citing its accessibility via car and public transportation. His goal was to move people in and out of the city as quickly as possible.
Nearly 45 years later, all this history is forgotten—and there's a sentimentality campaign focusing on Shea Stadium.
Be thankful for the Mets. Be thankful we had a place to go see them play, as frills-free as it may have been.
And be thankful that place is on its way out.
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