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Jason Fry and Greg Prince
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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Glory Be

You have seven weeks to get done what Stephanie and I hadn't gotten around to until yesterday. You have seven weeks to make your way uptown to the Museum of the City of New York and take in the glories of Glory Days: New York Baseball 1947-1957. You will not be disappointed.

While I can't say I learned a whole lot new Saturday on a broad subject whose many facets I've been studying for 35 years, it was fantastic to see so much of it on display. Lots of mementoes, lots of memories, lots of context, lots of Giants, lots of Dodgers, not too suffocating an amount of Yankees and, for completion's sake, a legitimate dollop of Metsies at the end. This exhibition held old men who lived it and little kids who hadn't the vaguest in its thrall. Us too. MCNY always puts on a great show. This one runs to the end of the year. If you like baseball enough to read this blog, you'll will want to make it to this museum.

And goodness knows you will want to drop 20 bucks in the gift shop or online for a book called Shea Stadium: Images of Baseball by Jason D. Antos. This is not a coffee table book and it's not a factually flawless history, but it's awesome to look at and Amazin' fun to read. It's loaded with black & white pictures from across the decades, particularly the building of Shea and what was there before there was a Shea.

Shea, too, is a subject I've been studying for an awfully long time yet I learned things that I never knew before. I didn't know from Ned's Diner or the coal plant or what the concession stands looked like under construction and I hadn't seen a WAPP-FM backstage pass for the Who or Louis Armstrong in a Mets cap or what everybody was wearing to the Flushing Boys Club Luncheon in 1975. Antos, a chronicler of Queens history, pulls in the underdiscovered wonders of the Corona-Flushing neighborhood and Shea's multiple purposes and arranges his own enthralling exhibition…probably the best exhibition involving the Mets since the first Mayor's Trophy Game.

11 comments to Glory Be

  • Anonymous

    I'm glad you had the chance to see the exhibit. You're right – the MCNY always puts on fabulous exhibits, and this one is truly a gem :)

  • Anonymous

    Gotta go-Gotta go-Gotta go!

  • Anonymous

    Greg,
    Too bad that the publisher inserted within the cover's black and white picture of a packed Shea a color photo of Joe Torre on opening day showing four levels of completely empty seats.

  • Anonymous

    During the two seasons the Mets played at Polo Grounds and Shea was getting built, I was 11 – 12 years old and living just a few blocks from “M & R” as the cabbies say, the epicenter of downtown Flushing.
    I frequently walked down Roosevelt to the point where I could see the construction. The steel, the scaffolding, the cement. Finally, seats piled outside the site. Of course, this was happening in the context of World's Fair construction, with both opening the same time.
    There's good Shea footage circa 1965 in the Beatles Anthology DVD. Original seat colors and outfield dimensions. It's a good way to get a sniff of Shea when it was just over a year old. IIRC, it was the largest crowd the Beatles ever played before.

  • Anonymous

    That was a strange choice, though a serendipitously topical one for what it's worth. It's listed as the '78 opener, but I don't think the Marlboro sign in left field was there until late '79 (there was a message board attached that was the precursor to DiamondVision; it featured races between dots that were supposed to be baseballs). That would make it '80 before the renovation that replaced the seats which are clearly the old ones. On the other hand, attendance for both Home Openers was dreadful, so it could have been either year judging by the “crowd”.
    And aren't horseshoes, even floral iterations like that Bill Shea is presenting Torre, supposed to be turned upward so the luck doesn't run out?

  • Anonymous

    That is great footage, Beatles playing “I'm Down,” if I recall. According to the Antos book, the '66 concert was played with 11,000 seats going wanting, which is suprising to say the least.
    Also pictured, FYI, is a car flying through the air at the Polo Grounds in 1942. It was a stunt of some sort.

  • Anonymous

    My bad – It was 66, not 65. I turned down a free ticket thinking I wouldn't hear a thing beyond the screams. Sure enough, no one heard a thing.

  • Anonymous

    They played in '65 and '66. Novelty wear off the second time around, given the 11,000 empty seats? Or had word gotten out (above the din) that people couldn't hear?

  • Anonymous

    Word had to have gotten out. How could I come up with that rationale for not going at 15 years old ?

  • Anonymous

    I saw the exhibit when it first opened and was duly impressed. MCNY is one of my favorite museums in this city and I'm always surprised that so few people know about it. Hopefully this exhibit puts it on the map.

  • Anonymous

    Lest I forget, I played Flushing Boys Club softball for the Chemical Bank sponsored team at PS 20 yard in 62 and 63.