In the summer of 1962, New York fell in love with a man named Marvin Throneberry. A subpar first baseman who had washed out with the Yankees, he was sliding toward early retirement when he was rescued by the fledgling New York Mets. As thanks, he played worse than ever before—once getting called out on a triple for failing to step on first and second base—but each time “Marvelous” Marv came to the plate, the city chanted: “cranberry, strawberry, we love Throneberry!”
It was a third-rate chant for a third-rate player, but in the Mets’ first season, it didn’t take much to make the fans cheer. The team was on its way to 120 losses—a baseball record that stands to this day—but with the Dodgers and Giants five years gone, New York was desperate for something to scream about. Throneberry’s Mets were more than lovable losers—they were spectacular. “Name one loyal American,” writes Jimmy Breslin, in Can’t Anybody Here Play This Game? (Ivan R. Dee, 128 pp., $12.95) “who can say he does not love a team which loses 120 games in one season.” Published 50 years ago this week, this beautiful little book remains the ur-text for Metsian blundering. Here is the franchise’s origin story, writ in Mr. Breslin’s trademark barroom prose and cast with enough devils, heroes and clowns to fill out a pantomime of Faust. They are gamblers, toughs and crusty baseball lifers whom Mr. Breslin rallies in opposition to “the era of the businessman in sports,” when America’s postwar success led to a “dry and agonizing” focus on the bottom line.
On May 25, 1979—the first day his mother allowed him to walk to the bus stop alone—6-year-old Etan Patz went missing just blocks from his parents’ Soho loft. The case roused the fears of the nation and changed the way parents raised their children. In the days and months after, the full force of the New York press was trained on the family. The case became as much of a media phenomenon as a police investigation.
Despite thousands of man hours on the part of law enforcement, and the identification of at least one suspect in 1990—a convicted child molester named José Ramos, currently in prison in Pennsylvania on other charges—no arrests have been made in the Patz case. Last week, the FBI and NYPD excavated a basement on Prince Street, just one block from the Patzes’ apartment, and once again the media descended on the family. Law enforcement officials are analyzing a stain they found, but so far they have “nothing conclusive.”
On the slim chance that Etan would find his way home, the Patzes have never moved or changed their telephone number, and each time a possible development arises, a new onslaught of reporters arrives at their door. In the 33 years since the disappearance, the Patzes have lived with the media as a fact of their life. We talked to reporters and editors who covered the case in its first year.
In September, retail brokerage veteran Patrick Breslin joined Studley as executive vice president of East Coast Retail Services, a division that, until now, the international real estate firm never had reason to focus on. The former president of Grubb & Ellis’s U.S. retail division and a retail broker at CBRE, Mr. Breslin, 50, spoke about his strategy at the International Council of Shopping Centers this week, his goals for Studley’s new East Coast Retail division and father Jimmy Breslin’s views on commercial real estate.
In this summer of our discontent, a season of buckling banks and wheezing newspapers, it might be well to remember that as far as crisis years go, 2009 is a wimp. But when it comes to New York City, disaster breeds resurrection.
As in: 40 years ago, 1969. Richard Nixon had been elected president Read More
5:30 p.m. Robert Kahn will sign copies of his new book, Movies: The Ultimate Insider’s Guide at Rizzoli Bookstore, 31 West 57th Street.
6 p.m. The Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis at The New School will host a discussion with Professor Robert Shiller to discuss his upcoming book, Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Read More
From The Real Deal: "Legendary New York journalist Jimmy Breslin and his wife, former City Council member Ronnie Eldridge, paid $1.65 million for an apartment in the troubled Kent Swig condominium conversion Sheffield57, south of Columbus Circle. The purchase at the 58-story tower at 322 West 57th Street, between Eighth and Ninth avenues, closed Read More
THE GOOD RAT
By Jimmy Breslin
Ecco, 270 Pages, $24.95
It starts with a kiss. In the opening lines of Jimmy Breslin’s The Good Rat, the consummate mob reporter is practicing his smooching in the mirror: “If you kiss,” he says, “it is a real sign that you’re in the outfit.” And Read More
Larry Levy thinks there’s a limit to what can be learned from all the Bloomberg ’08 news stories.
"Even if you had a source saying Michael Bloomberg said he is running, the best thing you have is a source saying that Bloomberg has said he is running," the former Newsday columnist told me Read More
Norman Mailer was at Bobby Kennedy’s wake in 1968 when he lit a woman’s hair on fire with a candle.
It was an accident, but that didn’t count for much when the woman’s hair started to sizzle and Mailer and his friend Jimmy Breslin started pounding her over the head in an attempt to Read More
Election afternoon was no sweat, from where Jimmy Breslin was sitting. “Kerry’s winning,” Mr. Breslin said on the phone. “He’s gonna win good. How could I be wrong?”
The columnist hadn’t seen the first purported exit-poll results, which had Senator John Kerry surging to victory by unimagined margins (60-40 in Pennsylvania?). Nor would he be Read More