Pro Football

January 12th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

HG has been a fan of professional football for many, many decades. As a youngster, HG would be glued to the radio listening to the play-by-play feats of New York GiantsTuffy Leemans, Ward Cuff, Mel Hein, Al Blozis, Hank Soar and other heroes. When HG was a journalist in the 50’s, HG often attended Giants games and wrote “color” reports about them for Hearst Pre Date Services, a Hearst syndicate utilized by weekly newspapers. Best football players HG ever saw: Running backs Jim Brown and Marion Motley of the Cleveland Browns; Defensive back and punt returner Emlen Tunnell; and Arnie Weinmeister, defensive tackle,both of the New York Giants.. HG may be accused of old fogeyism, but HG preferred the old style pro football. Yes, today’s players are bigger, faster, more skilled. But, the level of violence is unacceptable. And, many players face Early Alzheirmer’s and other ailments after retirement. HG thought about this while watching a vicious, disgraceful game: the wild card playoff between the Steelers and Bengals. Helmet-to-helmet spearing. Punching. Cheap shots. The NFL has to review this and make appropriate reforms. There was one, happy memorable moment–the extraordinary, acrobatic touchdown catch by Pittsburgh’s Martevis Bryant. That’s one of the reasons to watch pro football–not to get a vicarious thrill out of brutality.


The Men’s

January 2nd, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

The door is marked “MEN” (sometimes “GENTLEMEN”). It is the sign of the men’s bathroom, an essential facility in any restaurant (or any other public area, for that matter). Since HG has become an old guy, the presence of a bathroom has become a matter of necessity. Men’s bathrooms vary in quality from sumptuous to vile. In HG’s younger days, better restaurants had bathrooms staffed by courteous attendants who handed visitors towels and soap. There was a bowl for tips. The Algonquin Hotel had a very distinguished attendant and the luxurious bathroom that served the Oak Room of the Plaza Hotel had an attendant with the manners and bearing of a European aristocrat. (HG once shared a visit to the Oak Room bathroom with movie star Cary Grant, a paragon of style and elegance). French bathrooms vary in quality from stylish to serviceable to disgusting (“Turkish” toilets that are holes in the floor). The quality of food served in a restaurant cannot always be judged by the quality of its bathroom. Most New York Chinatown bathrooms are deplorable while the food is splendid. Bathroom attendants maintained anonymity. The exception was the bathroom attendant at New York’s long demolished Polo Grounds, the stadium in north Harlem that once housed the New York football and baseball Giants. The old African-American gent in charge of the men’s room would chant: “No matter how you shake and dance, the last drop always falls in your pants.” He added: “After you’ve had your little pee, don’t forget to remember me. Old Sam”. He was always tipped.


Speaking About the Unspeakable

March 30th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Natural functions being what they are, the bathroom (also known as the sanitary facility, the toilette, the Head, the W.C or the stately “Gentlemen’s Lounge”) is a necessary adjunct to dining, movie going and other pleasurable activity. In HG’s experience, the vilest bathrooms can be found in New York’s Chinatown. The smallest are in coffee bars in Italy. The most inconvenient are in Paris bistros where they are often tucked away in a subterranean alcove. The most luxurious can be found in the best London hotels like the Connaught, Savoy and Dorchester. The Oak Room of the Plaza Hotel in New York had a splendid bathroom supervised by a deft and distinguished attendant (The Plaza has undergone vast changes and HG hasn’t visited the Oak Room for decades so this may no longer be true). HG had a memorable experience in that bathroom. The super debonair actor Cary Grant (a frequent Oak Room diner) entered the bathroom with HG. Unlike HG, he did not remove his jacket. Instead, Grant unbuttoned the buttons on the jacket’s sleeves, did a quick fold and washed his hands. HG was dazzled, having long believed that sleeve buttons were merely decorative. From that time on, HG went to the extra expense of having his suit jackets tailored with operable buttons. The most architecturally distinguished bathroom HG ever encountered was the art deco masterpiece in New York’s Radio City Music Hall. In HG’s recollection, its walls had a mural extolling smoking and tobacco cultivation. It was also the first bathroom with a warm air blower for drying hands. Little HG found this innovation as exciting as any movie and spent far too much time drying and re-drying his hands. Bathroom attendants were usually anonymous personalities, obsequious gents who trolled for tips while handing out towels — but not the old guy at the Polo Grounds, the rickety old uptown New York stadium that once housed the baseball and football NY Giants. He regaled his customers with this bit of doggerel: “No matter how you shake and dance, the last drop always falls in your pants.” And he was not shy about promoting tips, singing out “After you’ve had your little pee, don’t forget to remember me — old Sam.”

Polo Grounds Nostalgia.

October 5th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Baseball playoffs. World Series. Pro football. Sports and autumn colors are in the air. HG has heard rumors of much improved food at various stadiums. Upscale stuff. Old fogey HG is suspicious. Still believes the best stadium food is the traditional hot dog. A great one was served at the late, lamented Polo Grounds. The Polo Grounds was located in Manhattan’s upper Harlem neighborhood, West 155th Street (Coogan’s Bluff). It was a lovable, rickety place filled with history. It was the home of the New York Football Giants and Baseball Giants. It was where Bobby Thompson of the Giants hit his home run off Ralph Branca of the Brooklyn Dodgers — “The Shot Heard Round The World” — that put the Giants in the World Series. HG had many great Polo Grounds experiences watching Mel Ott, Emlen Tunnel and many other heroic figures.

The busy men’s bathroom had an attendant — Old Sam. HG never forgot his chant: “No matter how you shake and dance the last drop always falls in your
pants. After you’ve had your little pee, don’t forget to remember me — Old Sam.”

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