Saturday, October 10, 2009


by Jose Antonio Otero (NWM Staff Writer)

As the leaves change color and begin to clutter the sidewalks it only means one thing. It is fall and the lights will be on tonight. 

For the past fifteen years or so since a skinny kid from Kalamazoo wearing number "2" came to town, it has almost been a right of passage.

When the sun goes down on these cool autumn nights, you see the traffic build almost to a complete halt under the 4 train on Mt. Eden. Plates from Connecticut, New Jersey and from as far as Ontario become the normal on the Jerome Avenue exit of I95. That can only mean one thing... October baseball at Yankee Stadium.

For as far back as I can remember, those lights meant that the Yankees were fighting for another championship. Business is booming in the Bronx and only those from the outer boroughs would be the ones filling the seats on River Ave. Those who are "fortunate" enough to live right across the street from the stadium would have to spend two months worth of wages to get a seat in the lights.

I live right around the corner from the I95 exit, about a 20 minute walk from the Stadium. The only way many of the people in the Bronx could see a playoff game in person would be from standing on the roof-tops surrounding the stadium looking down into the bowl where the little square patch of green is speckled with white and black dots. So small but those lights shine like no other.

The storefronts all have TV's in the windows. All of the radios are tuned into the game, and everyone is aware of every play as it happens. The roar of the crowd could be heard all the way from my coop, about a mile and a half away. It can be heard over the trains, sirens and the planes overhead. That explosion of the cheering fans letting the world know that we scored a run, one step closer to the final destination.

The blimps circle that cone of light at the bottom of the hill in the shadow of the Bronx Courthouse on the Grand Concourse. Entire buildings shake as the F-15's buzz the "House that Ruth Built" and George tore down. Every window in my house rattled from the fly-over. Those lights can be seen anywhere in the Bronx, most of Manhattan and even in New Jersey. 

Those lights... those wonderful lights. They represent the best and the worst that The Bronx has to offer. Forget the Bronx Zoo, Botanical Gardens, Poe Park, Fordham University and the Bronx Museum of the Arts. It is October and the lights are on!

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