Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Basketball trumps Baseball

I was doing some research for a book involving the early days of baseball, starting in New York City - center of the first professional baseball leagues. The original "Mets" played in the "polo grounds" just north of Central Park. This team spawned as sister team, the Gothams, which became the New York Giants. The home field for the Giants, wherever it moved in the city, became known as the Polo Grounds.

Well, long story short, I did a little searching for the original Polo Grounds (Wikipedia gave the address), and found the plot of land just north of Central park (between 110th and 112th Streets and 5th and 6th Avenues). And there, on these two city blocks, are high rise apartments. In the court yards of the apartment buildings facing 112th streets (opposite the street facing the park) are two outdoor basketball courts! The original "Mets" died after seven years and an attempt by its owner to have a team in both the American and National Associations. The Gothams had been created after the owner of the Metropolitans had chosen to stay independent a little longer.

Anyway, other fields were made, but the original parks (back to back) were torn down to make way for "real life" - but not without a pickup game in the court yard!