Monday, January 5, 2009

Not My Usual Feminist Claptrap

Today's rant is not my usual feminist claptrap, but rather Yankee Stadium. I take the 4 train to Lehman College and every single time I and my fellow riders zip up into the sunlight to 161st Street, there they are. The twin stadiums. This in one of the poorest Congressional districts of the entire country, just a few miles north of the richest Congressional district in this country, and I'm talking about Park Avenue. Read Amazing Grace by Jonathan Kozol. He tells the story.


There they are.

The twin stadiums. One is old. The other is new. Very good. We can build stadiums really fast. But what about high schools? I know the argument--- or at least I think I do--- all the revenue baseball generates, right--- all those jobs, all those ticket sales, all those hot dogs, beer, souvenirs. I'm sure the list is exhaustive. I'm sure the argument has validity.

I'm just asking what about high schools? What about planting some trees? How about a hospital where sick people don't have to wait three days for a clean room--- no blood on the sheets. I'm not making this up. Again, read Jonathan Kozol. If you do you might also wonder at the giant redundancy on 161st Street.

Not one, but two baseball stadiums rising up out of the earth. Shimmering in the sunlight. Like two Taj Mahals. Xanadu. The Promised Land. Now I can read in reverse, YANKEE STADIUM or EEKNAY MUIDAST. Yet, my freshman students, who went to Bronx high schools, tell some harrowing stories: they're like jails, the text books are ripped and missing pages, classes are held in hallways and stairwells.

I do hear stories about great teachers. This is about the CITY who builds a baseball stadium but neglects education and health care. It drives me crazy. It has driven me crazy from the moment they broke ground. I just couldn't believe it.

I think its great to invest in the Yankees. They're a New York institution. But I've taught in the Bronx since 2002 and honestly the place could use some trees, some grass, some housing, some schools and decent medical facilities. AND a Starbucks. But mostly schools.

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