Today we visit the GoodFellas diner film location in Maspeth, Queens for our NYC Stories video
Today we visit the GoodFellas diner film location in Maspeth, Queens for our NYC Stories video. This is where the stars, Robert De Niro and Ray Liotta awaited word of Joe Pesci’s character being named a made man. The diner was originally called the Clinton diner and it is located in Maspeth, Queens.
Today I pay a visit to the site of the old Long Island Baseball Grounds in Maspeth, Queens. Back in the 1800s, up until 1893, the baseball grounds here were home for several years to the New York Cuban Giants. Aside from the Giants a whole host of future hall of famers also played at this ballpark.
Baseball stopped being played here in 1893, but that doesn’t mean that the area doesn’t have a story to tell, and I am here to tell you that story. The Cuban Giants were the first fully salaried African-American professional baseball club. The team was originally formed in 1885 at the Argyle Hotel, a summer resort in Babylon, New York. Initially an independent barnstorming team, they played games against opponents of all types: major and minor league clubs, semiprofessional teams, even college and amateur squads. They would go on to join various short-lived East Coast leagues, and in 1888 became the “World Colored Champions”. Despite their name, no Cubans played on the team. The “Cubes” remained one of the premier Negro league teams for nearly twenty years, and served as a model that future black teams would emulate.
The second and third homes of the Brooklyn Dodgers were in Ridgewood in Queens between 1886 to 1889.
The second and third homes of the Brooklyn Dodgers were in Ridgewood in Queens between 1886 to 1889.
The Brooklyn Dodgers were founded in 1883 by Charles Byrne. Known simply as The Brooklyn’s, the team set up its stadium in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn and called it Washington Park. It was the local reporters that nicknamed the team The Grays, a nickname that was used through 1887 save for the year of 1884, when they were known as The Atlantics.
During the summer of 1886, in order to avoid the blue laws of the city of Brooklyn on the Sabbath, the Brooklyn Grays played 14 Sunday games at Grauer’s Ridgewood Park along with one exhibition game.
As you can see from this map, Grauer’s Ridgewood Park, which is the top arrow, was located just north of where Wallace’s Ridgewood Park was located. This was the second home of the Brooklyn Dodgers, and as I had to pass it in order to get to Wallace’s Ridgewood Park, I also filmed the location of the second home of The Brooklyn Dodgers which was located between Cypress and Seneca Avenues, and George and Weirfield streets.
The cost to play their Sunday games at Grauer’s Ridgewood Park was very high, which cut into any profits that could be made by charging for Sunday admission. The other Ridgewood Park in the area, Wallace’s, had already been playing host to amateur baseball clubs, and had even scheduled a world heavyweight boxing fight featuring John L. Sullivan. While the fight was called off as the pugilists prepared to duke it out, the attendance was still 5,000 men, certainly something to catch the attention of club owners.
Beginning in 1887, The Brooklyn Grays began to play their Sunday games at Wallace’s Ridgewood Park and it would be the site of their third home for the next three seasons. In fact the team was playing there when, in the summer of 1888, six of the Brooklyn players got married. For the remainder of their time at Ridgewood Park they were nicknamed the Brooklyn Bridegrooms, a name that stuck for the next ten years either as the Bridegrooms or simply the Brooklyn Grooms.
In the baseball history books, Wallace’s Ridgewood Park is commonly known as Ridgewood Park 2, with Grauer’s Ridgewood Park being known as Ridgewood Park 1. The area that I am walking in today is now located in Bushwick in Brooklyn, between Wyckoff and Irving Ave’s, and between Halsey and Covert Streets. At the time that the ballpark was located here though, the area was then located in Ridgewood, Queens before the boundaries changed, except for a corner of the stadium right where Halsey and Irving meet, which was located in Brooklyn.
In my John L. Sullivan story, I tell the tale of how the fighters came to box in Queens but were prevented from doing so by the police. A patron then told the fighters that a corner of the stadium was actually located in Brooklyn, and the fighters then agreed to fight in that corner of the stadium. Unfortunately a rat threatened to snitch on them and they were prevented from fighting in Brooklyn as well.
It was 76 years ago today that the Enola Gay dropped an Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima. Last year I visited Hiroshima Peace Park to pay my respects. The video is a one hour tour that starts at the Genbaku Dome and ends at the epicenter of where the bomb detonated.
New York Stories. In today’s episode I pay a visit to the place where McGurk’s Suicide Hall once stood
Over the past year I have been regularly updating my Youtube channel with New York Stories. In today’s episode I pay a visit to the place where McGurk’s Suicide Hall once stood, as well as visiting the place where the first baseball team in America had their headquarters. The latter location also became the Globe Dime Museum which was where Harry Houdini first performed as well as Weber and Fields. While he didn’t debut there, W.C. Fields also worked the Globe Dime Museum when he first came to New York.
We take a Walking in New York City trip today around my neighborhood of Maspeth in Queens. I show you some of the old signs in the area, local stores and we finish with a great conversation with two auto repair shop owners/workers. The business has been around since the 1950’s and the guys were really gracious in talking to me about their cars.
One unexpected surprise during my trip to Japan 日本 has been the wonderful displays of Christmas lights in each city. So far I have taken videos of the Christmas lights of Tokyo 東京, Osaka and Hiroshima. You can see all of the videos from the various cities RIGHT HERE.
To be honest I hadn’t expected to film Christmas lights (クリスマスのあかり) in Japan, but I was like a kid in a candy store. I’m an Englishman who lives in New York and over the years all of my family has passed away, so Christmas isn’t really an event that I celebrate. However, being in Japan made me feel like a kid again. Just click the play button in the video below.
In the video above I went to Roppongi Hills ( 六本木ヒルズ ) in Tokyo and also visited the Mohri Garden. As you will see in the images below, the display is stunning.
Here is the first of many posts from my 2020/21 trip to Japan. In this first video I go to Senso-Ji on the first morning
Here is the first of many posts from my 2019/20 trip to Japan. In this first video I go to Senso-Ji on the first morning attempting to catch the Temple at sunrise. Unfortunately the light just went from dark to light without much of a sunrise, but the video does show Senso-Ji without all of the crowds.
Click the center of the image below to start the video.
First of all I wrote about my journey to Tokyo (LINK), which I then followed up with two posts about the Naruko Tenjin Shrine (POST 1) and (POST 2). For the fourth post I skipped ahead
First of all I wrote about my journey to Tokyo (LINK), which I then followed up with two posts about the Naruko Tenjin Shrine (POST 1) and (POST 2). For the fourth post I skipped ahead and talked about watching the punk idol band, BiSH twice while I was in Tokyo (LINK).
So now I will go back to chronological order and cover my first trip into Tokyo on my fourth day. Now that may seem strange but on days two and three I attended Rockabilly shows so the first weekend was tied up taking it easy after the journey and then partying for two nights.
On the first Monday I headed into the center of Tokyo to pay a visit to Edo Castle and the Imperial palace. Now on the journey there I did get a good laugh. From my knowledge of Japanese culture tattoos are frowned upon, especially by the older generation. On the subway to Otemachi I kept checking the on board map, obviously the system is new to me as is the city. Two stops before my destination an older man asked me if I needed help, I was okay so I thanked him for his offer and then he pointed at my arm and said “Elvis Presley”.
My experience to this point had been virtually everyone avoiding eye contact with me with people staring out of the corner of their eyes. Other than the children, they are quite happy to stare full on to the bald headed tattooed man 🙂 So I was delighted that someone made contact with me, but at the same part annoyed because I was getting off in one more stop.
The day was gorgeous, it was the middle of November and it was 72 degrees. I did film a few clips that I might splice together, but at the time I hadn’t really planned to do any filming. My first port of call after viewing the opening garden was to try and find a drink. With it being a nice day combined with the fact that I have throat problems, I needed to make sure that I had some liquid. Fortunately there was a little hut with a vending machine and I noticed some coffee. Now I don’t really like cold coffee but I did want some caffeine, so coffee it was. Imagine my surprise when the can of coffee came out nice and hot.
Yes, hot coffee from a vending machine. Now I was set for my journey.
In the second picture in this post I am taking a selfie in front of some old soldiers barracks. Before I did that I stood patiently awaiting my turn at the gate as a fellow American took 600 or so photos. Then he did something that made my mouth open, as if he hadn’t taken enough photos with his $1,000 camera, the guy then steps over the gate with the clear sign in English on it saying “Please do not enter beyond here”. It took a few seconds as he walked in the restricted area when he caught sight of me, took more pics then stepped in the flower bed and bent the bush back at the side of the gate.
The first thought that entered my mind was the thoughts of the Japanese people nearby, this dude just single-handedly put all of us tourists in the ugly American boat. I was able to capture some great photos with my $200 digital camera, so I know damn well that his could capture dust if it really wanted to. So disrespectful.
So I didn’t make it all the way to the Imperial palace, the activities the night before caught up to me. But I walked and walked and walked, even paying 500 Yen to enter a garden that I had no intention of seeing, lol. It was nice to look at though.
As I left I decided to take one more selfie, and I’m so glad that I did. This selfie with the Ote-Mon gate behind me beyond the moat became my go to profile pic on all of my social media platforms.