Though I grew up in a town of 9,000 on North Carolina’s coast, I’ve felt at home in New York since I was a teenager in the 1980s. My family took a trip there and we stayed on Central Park South. While my parents were looking the other way, I went down to Paragon Sporting Goods at Union Square to get a new pair of baseball cleats.
In 10th grade, my English teacher assigned me Bernard Malamud’s The Natural because he knew I loved baseball. Then he assigned me Malamud’s The Magic Barrel, a collection of stories set in a Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn. Thirty years later I consider it one of the best story collections in American literature. My wife gave me a hardback copy of it for my birthday two weeks ago.
When I’m in New York my relationship with WFAN sports radio changes. I can pick up their signal clearly all day, whereas in North Carolina I can receive it only after dark, and sometimes I have to turn the radio sideways and upside down to get it clearly. I prefer the distance, the static, perhaps for the same reason I like vinyl records.
The daytime hosts and callers are irritating chatterers. I prefer the isolated nocturnal moods. I feel like I have access, however slight, to the standing-room-only sections of Ebbets Field and the Polo Grounds.
Credit: Casey Holford