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Thread: HBO 2007 Documentary on Brooklyn Dodgers, "The Ghosts Of Flatbush"

  1. #21
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    Ah milladrive..Wouldn't the costs of building the egree and ingress at Atlantic/Flatbush as well as highways feeding in part of the costs to the NYC taxpayers the project woud have cost whereas the Flushing Meadows sight already has these things in place?
    Last edited by MATHA531; 03-25-2012 at 01:28 PM.

  2. #22
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    No doubt, the site at Flushing Meadows was already in place since 1938, and it cost virtually nothing to prepare the land for a ballpark 25 years later. And I must admit, by the early 1960s, Moses was falling from grace, to which his unfinished projects can attest (Sheridan Expressway, Prospect Expressway, Clearview Expressway, Seaford-Oyster Bay Expressway, etc.).

    On the other hand, the exchanges between O'Malley and Moses began well before the Dodgers finally won in '55, when Moses was still in full control of what and what didn't get built. Did Robert care about the cost in the Bronx when he literally cut a straight deep swath through bedrock upon which neighborhoods had been generational? Did he care about the folks who once lived on Horace Harding Blvd? Looking at a map, and considering all Moses had built already, it doesn't seem like a reach to think he could've built a highway from JFK along S. Conduit and straight across the already-widened Atlantic Avenue. To this day, I wish a highway like that existed.

    I believe that, by the mid-1950s, Moses had already cost the city taxpayers plenty, and, imo, the highways I would propose would've been viewed by the city at the time as yet another Robert Moses highway-building project in south Queens and Brooklyn. Needless to say, to this day, it's a pain in the neck to get from JFK to downtown Brooklyn by car. As Ed intimated above, if Moses had felt it was important enough, those highways would've been built and O'Malley would have most likely built his dream park in Brooklyn instead of LA. Had Moses not been adamant about "Flushing or Nothing," we may be following the Los Angeles Senators and the Minnesota Giants. I'm not saying O'Malley was an innocent bystander, and sure, he could've brought the "New York Dodgers" to Queens, but the fact remains that he (and every other land owner in New York) had to get on his knees in front of holier-than-thou Moses to plead his case. Being dismissed time and again, I find it understandable why O'Malley had had enough. Even Mayor Wagner, as you know, had no power to tell Moses what he could and couldn't build. Moses had the final word for over four decades. Unfortunately, Moses wasn't greedy for money. His greed was for power.

    As for the exits and entrances, they would have most likely been the usual short exit and even shorter acceleration ramps he'd been designing in the city for years (unlike Long Island, Westchester, SW Connecticut, and Niagara Falls, which had, for the most part, enough land to build those dreaded clover-leaves we all despise [and are still too short]). Anyone who's ever driven to the Brooklyn courthouses knows that for Moses, egressions and ingressions were trivial matters. One look at the FDR Expressway, the Cross Bronx Expressway, or that monstrosity of an interchange with the Van Wyck, Grand Central, Jackie Rob, Queens Blvd, Main Street, and Union Turnpike, and it becomes evident that getting on and off were the least of Moses' design issues. Either that, or he was on some serious medications, heh.

    However, to return to your original point in the above post, you're right, the Northern Blvd bypass was much easier to build than the highways I would've advocated. As well, as I hinted earlier, it's much easier to get to Flushing from both NYC airports than it would've been (and still is) to get to downtown Brooklyn. So, in that regard, I'll agree that Flushing was a good choice, especially since air travel quickly became the transport of choice (rather than the trains and buses). Ironically enough, that same jet age made it possible for teams to routinely travel to and from the west coast.

    Btw, I didn't know that fact about the meeting that would've taken place were it not for WWII. That, imho, is a truly fascinating fact!
    "And their chances of getting back into this ballgame are growing dimmer by the batter."


    Put it in the books.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by milladrive View Post

    Btw, I didn't know that fact about the meeting that would've taken place were it not for WWII. That, imho, is a truly fascinating fact!
    The AL meetings did take place a few days after Pearl Harbor. The convential wisdom is that the AL teams would have OKed a Browns move to LA except for the war. Newspaper accounts from the period don't make it sound like such a slam dunk though. It sounds like may have been a topic that would have been studied to death, and in the pst war period the Browns made two well publicised attempts to move to LA but the PCL put up so many roadblocks that moving to LA would been a bad financial move for the Browns. Even if the Browns had moved to LA I think the Dodgers may have moved there as well, especially if the Browns continued being a bad team.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by milladrive View Post
    No doubt, the site at Flushing Meadows was already in place since 1938, and it cost virtually nothing to prepare the land for a ballpark 25 years later. And I must admit, by the early 1960s, Moses was falling from grace, to which his unfinished projects can attest (Sheridan Expressway, Prospect Expressway, Clearview Expressway, Seaford-Oyster Bay Expressway, etc.).

    On the other hand, the exchanges between O'Malley and Moses began well before the Dodgers finally won in '55, when Moses was still in full control of what and what didn't get built. Did Robert care about the cost in the Bronx when he literally cut a straight deep swath through bedrock upon which neighborhoods had been generational? Did he care about the folks who once lived on Horace Harding Blvd? Looking at a map, and considering all Moses had built already, it doesn't seem like a reach to think he could've built a highway from JFK along S. Conduit and straight across the already-widened Atlantic Avenue. To this day, I wish a highway like that existed.

    I believe that, by the mid-1950s, Moses had already cost the city taxpayers plenty, and, imo, the highways I would propose would've been viewed by the city at the time as yet another Robert Moses highway-building project in south Queens and Brooklyn. Needless to say, to this day, it's a pain in the neck to get from JFK to downtown Brooklyn by car. As Ed intimated above, if Moses had felt it was important enough, those highways would've been built and O'Malley would have most likely built his dream park in Brooklyn instead of LA. Had Moses not been adamant about "Flushing or Nothing," we may be following the Los Angeles Senators and the Minnesota Giants. I'm not saying O'Malley was an innocent bystander, and sure, he could've brought the "New York Dodgers" to Queens, but the fact remains that he (and every other land owner in New York) had to get on his knees in front of holier-than-thou Moses to plead his case. Being dismissed time and again, I find it understandable why O'Malley had had enough. Even Mayor Wagner, as you know, had no power to tell Moses what he could and couldn't build. Moses had the final word for over four decades. Unfortunately, Moses wasn't greedy for money. His greed was for power.

    As for the exits and entrances, they would have most likely been the usual short exit and even shorter acceleration ramps he'd been designing in the city for years (unlike Long Island, Westchester, SW Connecticut, and Niagara Falls, which had, for the most part, enough land to build those dreaded clover-leaves we all despise [and are still too short]). Anyone who's ever driven to the Brooklyn courthouses knows that for Moses, egressions and ingressions were trivial matters. One look at the FDR Expressway, the Cross Bronx Expressway, or that monstrosity of an interchange with the Van Wyck, Grand Central, Jackie Rob, Queens Blvd, Main Street, and Union Turnpike, and it becomes evident that getting on and off were the least of Moses' design issues. Either that, or he was on some serious medications, heh.

    However, to return to your original point in the above post, you're right, the Northern Blvd bypass was much easier to build than the highways I would've advocated. As well, as I hinted earlier, it's much easier to get to Flushing from both NYC airports than it would've been (and still is) to get to downtown Brooklyn. So, in that regard, I'll agree that Flushing was a good choice, especially since air travel quickly became the transport of choice (rather than the trains and buses). Ironically enough, that same jet age made it possible for teams to routinely travel to and from the west coast.

    Btw, I didn't know that fact about the meeting that would've taken place were it not for WWII. That, imho, is a truly fascinating fact!
    Just out of curiosity, did you read the article I linked to above? The question really comes down to what one thinks are the obligations of a municipality to a sports franchise owner. I believe, and always will, the Los Angeles offer to O'Malley was totally unfair to the taxpayers of that area for a variety of reasons and quite frankly there was really not all that much NYC could have done short of giving in to Mr. O'Malley's demands that he had to own his ballpark (which was not the norm at the time as all the other franchise shiftees ended up playing in municipal owned Stadii. One also has to question whether O'Malley really thought there was much of a chance of getting his way on Atlantic/Flatbush and whether you believe in the question of eminent domain laws or not, the fact is that even if Moses had been favorably inclined to go along, the lawsuits would have held up the project for the better part of the next decade; this is very clear from what has happend with the Barclay Center project today and how long it took to clear all the lawsuits and this one, at least, had a semblance of including other things besides a privately owned arena for the Nets.

    The reality is, as I read somewhere in one of the pro O'Malley books Ive read, when the Dodgers returning from Japan stopped off in Los Angeles after the 1956 seasson and O'Malley flew over the Chavez Ravine site, the story is he told the LA city officials he was coming and made all the moves necessary during the winter of 1956-57 yet kept lying to the Brooklyn fans to protect his gate.

    I respectfully disagree with Ed and you on one matter. The Dodgers were in no imminent danger of ceasing to be a profitable enterprise. Their radio/tv contracts including pre and post game shows on television and on radio were bringing in lots of money and WOR-TV was not going to foresake its baseball coverge for Million Dollar Movie (a second or third run movie, the same movie, they showed every night when they didn't have a Dodger game) and Milwaukee's income because of its limited television market was never gong to equal theirs. The distressing thing was how baseball kept claiming it was a sport and deserved its anti trust exemption and there was some loyalty among baseball owners because as you probably know, after the 2 NL teams left NY, attempts were made to solicit interest from other franchises which were making a fraction of what the Dodgers had been making and their owners said sorry but we have loyalties to our home towns.

    I still, and will always believe, that yes Moses' thirst for power played a role in this but still does not come close to that of O'Malley, of President Warren Giles of the NL who at the meeting on that fatefgul Friday evening in May 1957 when it was announced the Dodgers and Giants had been given permission to move to California, declared the NL did not need New York and of Commissioner Ford C. Frick, a closet Yankee fan who was trusted to act for the good of baseball who simply declared let them grow up to be Yankee fans. Flushing Meadows was a perfectly viable solution as would have been the later solution to the Cleveland Browns. If baseball were so intent on allowing the Dodgers and Giants to re-locate, their histories should have remained here (I for one don't get as upset as others when the Mets lay claim to NL baseball history in New York even predating the Mets although one can argue there is too much emphasis on the Dodgers and not enough on the Giants).

    To me it will always rank, and I don't think the HBO special made that clear, as one of the darkest moments in baseball history when a fan base were told to go take a hike despite making the owner the richest owner in baseball.

    At least, that's my opinion (without any historonics).

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by MATHA531 View Post
    To me it will always rank, and I don't think the HBO special made that clear, as one of the darkest moments in baseball history when a fan base were told to go take a hike despite making the owner the richest owner in baseball.

    At least, that's my opinion (without any historonics).
    I have a hard time that O'Malley was a rich owner while in Brooklyn. The only rich owners in the 1950s were men who were already independently wealthy. I don't think any owner whose main source of income was a baseball team was getting rich in the 1950s.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdTarbusz View Post
    I have a hard time that O'Malley was a rich owner while in Brooklyn. The only rich owners in the 1950s were men who were already independently wealthy. I don't think any owner whose main source of income was a baseball team was getting rich in the 1950s.
    Let's put it this way; he was doing quite well...after a bitter fight with Branch Rickey, he had acquired a very large chunk of the Dodgers and as noted through this era the Brooklyn franchise was the biggest money maker in baseball and again where our views diverge, there was little danger of that changing in the near future of that era thanks to that growing medium called television.

    That hasn't changed in this country. Where do you think the bulk of NFL revenue comes from?

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by MATHA531 View Post
    Let's put it this way; he was doing quite well...after a bitter fight with Branch Rickey, he had acquired a very large chunk of the Dodgers and as noted through this era the Brooklyn franchise was the biggest money maker in baseball and again where our views diverge, there was little danger of that changing in the near future of that era thanks to that growing medium called television.

    That hasn't changed in this country. Where do you think the bulk of NFL revenue comes from?
    The Dodgers were making a lot of money, but they also had a big overhead mainly because their extensive farm system. They also had a lot of World Series money. With an aging lsoing the World Series money had to be a concern for club officials.

  8. #28
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    Yes, I read the thesis. Nothing like revising revisionism to create equalization.

    The fact remains, though, that regardless of the opposition or support either "side" was receiving at the time -- Moses still had absolute power and the final word in the mid 1950s. I will continue to assert that all Moses had to do was to say yes and it would have been. I said it before I'd ever read Caro's The Power Broker, and I was still saying it long before HBO's 2007 documentary.

    No, Moses didn't force the Dodgers to move to the city of Los Angeles, and, in fact, he eventually got what he wanted with the building of Shea Stadium, but the only thing the arguably most powerful man in NYC history had to do was approve O'Malley's constant pleas to build a new park in Brooklyn at the former engineer's adopted location.

    Sure, driving to Atlantic and Flatbush from Long Island, as one interviewee claimed, was indeed a "shlep." It still is. However, driving to Atlantic and Flatbush was and is still easier to get to by car than it is to Bedford and Sullivan. I fully believe that the biggest mistake O'Malley made in his numerous claims to the all-powerful wholly Moses was to NOT include a request for an Atlantic Expressway through Queens and Brooklyn. It certainly wouldn't have been as major a project as was the Cross Bronx and would have affected many fewer people. In fact, Atlantic Avenue is [still wide enough for a limited access highway (thanks to the median once used for trolleys and subways). Instead, O'Malley didn't think of it, and Moses had his own ideas. And for over 40 years Robert Moses got what he wanted without any authority to whom to answer (despite whatever consensus supported his denials).

    Imo, both were guilty of being bullheaded, but add my suggestions for the Atlantic Expressway and perhaps a spur up 3rd Avenue from the BQE -- the primary appeals I believe O'Malley failed to make -- and it just may have happened. No matter how it's sliced, though, the fact remains as is asserted in the documentary. Indeed, all Robert Moses had to do was say YES.

    Btw, finances of "corruptorate" (my own word) figures are not my strong point. Taxes and tolls are paid, the lawmakers come up with them and the taxpayers pay them. The numbers are simply too high for me (and most of the general population) to comprehend. I do know, however, that, partly due to the New York Mets, the pendulum swung back soon enough. So, perhaps the taxes and profits gained and/or lost by all concerned in this saga shouldn't be part of the equation this many years down the road.

    Btw, does anyone want a copy of The Ghosts Of Flatbush free of charge? Just PM me.

    Last edited by milladrive; 04-03-2012 at 01:42 PM.
    "And their chances of getting back into this ballgame are growing dimmer by the batter."


    Put it in the books.

  9. #29
    ...well,.... it looks as though some folks did......watch it ...that is.....interesting discussion.....still no conclusion.....

  10. #30
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    Just for everyone's info, I changed the title of this thread because it's no longer available "On Demand" at HBO, and, being an HBO documentary created in 2007, I felt the new title was more appropriate.

    Incidentally, my DVD offer is still (and always will be) open to anyone who desires a copy.
    "And their chances of getting back into this ballgame are growing dimmer by the batter."


    Put it in the books.

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