First in a series of photographs for our readers enjoyment and peace of mind by Neil Miller
Today’s photo installment is at Shu Swamp Preserve in Mill Neck. A short ride up Route #107 to Chicken Valley Road leads to this private North Shore Park. Peaceful, with many nice walking trails, this pretty park gives you a nice dose of Zen. Good for families, couples or solo, FYI no bikes or pets.
Monday, March 30, 2020: We begin the third week of this Coronavirus Pandemic and isolation period. From this perspective, it has been difficult with adjusting to a new lifestyle of staying home and following procedures to stay safe.
With no sports, a lifestyle here that is a daily ritual, that called for adjustments. Social distancing, washing the hands more often, taking a quick walk to buy essentials, return home, and discover those other things to pass time are a new routine.
Today, this means another day without baseball and Game 4 off the schedule at Citi Field. The Mets were scheduled to open a three game series with the Phillies Monday night.
Instead of preparing the bag for work with necessities of pens, laptop, notepad, information about the teams, a new routine is viewing news and updates regarding the Pandemic on CNN, Fox, local channels. Editors are revising their game plan and we are told to write about a virus and different routines that has put us in unchartered territory.
Tell you the truth, and as much as this sounds off the chart, I would rather be at the ballpark in a few hours after crossing the Whitestone Bridge from the Bronx to Queens. Seeing Citi Field and entering through the Gil Hodges Press Gate would be the routine.
Taking the press elevator, saying hello to security and stadium personnel, watching batting practice on the field by the dugouts, talking to the players, eating a press dining room meal with colleagues, and back to the press box should be the routine.
All ending with a visit to the clubhouses for postgame quotes. And the final culmination is writing, filing that deadline content, returning home, with a similar routine the next day if there was not a postponed game that was caused by inclement weather this time of year.
Baseball is a long season. The routine for the players is the same for us in the press box. We are known as those creatures of habit.
Instead, we are home. Isolation, if adjusted right, becomes a routine and time passes by with some writing, cleaning the closets, watching classic sports highlights. Calling and texting more with family, friends, and neighbors, and we should do that more often with no excuses for a crisis to do so.
Yes, we are a changing society and it came faster than a speeding bullet and strike of lightning. So, up here in the Bronx, in proximity of Pelham Bay Park, it is quiet.
The streets are quiet. Usually this is a boisterous neighborhood with traffic, honk of car horns, sirens of first responders and residents going about their business. Instead, there is silence and dark of one business after another with locks and chains on the door.
Essential stores and pharmacies are open. Restaurants, open during limited hours, have a reduced staff and there for takeout orders, Chairs and tables are uplifted to show they are following regulations of a city in a state of emergency.
You don’t know many, but now we all know each other. We are, as they say, in this together and sharing thoughts about this Pandemic is a form of therapy with different opinions and how we are adjusting to this new norm.
And with exception of the elevated and noisy 6 train, running on a limited schedule, that is the only sound of a neighborhood. Tell you the truth, a quiet neighborhood, without that constant rumble of a train, is good for the hearing.
Buses also are empty as one passes on a normal route. Boarding from the back and not the front, is no longer fare evasion but this is a Pandemic and people are staying home.
So why venture out?
“Need to take that walk and stretch the legs,” said a quiet couple. “We keep our distance from others. We are making the adjustments.”
They wear the protective gloves for the hands and faces are covered with the masks which is also the new norm. But, they, like many, don’t want to compare this to being a prison in our homes. Unfortunate, though, this crisis has left no other options but to stay home and be safe.
The new norm is also cooking the meals at home. Forgot to mention, writers are creative and that also applies to those skills in the kitchen. The baked ziti was good, so was a home cooked and good steak the night before.
However, we would rather have baseball now. We would prefer watching all sports this time of year instead of catching up with a favorite TV series on the networks.
Oh, the season finale of “The Walking Dead” will have to wait. Next Sunday night the series goes to pause with a penultimate episode as post production was stopped due to the Pandemic.
And in many ways some have compared this adjustment to living in the walking dead, with many theories, though we should not make that comparison.
But this is the new norm. The adjustments are necessary as the goal is to get that number down of coronavirus cases. Follow the procedures and in a matter of time we can slowly get back to normal.
Share your routine with others. Social media can be a good thing and we are hearing about the new routines. Important as always, STAY SAFE. We are in this together!
The most disliked man in metropolitan area sports has tested positive for the most insidious virus in most of our lifetimes. James Dolan, owner of the Knicks, Rangers and The Garden, became one of about 60,000 New Yorkers to have contracted this disease. That number grows as I type.
It is not some karmic justice that Dolan has COVID-19. It’s a sad, unfortunate coincidence.
Some feeble-minded fans have taken to social media, which at times serves as the cesspool of society, to express their glee. Which means this is an ideal opportunity for a COVID-19 realty checkpoint.
This consists of my knowledge of this coronavirus: It has no agenda but to thrive, which means finding as much sweat, saliva spit and snot as possible and hitch a ride from person to person. It does not ask for, or even has any interest in, a person’s ID – rich, poor, tall, short, white, black, blue collar, white collar, no collar.
It has no conscience. Neither do some Dolan haters.
If you’ve visited this space you know we have no love lost for Dolan. We’ve asked Knicks fans to boycott. When that didn’t have the desired effect, we suggested fans appeal to Dolan’s love of the Knicks and try to convince him to sell for the good of the team. That, too, has not succeeded.
We will continue to try to be an agent for change.
In fact, we think the sooner he sells the Knicks, the quicker the team’s fans and, possible Dolan himself, will find happiness. He can enjoy their future success just like any other fan.
But only someone lacking in soul, like the virus itself, wants to see real harm come to Dolan. He is, after all, a husband, father of five, son, musician and absolutely incompetent owner when it comes to the Knicks.
Yet on the same day that the Knicks announced on Twitter that Dolan had tested positive it was reported by The New York Post that the owner had established The MSG Relief Fund to keep paying venue employees at least through May 3. Initially funded with a $1 million donation from the Madison Square Garden company and matched by the Dolan Family Foundation and a $300,000 from the MSG team.
I couldn’t care less if this is all one big tax deduction. It’s a right thing to do and Dolan did it.
Look, it’s fine to find some humor in this coronavirus plague. Humor is good medicine. Trevor Noah’s joke, that even COVID-19 doesn’t want anything to do with the Knicks, is true comedy. So is his mission to make Social Distancing an Olympic sport.
When it comes to feeling happy that Dolan has the virus takes away our essence as humans, which just might be COVID-19’S end game. Here’s our message to Mr. Dolan:
Get well soon. Then sell the team.
HIS BEST ASSIST: Former Knicks point guard and Coney Island native Stephan Marbury is trying to secure the purchase of 10 million N95 masks for hospital workers and first responder. After a 14-year career in the NBA, Marbury’s professional and financial careers got huge boosts in the Chinese Basketball Association.
Marbury teamed with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams to help with delivery arrangements. Marbury reportedly will purchase the masks at cost ($2.75) as opposed to $7.50 retailers have been trying to rip off the city.
“At the end of the day, I am from Brooklyn,” Marbury told The Post in a telephone interview from his home in Beijing. “This is something that is close and dear to my heart as far as being able to help New York.”
How the power of music saves our souls, by Neil Miller /The New York Extra/The NYExtra.com
It’s March 24. And usually ,in a spring frame of mind, all of us involved in the Long Island Music Scene , are pulling out our calendars, looking at Sherri’s Scene, and Ira’s List , and planning our opening day at the Salt Shack, our memorial day weekend at Jones beach ,Woodstock at Old Bethpage and our 4th of July on the East End. Evenings at Freeport , Lido Beach, and Patchogue also fill our minds with anticipation.
But stuck in the blue and harsh reality of the pandemic now on us, what gives us strength is what lies ahead. We hope that the virus goes away soon, and that it doesn’t hurt our famlies , our friends, the community that we live in. All we want is to have a big party as soon as it’s clear. We crave to hear The Murphy’s,Wonderous, 45 RPM, Streetfighter, The 70’s Band, The Mystic , The Almost Brothers , and Desert Highway.
Our strength lies in the love and passion for the music on the Island( and other places too), and the the joy that we draw from being with our friends “.The coming summer will take away the pain of right now for all involved the club owners, the bartenders, the musicians, and all the people that make it work. Stuck in the present vacuum of no live shows, lets all hang tight and hope things return to normal soon!
Maintaining a distance of at least 6 ft between each other,,,something we are not used to doing, something that is not our norm but something that is mandated due to the coronavirus pandemic. Something we all must heed in order to flatten the curve, help prevent a breakdown of our healthcare system and keep ourselves and others safe. This is serious business , have Long Islanders rose to the challenge?
On my strolls throughout various Nassau county parks most everyone seemed to be upholding the distance directive. Families with children were together while keeping away from others. Couples out walking, those on bicycles all seemed to be allowing space for each other while trying to be “normal” in an “abnormal” situation.
I encountered more of the same compliance in assorted supermarkets. Many people darned masks and gloves. A few like myself also had Lysol wipes on hand to clean the shopping cart (a very hot commodity at the moment). For the most part everyone was respectful of keeping their distance in the aisles, waiting on line and not encroaching on someone while they were shopping in a certain area.
I did however find those defying the rule in a certain store on Old Country Road in Plainview. I do not know if it was cultural or just plain disregard for others. I do know it was very uncomfortable to witness, unsafe and just stupid. I did hear someone mention the 6 foot distance but no one moved. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.
This is a difficult scary time for all of us but we must join together for the good of everyone. Practice social distancing, be respectful of others and keep ourselves and loved ones SAFE. If we don’t it will get much worse before it gets better.
This shelter in place deal stinks. We are social creatures forced to behave in an antisocial way. It stinks. I can pet my neighbor’s dog but can’t shake hands with said neighbor. I’m washing hands so often I will never sing, “Happy Birthday,” again.
One of the ways to cope is fantasy. This morning I fantasized that it wasn’t a Sunday in COVID-19 March, rather a Sunday in vaccine October. NFL season. Glorious NFL season.
Which team will be the most fun to watch:
The Arizona Cardinals, with Kyler Murray throwing to DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk, Larry Fitzgerald and a tight end to be named later?
Or, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with Tom Brady throwing to Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and O.J. Howard?
In fact, I’m willing to purchase a separate NFL South Division RedZone so I can see Matt Ryan throwing to Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, Todd Gurley II and TE Hayden Hurst, and Drew Brees throwing to Michael Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and Alvin Kamara?
Or Patrick Mahomes throwing to Tyreke Hill, Sammy Watkins, Mercole Hardman, Travis Kelce and Damien Williams.
Or Jarrett Stidham or Brian Hoyer throwing to tripled teamed Julian Edelman? (I’ve waited almost two decades for this)!
Or Dak Prescott throwing to Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and Zeke Elliott?
Or Mitch Trubisky throwing to the yard marker? Or is that Nick Foles?
Or, don’t dismiss this one, Phillip Rivers throwing to T.Y. Hilton, Zach Pascal, Parris Campbell and tight end Jack Doyle?
Or, Deshaun Watson throwing to? It’s not fair. It’s just not fair.
Or Josh Allen hopefully throwing to Stefan Diggs, John Brown, Cole Beasley and Devin Singletary?
Or Sam Darnold throwing six more touchdowns than interceptions?
Or Lamar Jackson throwing, to himself?
Or Jared Goff throwing for 78 yards two weeks after throwing for 517 (both losses)?
Or Ryan Tannehill completing 70-percent of his passes with a quarterback/interception of better than 3-to-1? Ryan Tannehill?
Or Derek Carr throwing to Nelson Agholor? Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha.
Or Aaron Rodgers throwing to anyone at any time from any place on the field?
Or Drew Lock throwing for a passing rating of 48.2 yet going 4-1?
Or Tyrod Taylor hoping the Chargers pass on quarterback in the draft?
Or the Redskins passing on a quarterback because, well, they’re the Redskins?
Or a healthy Teddy Bridgewater getting his much-deserved chance to be a starter and having a weapon as versatile and potent as Christian McCaffrey?
Or Kirk Cousins posting his sixth straight season of 3,600 yards or more without getting to an NFC Championship game?
Or 23-year-old Joe Burrow throwing to 32-year-old A.J. Green?
Or Russell Wilson throwing to Tyler Locket, DK Metcalf and Greg Olsen?
Or Jimmy Garoppolo throwing for 165 yards one week and 349 the next?
Or Daniel Jones throwing from an upright position?
Or the warrior known as Matthew Stafford throwing to Marvin Jones, Kenny Golladay, Danny Amendola and T.J. Hockenson.
Or Ryan Fitzpatrick playing catch with Tua Tagovailoa?
Or the Pittsburgh Steelers throwing a Hail Mary in the 2nd round of the draft?
Or Carson Wentz throwing to Zach Ertz or Dallas Goedert, or to Dallas Goedert or Zach Ertz?
Or Baker Mayfield throwing 21 interceptions and dropping 42 verbal farts?
Or Gardner Minshew II throwing to, uh, how ‘bout that draft?
Or Patrick Mahomes throwing to Tyreke Hill, Sammy Watkins, Mercole Hardman, Travis Kelce and Damien Williams? Wait. Didn’t we write that already?
O.K. how about this?
Training camp to open this summer giving all of us sports-starved fans hope of watching the NFL in the fall. Amen.
Yes, this is difficult. We are home and staying safe. We are dealing with a Coronavirus pandemic and making that adjustment. This was supposed to be the first weekend of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
We were five days away from Opening Day of the 2020 baseball season. Instead, at Citi Field, a makeshift hospital and relief center is being planned
We are without sports. We are adjusting to viewing daily updates from the White House, your Governor, and Mayor. We are isolated and hoping this crisis will pass soon.
Saturday and Sunday, and next weekend, CBS Sports is televising memorable games from past NCAA tournaments. MLB Network, the regional networks, are also replaying memorable games.
The baseball fix in New York includes a Mets marathon on SNY. The Yankees showing their classic series on YES, and audio feeds of the Michael Kay sports talk show on ESPN Radio.
The NBA and NHL channels also do their part to keep us entertained.
How the WWE will stage WrestleMania, a reformatted two day event, and with no fans at their Orlando performance center in two weeks will be interesting and different.
WrestleMania, a highlight show on the wrestling calendar for the WWE and fans, was supposed to be held before 75,000 or more at Raymond James Stadium, Sunday April 5 in Tampa .
Instead, the evening before, with reportedly some taped matches, will highlight the mega event. No pyro, no fans, and matches scrapped. Pro wrestlers are making the adjustments and it will be similar to a rehearsal or audition they have experienced before gaining their stardom to the top.
We are in this together. And, said here again, sports are not the priority here as much as the world of fun and games would be a diversion from this crisis that confronts our world and nation.
So without sports, there are some options as we continue to isolate in our homes. This past week, in between some writing and dealing with the isolation, there were some good options to get your fix.
Sports books, the classic events and movies to pass the time are becoming a norm. Though there is nothing better than viewing a live event, and we could be without that for the next few months, .
Any hope for the start of the 2020 season is not anytime soon. The hope, as can be determined, MLB season openers are on hold at least to June.
And that is being optimistic, all depending of course on how long the Coronavirus Pandemic abates. Talking to numerous sports personnel over the past few days, and the overall opinion is MLB and other leagues will await the first move of the NBA when it comes to resuming their schedule.
Why the NBA? The National Basketball Association was the first to shut down and seem to be at the forefront of taking control. Other sports leagues will follow their path.
In addition, with the 2020 MLB season, players would need another two-week spring training period for conditioning and the schedule would need a major readjustment. That means doubleheaders that are rare on a schedule and a shortened season which are not the norm.
Again, that is speculation as we go day-by-day with this crisis and hope for the best.
Pitchers were at the point of throwing at speeds where they should be. The hitters, always behind the pitchers, they will need more time to catch up and that is usually the case during a normal spring training period..
Let’s say 81 games or fewer, instead of a regular 162-game slate and no All–Star game. Players would get paid when the season begins.
Now, as understood, the MLBPA and owners are working out details of the specifics as to their contracts and payment and pertaining to details about pay scales in cases such as a national state of emergency.
The other sports will deal with specifics, perhaps not as complicated for the NHL and Major League soccer. Boxing will resume with lucrative network deals and promotions at Top Rank, PBC, Matchroom, Golden Boy, and others.
They will saturate the market with events every weekend for the boxing fan as the non mainstream fighters train at home and await their next payday. Most, if not all of the boxing gyms have been closed due to the pandemic.
The Kentucky Derby, Masters Golf Tournament, major events on the spring calendar, have announced they are rescheduling their major events to a later time.
Still up in the air is how the USTA will handle the U.S. Open In Flushing Queens. That was scheduled for the later part of August.
In the meantime some books to suggest to get your fix:
Staying Positive The Story of The Real Paul Banke (Boxing)
Once There Were Giants. The Golden Age of Heavyweight Boxing (Jerry Izenberg)
Inside Pitch. My Life As a Major League Closer (Skip Lockwood)
More to come in the coming days as we go through the pile with some of the best books and classic sports to view.
Most of all be SAFE! We are in this together and will get back to normal in due time.
Paying the price.A Deal with the Devil. How corporate greed, profits, and Chinese manipulative practices, endangers the security of our country and the world.An Editorial by Neil Miller/Publisher,The New York Extra/ TheNYExtra.com.With additional reporting and editing by Toni Hoyos.
As our country grapples with the Chinese virus pandemic, it’s time to stop avoiding blame of the Communist Chinese government, and time to examine some of the events that have led us to this point.
Specifically, it is the worlds acceptance in succumbing to the lure of cheap and inferior products of drugs, steel and other essential goods. This has amounted to a “Deal with the Devil”. They say money is the root of all evil, well then we have pimped ourselves to China all in the name of big business and money , to a country that manufactures our medicines, antibiotics and the raw materials needed to make medicines. 81% of the API (active pharmaceutical ingredients) are said to come from China. A Dept of Commerce study found 97% of all antibiotics in the US came from China. China’s poor quality control, substandard doses and low budget for research and development lead to major concerns over the safety and efficacy of these medications. Unfortunately fraud and manipulation of quality data is still widespread. Corporate profits and stock indexes came before national security and health.This is only one example of how Communist China works.
By outsourcing these important goods, not only have we put our American workforce in dire jeopardy, we have also allowed our country to be open for possible blackmail by the Communist Chinese if we act against their purposes.
With the ” one world ” scenarios, and the influence of the Chinese in our economic, educational and cultural world, it leaves us open to spies in our midst. Just last week a Harvard professor was arrested for lying to the government and Harvard about his involvement in a Chinese program for which he was paid for . There were also ties to a Bio lab, in of all places Wuhan,China. Also arrested were 2 Chinese nationals, one an officer in the Chinese army, the other charged with attempting to smuggle 21 vials of biological research out of the US to China. What the Chinese can’t buy with money they try to steal in regards to sensitive research and development.
This brings up the point of the source of the current pandemic, the 2nd major killer virus exported from China . Sars, and now Chinese coronavirus. They started with ties to bats that crossed over to other animals, then to humans. The current virus is the same. As noted in the 1st part of this series, the current food practices of some Chinese, caused the explosion of the current plague.
I have been accused of being a racist and a xenophobe. I am neither, and admire the work ethic, intelligence and contributions of Chinese Americans. Their dedication to family values that they bring to our way of life as Americans is admirable. We all reject racism of ethnic backround, color, religion and country of origin. However the facts are inescapable. There are many ideas how the virus came to be in the Wuhan wet market. Some say it was a natural transmission between infected animals, some say there’s a more sinister reason.
Several rumors have it, that the Wuhan super lab had an accident and it leaked out. Another rumor has it that lab animals infected with disease were sold by lab staff for money to local food vendors. Neither of these have been proven one way or the other by the Communist Chinese. In fact,the words of doctors and researchers were stifled in order to prevent another horrible Chinese embarrassment.
Whatever the truth is, and hopefully after this catastrophe there will be a world wide police inquiry, the one thing we can be certain of is this, the customs of the local Chinese population, along with the fact that the Chinese government never closed these markets nor helped to change their cultural food habits, has led directly to this 3rd , and most deadly outbreak.
How long will it take to confront the Communist Chinese government, with total world outrage, to end these pandemics? The answer is” Our Deal with the Devil” stops us. It is time to exorcise the demon, and make him repay the world for the deceit, disease and death it has brought to the world, and to retake our economic independence back.
The next time I read about a professional athlete under contract for say, $12 million per year who wants to renegotiate, I’m going to introduce him to Thomas Waerner.
Waerner, aka The Ice Warrior, is the winner of the 2020 Iditarod Trail Sled Race (just the Iditarod to us groupies). He and his League of Extraordinary Dogs completed the 1,000-mile course in nine days, 10 hours, 37 minutes and 47 seconds, give or take a couple of snowdrifts.
He received the winner’s purse of about, wait for it, $50,000, and possibly a pickup truck. More on that later.
You read that correctly: not five million, or $500,000, rather $50,000. And the truck. Don’t forget the truck. More on that later.
To recap, Waerner traversed the 1,000-mile, brutally cold, windswept journey in ninedays, 10 hours, 37 minutes and don’t forget those 47 seconds. Upon crossing the finish line in Nome, Alaska and receiving his bounty, The Ice Warrior, boasted:
“This is a money-spending sport!”
Clearly, these Iditarod athletes are a different breed. And we’re not talking about the dogs.
Despite repeated satellite phone calls and carrier pigeon messages that went unanswered, we believe the dogs’ purse was a chewy toy and nine days, 10 hours, 37 minutes and 47 seconds worth of free Purina Dog Chow as their winner’s purse.
None of the dogs complained.
Because of the Covid-19 virus, which has canceled sporting events all over the world, the Last Great Race on Earth as it’s known, got more media coverage than it has in decades.
It was one of the lead sports stories (one of the only stories) on the 5 p.m. news -in New York. Officials asked fans not to fly to Nome for the finish. We were unable get a non-stop from New York to Nome.
“We mushers are so lucky that we are in our own world,” Waerner told reporters. “We don’t think about anything.”
Probably not enough time to entertain idol thoughts when your sport consumes nine days, 10 hours, 37 minutes and 47 seconds to win.
Of course, the Ice Warrior knows he couldn’t have done it alone. He thanked his 10 dogs, petting and rubbing each. The dogs received a hot snack, which sources told TheNYExtra.com, was a double Shake Shack cheeseburger with grilled onions, and a side of cheese fries.
Still, we’re reminded that success can lead to greed. His lead dogs – K2 and Bark – declined to comment, however, sources say K2 is looking for an increase to K1 and Bark wants to change his name to Loud Bark.
Their agent, Brian “Family Guy” Blue was vague when asked about his client’s demands.
“This has never been about the money,” Blue said. “My clients just want to be shown the respect they’ve worked so hard for and the sacrifice they’ve given to this team.”
Waerner threw his support behind his four-legged friends who dragged his rear end for nine days, 10 hours, 37 minutes… He said that K2 is, “the inside engine that never stops,” and Bark is, “the one just charging through everything.”
Waerner won his first Iditarod in only his second time competing. Three-time champ Mitch Seavey finished second about five hours behind. He will earn about $43,000 for the finish. No truck.
Waerner will have to pay about $20,000 in taxes in Norway on the prize money and about the same for the truck, usually a Ram 2020 4×4 Pickup. But on the Monday before the finish, Fiat Chrysler announced it was dropping its sponsorship. Truck?
The dogs were heard whimpering.
“I was looking forward to doing a Nome bar crawl in that truck,” said K2.