Sunday, February 12, 2012

Iron Colt

When I lived in Manahttan, I could see a plaque from my window, across the street on the side of a building. It marked the birthplace of Lou Gehrig. Ninety-fourth Street, between 1st and 2nd Avenues.

Recently, I was looking up something related to Gehrig, and I noticed that his Wikipedia page says he was born on 2nd Avenue, near 103rd Street. The source was a New York Times article, from May of 2005 (which happens to be the month I moved to NYC).

A fake Gehrig birthplace! Or was it? I don't care if it's Lou Gehrig or Rey Quinones--a major leaguer was born across from my old apartment, and I'm not about to let them take that away!

I tried to find a better picture of this *new* plaque, but I couldn't find one. (My plaque, placed there in 1990, can be found on several sites--try this page, which despite being from 2008, still notes it as the one and only birthplace.) I wanted to know exactly what it said, so I asked my friend Chan to take a walk up 2nd Avenue and check it out. I figured maybe they just meant his family lived there (103rd) when he was born (94th). Kind of like how Carlton Fisk and I were both born in a different town from where we lived, since neither of our towns had a hospital.

Chan got back to me saying that the second plaque isn't even there anymore. Before he could even take the walk to the spot, he found another article which said that when the garden center that had been at that spot left, the plaque disappeared too.

So did somebody make a terrible error? And then when they had their chance, they slinked away with the incorrect plaque in the night like the Baltimore Colts? In the Hardball Times article linked above, they specifically talk about how Gehrig was born in Yorkville (94th, where I lived), as opposed to the New York Times article which speaks of the pride East Harlem has for Lou. So I really think the original plaque wins. Let me know if you hear anything and I'll do the same.


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Location: Rhode Island, United States