The history of Brooklyn repeated itself. In 1957, ten years after integrating baseball with Jackie Robinson, the owner of the Dodgers abandoned Brooklyn for L.A. It was a devastating blow to the fans and it took Brooklyn decades to recover. The final straw for the owner was watching a Puerto Rican piss into a Coke bottle and throw it at a player on the field. He suddenly understood why the Whites who had fled Brooklyn for the suburbs no longer wanted to sit in the stands at his ballpark. The cover story for the Dodger’s move to L.A. was a dispute with New York about the location of a new stadium. The real reason was White flight.
Between race riots and stoop jokes I am warned, “Kid, in your lifetime the mira-miras and jigs are gonna overrun America.” Those words rattle the core of my Brooklyn being. They make me ascared because I know that the men of the stoop are not only cops and cabbies and garbagemen. They are prophets. They are Jeremiahs. So, when the Masters talk, I listen. And, when they lower their voices to discuss anything doity, I pretend to be too busy gazing into Green-Wood Cemetery to listen. But, I listen. Extra hard.
The over-arching theme of their colloquies is the incontrovertible fact that Brooklyn and the world are well and truly fucked. The rot set in with World War Two. Joe McCarthy was right. We’d been betrayed by those Jews – the Rosenbergs, that fairy – Alger Hiss and those Jewish fairies in Hollywood. We’d fought on the wrong side in the war. Except for fightin’ the Japs. Those slant-eyed sneaks had it comin’.
“Kid, do you know those Jap bastards stuck a thin, glass tube up a soldier’s prick? Then they smashed down on his prick with a hammer. Thousands of glass shards got embedded in his dick. Think about it. The poor son of a bitch survived but whenever he takes a piss, two guys have to hold him.”