In 1958, when I was three years old, the Dodgers moved and with them took pro sports in Brooklyn.
The owner of the team, Walter O’Malley, wanted to build a new stadium in Brooklyn to replace the aging Ebbets Field. According to his plan the new domed stadium, designed by Buckminster Fuller, would go at a transportation hub, where nine subway lines and the Long Island Railroad come together, in Brooklyn.
He was opposed by the great highway builder and destroyer of urban ecosystems, Robert Moses, who wanted to build a new stadium at the confluence of three super-highways he was building, at Flushing Meadows, in Queens.
O’Malley got his new stadium — in Los Angeles. And Moses got his stadium and a new team, the Mets, to play in it. The Beatles famously performed there in 1965. They tore the stadium down in 2009, and built a more modern one, with restaurants and fancy skyboxes, in the parking lot of the old stadium.
- My Wikipedia bio incorrectly says I grew up in Brooklyn. I grew up in Queens, within walking distance of Shea Stadium. I come from a family of Dodgers fans, who instantly converted to the Mets in 1962. O’Malley was blamed for moving the Dodgers, but few at the time knew of the role Moses played in the story.
Fast-forward to 2012, and a new sports arena has risen in Brooklyn, at the exact location favored by O’Malley. Fans won’t drive to events at this stadium. Moses must be rolling over in his grave. Gradually the city is adjusting to the future it should always have had. And Brooklyn is on the rise again! All is good.