Tuesday, May 18, 2010

New York as a bet

This is a city of the sublimely illogical dream. You come here and suffer in the hope that you upgrade. Some do, some don't. That's the mystique, the allure. New York's not a choice. It's a bet.

So stop viewing the Knicks as simply an unattractive basketball team. To get LeBron, you have to sell them in New York terms.

The Knicks are a hideously overpriced, 300-square-foot studio apartment.

They're a fifth-floor walkup with a bathtub in the kitchen, a rusty refrigerator that doubles as a closet, and a single window that looks out on to the grease vent to a mysterious chicken-rendering plant. The heat seldom works, there are roaches and there's a weird neighbor who plays hockey at funny hours. Don't even ask about the landlord.

Friends from other cities will visit, and they will shake their heads. LeBron's mother will cry.

But one night in early winter, Mr. James will victoriously exit Madison Square Garden and it will be snowing. Seventh Avenue will sleep under a romantic blanket of white. He will return to his cramped studio, lie on his bedbuggy futon and realize that there was no place he would rather be.

Then the heat will go out, and outside, a wailing ambulance will crash into a garbage can full of rats and set off 14 car alarms.

But he will learn to love it. Like we all eventually do.
--Jason Gay, WSJ, on the concrete jungle dreams are made of. HT: Alex Tsai

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