In the hospital room the day after the surgery, Feb. 18, 2012
Just about this time a year ago I “blew out” my knee playing basketball. More precisely, I ruptured my patella tendon—on both ends. I had surgery the next day—the doctor sutured the tendon back onto the kneecap and my lower leg—and wore an immobilizer cast for six weeks. (The “best” part of those six weeks was navigating up and down the five flights of stairs to my apartment every day because our elevator was being repaired the entire time…) A few months of physical therapy followed, for the purpose of regaining strength and full range of motion.
I’m happy to report that now, one year later, my knee works completely normally. Other than the huge scar running up and down over my kneecap, I don’t even notice a difference. And I’ve even played basketball a handful of times since the injury. But now I wear a protective knee sleeve—I don’t want to go through that ever again.
One of my weekly rituals is my Tuesday night basketball game in Manhattan. I live in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, so to get to the game in the Lower East Side, I switch at Atlantic Avenue to either the B or the Q. The B takes me to Grand Street, where I walk to the game; or the Q takes me to Canal, where I switch to the M to Essex. But that’s neither here nor there. (Sorry, bad pun.)
Usually, during the B/Q leg, my head’s buried in a book or my iPod, but the other day, in the section of tunnel right before the train emerged from the Dekalb station into the open air of the Manhattan Bridge, I was idly glancing out the window… and I saw the coolest thing! Flickering by against a background of bright white was what I took to be a complex graffiti mural, something like you used to see in abandoned stations but rarely see in the subways any more. But as I watched the images unfold I realized this was much more than a long string of graffiti. The images moved, morphed, danced, and, at the end, took off in a rocketship! Here’s what it looked like:
(Don’t you love the running commentary?) I did a little Googling and quickly discovered this is a newly restored piece of urban art by Bill Brand called "Masstransiscope". It’s actually a zoetrope — individual paintings (in this case, 228 of them) separated by slits and "animated" by the moving train. Really ingenious — and a technique only over 100 years old, ya big dunce! (It also turns out the art was painted in an abandoned station, "Myrtle Avenue," no longer serviced by the MTA…)
So next time you’re on the Manhattan-bound B or Q, leaving the Dekalb station, keep looking out the right side of the train: you’re in a free Big Apple cartoon treat.
Who says Japan has produced the best basketball comic? Steve Morrison’s fumetti-style strip gives Slam Dunk a run for its money. The newest chapter features Adam Morrison trying to pick up new Charlotte coach Larry Brown at JFK airport; and co-stars Michael Jordan, Carmelo Anthony, Allen Iverson, Yao Ming, the entire roster of the New York Knicks, and Ron Burgundy! Check it out…
The National Basketball Association has hit New Orleans this weekend for the annual All Star Game, which tips off tonight at 8 p.m. Television coverage of the event has been… interesting… as it simultaneously celebrates the glitz of the French Quarter and bemoans the sad state of the rest of the city. Shots of commentators and tourists thronging Bourbon Street alternate with NBA stars lending helping hands to redevelopment projects in neighborhood schools and community centers. And of course there’s been a big effort to incorporate as much local musical flavor into the weekend spectacle as possible, with (among others) Marc Broussard and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band performing during the slam dunk competition, and Harry Connick Jr. and Branford Marsalis scheduled to play for the main event this evening.
Larry Blumenfeld, a pickup basketball playing buddy of mine and an accomplished music writer, has a piece in today’s New Orleans Times Picayune about the connections between jazz and hoops. Larry is currently a Katrina Media Fellow with the Open Society Institute, and has been documenting cultural recovery in New Orleans for The Wall Street Journal, Village Voice, and Salon.com. And he has a blog at www.artsjournal.com/listengood. Check it out while you enjoy the game and all that good music.
[cross-posted to A.D. website]