Sometimes when I’ve been alone in the pits, I am visited by various specters sometimes from a time when the horseshoe pit was first built, and the sport was popular and it was not uncommon for a young man to invite a young lady for a simple picnic and for her to watch him compete at horseshoes for fame and money. And then other times, I am visited by the future where the pit is either overgrown again or the hotdog and ice cream vendor are open and nearby and the pits are enjoying renewed popularity with people lining up to take a turn. Such are the visitations I sometimes experience. At other times I can focus on the here and now and experience the sound of metal clanging, birds in the distance, the sound of nearby volleyball players, an experience of timelessness and solitude. Scary.
I was hacked and disabled in June, disabling about 6 sites including this one. It was easy to rebuild the html, but rebuilding the WP sites caused numerous problems updating the WP databases. I’ve spent considerable time rebuilding to a new host. I am now using Hostinger which seem to overall be helpful in this process.
To make matters more complicated, I moved out of NYC end of Sept. and moving from place to place was not helpful in making steady progress rebuilding anything.
Now I think the worst of this is over and I can now add new posts here and there. In particular do check out toodamnpersonal.com which is about my continued travails with moving, dating, divorce and aging among other things.
Lucky me! I lost another horseshoe. So that means I can order two. (See the previous post on this subject) Weird thing though that a set of 4 only costs $5 more than buying just two. So I ordered 4 more and from Amazon no less. Yes I confess, I am a participant in this madness, even though I know better.
And look at me going along with it all. Sometimes I avoid this, but other times it seems I run out of time. Such is the nature of this conspiracy. I think this sort of price bundling to buy more is bad for the planet and also one clear sign of the demise of capitalism as we’ve known it.
A personal commitment stops me from showing up on Thurs.
Horseshoes can happen on another day by appointment if you contact me.
Additionally rumor has it that the regular day for horseshoes might change to another day. TBD soon.
The other day, I lost a horseshoe over the fence and could not find it. First, I thought not to replace it at all, then I thought to by another pair. Then I thought, “why should I buy another pair, when I only need one?”
But who sells just one horseshoe?
The current set of (previously 4) Horseshoes was made in USA in Worcester, MA, by St. Pierre Manufacturing . Quite simply, they were the cheapest that I saw on Amazon. (Yes, I buy from Amazon. Admittedly, It has become sort of a bad habit and I’m trying to quit. Sorry, all you Union organizers.) I also bought the previous set from St. Pierre but presumably they were crushed along with the remains of my previous vehicle (my mother’s old car) which was wrecked in an accident in the summer of 2019 on the CT turnpike.
I was able to find single horseshoes on ebay, but they seemed very overpriced. So, the search for a single horseshoe continues. If you have an inside track to this, let me know.
As a reminder, Horseshoes in Ft. Tryon park is on Thursdays from 7 pm or so. (If you show up early, call me if I’m not there yet.) Also note that Dean Heagle will be holding general office hours on Monday evenings at Manolas Tapas bar at 177thand Broadway in Manhattan from 6:30-8:00.
Rebooting the horseshoe pit at Ft. Tryon happily included the reappearance of some familiar faces. And one day I was happy to see and enlist the help of an old friend to the pits, Ron Gustav Müller Jacobson
It may be noted that I that I suffer minor hearing loss, making it harder to hear certain consonants and understand some speakers who mumble or have a heavy accent. It is also sometimes hard for me to determine the origin of a speaker’s accent. Much the same thing happened when I first met Ron Jacobson when I mistakenly ascribed his accent and native tongue as Norwegian. As it turns out Ron is really from Vinland, (not to be confused with Finland), which is actually a country of unknown origins and no longer exists even as a land mass or sovereign body. And as it turns out Ron’s native tongue is Vinish which for many years has been a dead language forcing Ron to adopt and speak Norwegian. But make no mistake this is not to say that Ron is Norwegian as I had earlier believed. In fact Ron will insist that this is a stupid but common mistake claiming with pride that he is 100% Vinish. In Ron’s own words. “Fool, I am Vinish get it?, not Norwegian, not Swedish and not Finish, but Vinish, is that too much for your stupidhead to understand?”
“Idiot, jeg er Vinish få det?, ikke norsk, ikke svensk og ikke Ferdig, men Vinish er det for mye for din dumhet å forstå?”
“Of course, I’m Vinish,” Ron insisted. “You think I show up just for the Horseshoes, it’s the Vines stupidhead. The place is overgrown vines. And it’s in my blood to try to help.” “Vines can be very tricky,” Ron continued. “I show up here. Because I see you have a vine problem and I want to help. If managed correctly, the vines shouldn’t interfere too much with your horseshoe play.” “ But still don’t underestimate the power of the vines. According to ancient lore, regarding the story of Vinland it is said that the whole country was eventually swallowed by an overgrowth of vines. Which leads me to ask. What in the world are you thinking by trying to clear both sides of the pit? Do you think that you can play on both sides? You fool. I say,” Ron continued, “Just clear one side as you play, and tramp down any extra growth as you walk back and forth between the pits. What kind of a stupidhead are you anyway? If someone wants to clean up the other side, I say take the Capitalist way out and let them do it themselves. Maybe they will form a rival horseshoe team and soon you will be competing for big money.”
Bare rydd den ene siden mens du spiller, og tramp ned eventuell ekstra vekst når du går frem og tilbake mellom gropene.Hva slags idiot er du egentlig?
So it is almost like Ron said it and this just automatically made it so. In other words, for the foreseeable future the plan will be to clear and use just one side of the pit while making the other side at least manageable by weeding as needed while most of the work will be done by tramping the borders while walking from pit to pit. This will result in more focus on the game and less on the work of weeding, perhaps making this sport more appealing to the masses. Did I already mention that Ron is employed as an efficiency expert by NASA and has already been able to shorten the expected launch of the manned Mars mission from 2032 to only a few years from now.? Good on you Ron Jacobson!, I’ve heard a lot about Mars and I can hardly wait to go there.
To avoid confusion over dates and times. There will be regular games every Thursday starting at 7:00 from now until September. Also note that Dean Heagle will be holding general office hours on Monday evenings at Manolas Tapas bar at 177thand Broadway in Manhattan from 6:30-8:00.
Sorry no updates sooner.
Many apologies for not updating this blog sooner. The original run of horseshoes ended after the first season and no one had the will to start it again until now.
After an almost 4 year absence, I’m going back at the horseshoe pit again. Here’s what happened in between.
- Overall there was a poor response to the original 2017 launch and despite numerous promotions, few people where actually interested in horseshoes.
- In 2018, I got more busy with selling our family apartment and moving.
- In 2019 the NYC Parks department fenced off the area. I spoke with the Parks Department representative at that time and was told that along with the development of the nearby Jacob Javitts park on Fort Washington, the horseshoe area was also being considered for redevelopment. I expressed interest in keeping this area for horseshoes and was told that I was welcome to express myself at a town hall meeting. I did not attend this meeting.
- In 2020 we NYC was part of the COVID pandemic and much of Manhattan was closed.
- Overall, most people seem to like to avoid doing work. So, the proposition of telling people they should come for horseshoes because it was a lot of work had not been very successful. Avoiding work seems to have become part of the modern American ethos. Seems we only put up with work at all so we can enjoy our leisure time. Combining work and leisure causes too much cognitive dissonance for most people hence inviting people to help with the ongoing process of cleaning up the pits was a little like offering someone to come and suffer. Yes, it might be strange, but I have actually enjoyed doing this work.
For these reasons the Margaret Corbin Provisional Horseshoe Pitching League horseshoe pit at Fort Tryon Park in NYC has been closed for almost 4 years. But I’m writing now to tell you that it’s open again. Though if you are going on non-game days, you should untwist the wire fastener that makes it appear that it’s still closed.
Regular games will be held Thursdays at 7:00 through September (barring any other factor possible or unforeseen). Also note that Dean Heagle will be holding general office hours on Monday evenings at Manolas Tapas bar at 177thand Broadway in Manhattan from 6:30-8:00.
The Margaret Corbin Provisional Horseshoe Pitching League is happening in Ft. Tryon Park, just North of the volleyball courts as you go down (not up) the steps from the higher elevation on Fort Washington Ave. The A train station at 190th St. is closed on the Ft. Tryon level due to elevator repair to be complete Sept. 2021. If coming by Train take the 181st Street A station and walk many blocks to the entrance of Fort Tryon park, across from Jacob Javitts Part at approx.. 192nd Street or take the M4 Bus to that location then walk down the steps.
Dear Unofficial Members of the Margaret Corbin Provisional Horseshoe Pitching League:
It is with a tint of sadness that I must announce that I will step down as the self-elected president of the Margaret Corbin Provisional Horseshoe Pitching League effective immediately. My reason, of course, is that I want to spend more time with my family. But seriously, I have simply gotten too busy and my life continues to become more and more complicated. So, I believe that for the good of the league, it is simply best for me to just step down.
Additionally, I am a bit ashamed that I have not been able to be a better role model for the next generation of horseshoe pitchers. This is because, even though I have shown up at nearly every game, I still really suck at horseshoes. Even with quite a bit of practice, I still cannot throw a horseshoe any better than if my score was attributable to nothing more than just dumb luck.
This failing has not been for the lack of effort. For with the intention to better myself, I have successively tried different grips and footwork. I have tried the grip from the top edge which requires the number of vertical rotations to be divisible by two. I have tried the top side grip which requires a horizontal rotation of 1-1/4 turns and the bottom side grip which requires either a -3/4 or 1-1/2 horizontal rotation. But try as I might, I have not been able to better my game. So, I think it is best to resign before the shame simply becomes too much.
Overall, I do think it was a good run. While horseshoe pitching has not yet taken upper Manhattan by storm, as I had hoped, I did essentially accomplish what I set out to do.
When I found the horseshoe pits, they were overgrown with formidable weeds and hadn’t been used for years and years. But there, I saw a huge potential in transforming that space into a place where men could go to relax and break park rules by sneaking in a pint or two. Turns out that what I particularly liked doing was the grounds cleanup and gardening. And while I did not succeed in getting flowers to grow everywhere, I do feel that the seed has been planted for a more flowery future. The simple transformation from nothing to at least sort-of something, represents nearly everything that I had hoped to attain. And with a little effort going forward, the pits can be enjoyed by men who want another excuse to go drinking for generations to come.
Even though the end of my tenure as self-elected president is coming to an end, it also represents a beginning for me, as I have been invited by ArtemisNYC.org to be their guest blogger. In this role, I do hope to enlighten at least some readers about important lessons in life that can be learned from pitching horseshoes. And it’s vice versa.
And for now, even though I am no longer self-elected president, I will continue to provide horseshoes for anyone who wants to show up on Fridays starting about 6:45, at least for the rest of of September.
So this is clearly not yet adieu but au revoir.
See you in the pits.
––Dean Heagle: Former President (self-elected), Margaret Corbin Provisional Horseshoe Pitching League
For most of August, horseshoes will commence on Mondays at the usual place, at the usual time. It will also take place on August 1st which is this Tuesday .
––Dean Heagle: President, Margaret Corbin Provisional Horseshoe Pitching League
We had been worried that Ron Gustav Müller Jacobson had been missing from our games for months. At last the truth of his whereabouts is known: he has been in jail.
Ron’s girlfriend Latoya stopped by the other day with the news. Ron has been in jail awaiting trial. His crime: public urination!
I found this knowledge disturbing, not just out of concern for Ron but for the fact that I too, from time to time, have been guilty of of this same crime, but almost always in one corner of the horseshoe pits and even then I only did it once or twice. OK, maybe more than two times. But exactly how many times, I won’t tell.
But public urination was not the only crime the Ron Gustav Müller Jacobson was accused of. In fact public urination by itself is usually not a jailable offense anymore, since it has been recently downgraded from being a misdemeanor to being only a violaton in NYC.
But, Ron’s real crime was not just public urination, but in resisting arrest. You see, when the cops approached him as he was still peeing andhe started speaking to them in his native Norwegian. And when the cops asked him to stop what he was doing, he got angry and started cursing them, saying.
” Jeg skal tisse hvor jeg vil forverre det!”
Which loosely translated means, ” I’ll pee wherever the heck I want to, damn it!”
But this is not what the policemen heard. What they heard instead was a language that they had not heard before and did not understand. And not being familiar with Norwegian they hypothesized that he was either speaking in a Arabic or perhaps a Slavic language. And for a moment, they even suspected him of being a terrorist. And it was this misunderstanding which prompted them to try to arrest Ron. But Ron would have none of it. When they started to arrest him he responded with
“Kom deg bort fra meg, dårer!”
Which loosely translated means, ” Get the fuck away from me, fools!”
And this resulted in the resisting arrest charges which is why Ron is still being held in jail. It’s an interesting point that more arrests for the charge of resisting arrest are leveled against people with darker skin than against people with lighter skin. And many jail sentences begin with a misdemeanor which is then elevated to a jailable offense by the resisting arrest charges.
We hope that Ron will be OK.
And in wishing him well we have to say:
“Ron Gustav Müller Jacobson, kom tilbake, vi savner deg. Det er så mye du har igjen for å lære oss!”
Which loosely translated means, “Ron Gustav Müller Jacobson please come back, we miss you. There is so much you have left to teach us!.”
––Dean Heagle: President, Margaret Corbin Provisional Horseshoe Pitching League
Even if you don’t like horseshoes, it’s worth stopping by the pits for the raspberries which are rather abundant at least by city standards. They are a bit tart, but if you pick a bunch they can be an interesting addition to making a wicked lemonade.
Don’t let the captions of these pictures fool you, there are more than 4 locations. Actual experience and milage may vary depending on the day.
––Dean Heagle: President, Margaret Corbin Provisional Horseshoe Pitching League