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.
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
It was fun planting some flowers in the rain last Thursday. Let’s see if these non-native species have a chance against the persistent vines that have called the pits home for the past many years.
(Nothing But) Flowers
I was an angry young man
That I was a billboard
By the side of the road
I fell in love
With a beautiful highway
This used to be real estate
Now it’s only fields and trees
Where, where is the town
Now, it’s nothing but flowers
The highways and cars
Were sacrificed for agriculture
I thought that we’d start over
But I guess I was wrong
(from Talking Heads Naked)