Friday, November 25, 2011

New York: Santa comes to Manhattan (and one more Joe Frazier quote)

Text and photos by George Molé

This might ramble a bit, but by the time it's over I will have reached the end.

In my last post, a short tribute to the boxing champion Joe Frazier, who died recently of liver cancer at age 67, I included a couple of Frazier quotes that I thought were pretty good.  Indeed, one of them, a snappy comeback delivered to Muhammad Ali during one of their epic battles, caused me to compare Frazier to Spider-Man, who is often known to throw verbal jabs at villains while engaging them in bloody combat.  (And more on Spidey later in this post.)

But after writing that, I came across the best Frazier quote I've seen yet.  In an excellent Phil Mushnick column in the New York Post, a retired NYPD detective--Joe Coffey, a legend in his own right--who worked security for Frazier back in the day recalled: 

“He and I spent a lot of time together, watching Ali berate him on TV with remarks about his manhood, his Christian religion, his looks, and the worst of all, that he’s ‘the White Man’s Champion.’

“Joe turned to me and said, ‘I will be everybody’s champion. I am an American champion.'"

Goose bumps?  Yeah.  And Frazier was a man to be admired if he had never done anything else but say that.

(Racial inclusiveness, and speaking of himself proudly as an American--no wonder the liberals liked the other guy better.)

But life goes on for those of us who are still here, and yesterday the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade brought the holiday season to New York, as it does every year.  And I was there, as I am every year I possibly can be.  And who else was there but...

...yes, Spider-Man.  I told you we'd get back to him.  And just as Spidey had passed...

...Kermit came by.

Mickey made the scene...

...and Snoopy... full World War I regalia, reported for duty (sort of like John Kerry at the 2004 convention, but inspiring more confidence).

The great singer and songwriter from Brooklyn

was there, riding, oddly, on a Mount Rushmore float...

...perhaps as a tribute to his anthem "Coming to America."

And finally, marking the official start of that most evocative, loveliest and craziest of all things, the Christmas season in the Big Apple...

...Father Christmas himself.  He didn't say much, but I imagine him with a Jimmy Breslin accent and a copy of the Racing Form under his jacket.

I'm still counting on him to bring me what I asked for.

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At November 27, 2011 at 7:18 PM , Anonymous Patti Fournier said...

Another great post with great pics, George. My favorite is the white haired guy and "mature" lady on the sleigh!! (and of course Neil Diamond too!)

At December 16, 2011 at 5:54 AM , Blogger Lisa said...

Great Kermit shot! Thanks!


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