Reasons to Love Ada Now

Every town needs an annual appreciation list.

Every town needs an annual appreciation list.

For the last 10 years, New York Magazine has done a year-end issue detailing "Reasons to Love New York Now."  Making the magazine's list in 2014:  "Because 207,000 pounds of clothes discarded during the marathon went to charity" (I agree, good reason); "Because Brooklyn is getting a skyline" (I disagree! Brooklyn charmed me because it felt right-sized and humane in scale) and "Because we wear sweat pants with heels "

Okay, my first reaction with this one is, "Why would you ruin the comfort of sweat pants with high heels?"

It seems like I'm already turning into an Adaite.  Comfort is given greater weight than trendy.  And sweatpants are meant to sweat in, as in, athletic sweat.  Not sweat, as in, flop sweat, like the kind editorial assistants at Vogue must break out in if Anna Wintour looks askance at their sweatpants-and-high-heels pairing.

Here, in no particular order, is the rest of my 2015 Reasons to Love Ada Now.  

Alternate Side Parking means parking the car on a different side of the garage.   

Our mornings in Brooklyn didn't start with "Good morning," or "Would you like some coffee?" but "Does the car need to be moved?" Alternate side parking rules, for those of you who have driveways, garages and other car dwelling spaces, govern a car owner's life in New York City.  They dictate which side of the street is scheduled for cleaning by the Sanitation Department, which days of the week, and what hours.  Failure to move your car means a $65 ticket, and, sometimes, a garish chartreuse sticker slapped on your side window declaring you a law-flouting so-and-so.  Those stickers are applied with something approaching cement.  It's easier to have the window replaced than to scrape the damn thing off.  You want to avoid the Scofflaw Sticker at all cost.

In Ada, without such rules, I am free to focus on other issues first thing in the morning.  Not, "Where's the car?" but "Where's the half-and-half?"  

Mohammed Islam.  Photo by Bobby Doherty for New York Magazine.

Mohammed Islam.  Photo by Bobby Doherty for New York Magazine.

Because overweening ambition is not something Adaites would celebrate in a year-end list

Reason No. 12 in New York Magazine's annual list was based on rumors that a senior at the prestigious Stuyvesant High School, Mohammed Islam, made $72 million in trades on the stock market.  Islam was part of an investment club at Stuy High, and had made simulated trades, but his boasting about his successes there turned into the rumors that turned into the story that turned into a major embarrassment for Islam, his family, reporter Jessica Pressler and New York Magazine.  The magazine's publisher, Adam Moss, said Islam gave them fake bank statements showing an eight-figure balance.  They never followed up to see whether that money was from trades, from an inheritance, or from rummaging around for loose change in between lots and lots of sofas.   "We were duped," the magazine said, in its apology "Our fact-checking process was obviously inadequate."

This kind of story would never even get off the ground in Ada.  "You made $72 million in stock trades? That's nice.  Good for you."

Because for 60 years, the ball used in our nation's most popular sport has been made here

Ada is the home of the Wilson football factory, the "only dedicated football factory" in the world. Footballs are all that they do.  I've toured the factory.  It smells like leather.  There are stacks of hides that get stamped with that pebbled texture, cut into that lozenge shape, stitched together and laced.  There's a guy who manually rams the stiff, partially-sewn form onto a shiny iron rod, to turn it outside-out, ready to receive its bladder.  

Right now, the factory's 150 employees are kicking out footballs stamped with this year's Super Bowl XLIX teams, the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots.  I hear the game balls will go to Glendale, Arizona, in a special car.  

Because we've got a championship team

O-H! I-O!  Yes, Buckeye fever has reached even this too-cool-to-care alumnus of The Ohio State University, following the team’s unexpected 42-20 cakewalk over the Oregon Ducks to clinch the first-ever College Football Playoff Championship. 

They won with a third-string quarterback, Cardale Jones, in just his third start.  They did it after Jones and the team stunned No. 1 Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.  They did it despite being the No. 4 team at the end of the regular season.  

And there’s talk of more championships to come.  Coach Urban Meyer will begin the next season with many of the same players, including Jones, who decided to bypass the NFL draft.  

Let's face it.  New York's sports scene stinks right now.  The Jets and Giants are a mess.  The Knicks are gunning for the worst NBA record of all time.  The Yankees, after years of dominance, are in a rebuilding mode and the Mets?  There's nothing to say there, and there hasn't been since 1986.  

The clock in the town center, near the train depot that put Ada on the map.  It actually tells time. 

The clock in the town center, near the train depot that put Ada on the map.  It actually tells time. 

Because the clock in the center of town actually tells time

That's more than you can say for the landmark clock tower on the top of the former Williamsburg Savings Bank Tower in Brooklyn.  When I moved to the borough, in 1987, I lived in an apartment on State Street, about two blocks from the building.  Its clock tower dominated the sky, especially at night.  Its four faces glowed red.  You could see the tower for miles.  It hasn't been the same since the office building was sold to former basketball great Magic Johnson and other investors in 2005.  They turned the bank into high-end condos, rebranding it as One Hanson Place.  In 2008, representatives told my WNYC colleague Soterios Johnson that they had renovated the clocks, replacing rusted-out conduits and broken glass globes on the clocks' faces.  They even manually moved the 25-foot-long arms of each clock face to synchronize them.  All that work seems to have been for naught.  The clocks' four faces are sparsely illuminated.  You can't read the time at night.   

Age may get the best of Ada's clock, but not gentrification or real estate speculation.