Monday, July 26, 2010

Two Ton Tony Galento and the Parking Lot

Tony Galento, the heavyweight boxer, was a son of Orange. He once knocked Joe Louis to the mat, a moment that was cheered in some parts of town, while Louis' eventual victory was celebrated in another. That's how American cities work. Galento was honored by having a plaza named after him. This plaza is largely a parking lot. In his honor, an "Envision Tony Galento Plaza" Day was held last week. Artists made drawings of Tony and a bear that he once took on. Everyone came by and boxed with Tony or the bear, or Tony and the bear. People told stories of the kind of guy he was. He once ate 50 hot dogs before a boxing match, someone said. Another told me about the bar he had in town, with a boxing club next door. The more stories I heard, I more I looked around at the expanse of parking lot, with its broken asphalt and forlorn shrubs: no people, no action, nothing happening. Then I looked at the all the people clowning around with the drawings of Tony and the bear (in the photo, Gabe is moving Tony's arm to knock out that bear!). Yesterday I was reading an article about a neighborhood in Portland, Oregon, that painted a sunflower in an intersection to create a piazza. Then I had a vision: we could paint a boxing ring in Tony Galento Plaza and make ourselves a piazza.

Can you see it?


Mindy Thompson Fullilove said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mindy Thompson Fullilove said...

Istanbul Lorrisey left the following comment, for which I am most grateful:
The plaza could be great! I love the idea of the boxing ring. I'm not sure if my dad has mentioned the Two-Ton Tony Bar and Grill in the old train station ticket office. We think it could be a great way to capture the commuter crowd who usually just jet home to West Orange.