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Countdown to New York Panorama 2005

Where is Yours?
Are The SteelPan Music Folks Missing Something Here?
Pre-Steelband Panorama Concerns

  July 13, 2005

The TROPICANS at the first New York Panorama behind Brooklyn Museum

New York - It is no secret that the Brooklyn New York steelband community has some of the most, spineless, cowardly, sleazy and useless politicians representing them at all levels of government.  Let's take that back that word "representing." They don't represent them at all.  And embarrassingly, the steelband leaders have become accustomed to scratching where they don't itch.  Why the steelpan people would want these no-talent, double-talking, idiots to be associated with them is puzzling.  The average ten-year old could negotiate a better situation than what they have now.

Mets New Proposed Stadium

However, it's an election year in New York.  The mayor, and many others, have to campaign once more, in an effort to retain their political offices.  Indeed many of the politicians whose districts are those where steelbands reside, are up for re-election.   It is the kind of year when politicians never use the word "no."  It is the kind of year when politicians will "promise" and kiss anything that will get them votes - anything from babies to dogs.   Now that is not necessarily a bad thing.  It just means one is more likely to get what they want in this environment.  Teams get stadiums, city workers get raises, etc.

For example this year all of the major New York sports franchises demanded new stadiums or arenas with the threat of leaving NY if they didn't get it.   The New York Nets of the National Basketball Association asked for a new arena and got it.  It will be built in downtown Brooklyn.  New York Mets asked for a stadium and got it.  It will be built in Queens New York right next to the old World's Fair grounds.  The New York Yankees asked for a stadium and got it.  It's going to be built next to the old stadium in the Bronx.  The New York Jets won their bid to have a new stadium built for them on the west side of Manhattan on the old MTA train yards.  Even the New York Giants asked for and got a new stadium.  It's going to be built in the Meadowlands next to the old stadium.


New York Jets Stadium Coming To Manhattan

Let's put this into perspective by numbers: the Yankees pulled 3,775,292 fans to their games last year.  But they had to host eighty-one games to achieve that number.  The Mets also had to play eighty-one games, and  drew 2,318,321.  With forty-one games the Nets attracted 618,677 and the New York Jets 2004 pulled 623,181 after an eight-game home season...  Now the New York Labor day carnival festivities pull over 4,000,000 attendees for one day.  Multiply that by 4 for an extended weekend you get the picture.

If the major New York steelband leaders and key mas band leaders ever conceive of it, they can demand the same as these major sporting organizations, and receive their own state-of-the-art stadium or arena to host events, not only at Labor day, but year-round.   Just let these leaders - for once - consider and act upon the idea to contact, for instance, the mayor in Newark, or the governor of New Jersey.  The leaders can negotiate to shift their entire main weekend and Labor day celebration there.  It is amazing what kind of effect and consequences, the flight of revenue generated by four million people over one weekend, from the city and state of New York to Newark/New Jersey, would follow.  Now... if only these steelband leaders (each of them who is a franchise), and mas leaders would come together with some gumption and play hardball.

The late Rudy King speaks To When Steel Talks

Consider this:  my eleven-year old daughter who plays the double tenor may make her first New York panorama appearance this year.  It occurred to me that I was also about her age when I played in my first New York panorama.  In addition, it also occurred to me that panorama share the sad distinction of being held behind the Brooklyn Museum in the parking lot.   Imagine that more than a quarter of a century has passed and the venue remains the same.  This brings to mind an interview with the late Rudy King, the man who brought the steelpan instrument to America.  When asked, had there been much progress in terms of the New York panorama scene, King replied sorrowfully and with an emphatic 'no,' and went further to explain that he played in the first panorama and it had been held behind the museum, and that thirty plus years later it was still being held "behind the museum."  "That's not progress."   He went further to say that steelbands should have been performing at the large arenas and stadiums.  Wishful thinking?  Sounds like the New York steel pan community has been a big wheel stuck in mud.

Recent Steelband Panorama at Brooklyn Museum

It's time for all the eleven to seventeen year old pan players, who cannot yet vote, but are extremely astute and observant, to take notice of all the politicians who cannot deliver a stadium for pan people to perform in,  or a simple pan yard to practice in their districts.  Lay low wait till you can vote in a few years, and then throw these sleaze bag bums out.  The days of kissing babies and dogs for the pan people for votes will soon be over.  Make sure you get your Steelpan stadium on Utica and Eastern Parkway right in the heart of one of the largest and most vibrant  steelpan communities in the world.  After all, this is the era of "eminent domain."

Many times the steelpan community forgets just how talented and intelligent, but most of all, POWERFUL, it is.  In the land of big-time TV contracts, endorsements deals, buy-outs and monopolies, it time for you to go for yours.  If these 'politrickers' don't deliver, just remember who they are and in a few years you will be able to vote and flush them away with yesterday's toilet paper.  Go for yours. 


July 13, 2005

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