It had been almost four days, but the smell still hung on Woodycrest Avenue. The sickening sooty air stuck in your nose long after you turned the corner and put the burned building behind you.
A fire that killed 10 New Yorkers, nine of them children, punched a hole in the middle of the block that has reached across the neighborhood and the city and the state.
It brought the Mayor and the Governor to the Bronx, but nothing could ease the suffering. The people around Yankee Stadium were doing their best just to get through.
“The game is a nice break,” said the crowd watching at Ball Park Lanes on Sunday, “but it doesn’t change anything.”
Even the easy flow of Spring Training couldn’t cut it.
“Maybe time will make us feel better,” they said. “By Opening Day we might be back to normal, but that block of Woodycrest will never be the same.”
Hope crept into the room when Jose Tabata – the youngest Yankee – hit a ninth-inning home run to pull within one. “He is really something,” they all agreed. “What a swing. What power. What potential. Kids like that come along once in a lifetime.”
Every kid is once in a lifetime.