Elmhurst resident to run in his 24th NYC Marathon

By Jessica Meditz


Raymond Choy sporting his 25-year-old Nike windbreaker, adorned with patches from each NYC Marathon he’s participated in.

For Raymond Choy, nothing quite beats the tranquil feeling of being in “the zone” while running.

For the 24th time in his life, the 71-year-old Elmhurst resident will soon be one of the 50,000 runners in the 2022 TCS New York City Marathon — but it was no easy feat.

Born and raised in Lower Manhattan near Chinatown, Choy always had an interest in sports and athleticism, but did not truly see himself as a runner.

“We played basketball and touch football in the streets because everybody played, but I was never really good at anything,” Choy said. “I was never one of the fast runners.”

He grew up admiring runners who competed in famous marathons, such as the New York City Marathon and the Boston Marathon, and quickly added it to his bucket list.

Back in 1993, Choy was a union carpenter working at a construction site in Downtown Manhattan.

His life changed when he and the crew were unloading materials off a truck when the materials tilted, knocking him off the truck and landing on his leg — leaving him permanently partially disabled.

“The funny thing was I was the foreman of the safety and protection crews for the job site, and I got hurt. It’s a difficult injury to come back from,” he said.

“I was in the hospital for 57 days, and from my hospital window, I could watch the building site go up. It was very depressing, watching the job go up without me.”

Choy spent the next two years learning how to walk again. In fact, he later found out that doctors were once concerned he could possibly lose his leg.

Although traumatic, the experience as a whole made Choy realize how important his health truly is, motivating him to live a healthier lifestyle.

“When I was in the hospital, I learned that I wasn’t as healthy as I thought I should be. So part of the incentive was to not ever be in the hospital again, because I was there a long time,” he said.

“I made a commitment to my family to live healthier, so that’s kind of what motivated me to start running. Now that I started, it’s kept me in shape.”

After the marathon in 1996, Choy saw a news story about Achilles International, an organization that brings the largest field of runners with disabilities to the New York City Marathon.

He said that the team’s founder, Dick Traum, who became the first amputee to complete the marathon, has been very motivating and inspiring as he goes through his running journey.

He’s also thankful for his support runners, who run alongside him in the race, encouraging him and ensuring his safety.

“I never would have finished without their support, they just kept me going, telling me, ‘You can do it.’ I can’t thank Team Achilles enough; it’s a part of my life,” he said.

Choy is proud to participate in his 24th consecutive run in the New York City Marathon, and one way he marks the occasion each year is sewing a new patch on his Nike windbreaker he purchased for the first marathon in ‘97.

Choy during the 1997 TCS New York City Marathon.

“Every marathon since then, I’ve been able to find a patch that I sewed onto that jacket. Now, I have this 25-year-old jacket that has a patch from every marathon that I’ve run on it, so that’s really nice,” he said.

“I really like to wear that jacket every October. It’s not a bad habit to pick up.”

Choy trains for about eight months prior to the marathon.

His routine consists of getting off work in Chinatown, jogging up the FDR Drive, then to Grand Central to take the 7 train back to Elmhurst.

On Sundays, he drives to Central Park to run the six-mile Central Park loop.

Choy takes pride in advancing to the 70-74 age group in the marathon, and says that “by hook or by crook,” he will continue to complete it annually until he physically can’t anymore.

“After the first marathon, I did a second, and then a third and a fourth. Once I got a streak going, and I said to myself, ‘This is something that kind of special.’ Not to pat myself on the back, but it’s something that my kids and my grandkids can say that their father or grandfather did this thing, even though he has his disability. It’s something to be proud of,” he said.

“I’m a marathoner, and I like the sound of being a marathoner. Not to be not to be morbid, but sometimes when someone passes away, they say, ‘He was a marathoner,’” Choy said.

“When I’m gone, I’d like to be thought of as a marathoner, rather than ‘just a nice guy’ like everybody else. Marathoner sounds good.”

Jastremski: An Amazin’ Statement

By John Jastremski

Four plus months into the 2022 season and contrary to popular belief, I haven’t seen any similarities between the current edition of the New York Mets and the 2015 team that won the pennant. 

Why? The 2022 team is leaps and bounds better. 

It’s not even close — and the record proves my point. 

The Mets have been a first place team all season as opposed to 2015 where the Mets were .500 for 4 months. 

For the first time all year, I noticed a similarity that gave me a 2015 flashback. 

The New York Mets buried the Atlanta Braves in the same way the 2015 Mets team buried the Washington Nationals. 

This past weekend was a brilliant display of baseball on so many different fronts that should have the fan base jumping for joy. 

The Mets had the Braves closing in their rearview mirror the months of June and July. 

The Mets had terrific months, but the Braves kept winning. 

You wanted to see how the Mets would handle their biggest series of the year? 

Well, they passed with flying colors. 

Sure, they won 4 out of 5 games. That’s outstanding, but think about some of the stars of the weekend. 

The Mets three headed pitching monster looked unhittable against one of baseball’s best lineups. 

It started on Thursday night. Mets manager Buck Showalter set a tone for the weekend: that we are here to win and to win big. 

He decided to call upon Edwin Diaz for a six-out save after an easy 8th inning, and Diaz delivered. 

Saturday, the Mets counted on their bulldog hired gun Max Scherzer to complete a doubleheader sweep. Scherzer delivered seven shutout innings with relative ease. 

On Sunday, the icing on the cake. Jacob deGrom’s first Citi Field start of 2022 and was perfect for five plus innings, striking out twelve. 

It was pretty clear to me, if you have a healthy Scherzer, deGrom and Diaz come playoff time, you can beat anyone in a short series. 

You combine that firepower on the mound with a lineup that makes pitchers work, puts the ball in play and has a knack for getting the big hit, well then. 

You’re cooking with gas! 

The Mets have it all rolling in mid August, but in reality unlike 2015, this team has been rolling all damn year. 

You don’t win any parades in August, but the statement was pretty clear this past weekend. 

The Mets are the best team in the NL East and boy are they dangerous… 

You can listen to my podcast New York, New York every Monday, Wednesday & Friday on The Ringer Podcast Network on Spotify & Apple Podcasts. You can watch me nightly on Geico Sportsnight after Mets postgame on SNY.

Jastremski: An Off-Broadway Flop

Durant & Irving’s Nets

Three years ago, the Brooklyn Nets did the unthinkable.

They landed Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving and beat out the New York Knicks and the rest of the NBA in the process.

The minute the Durant/Irving partnership found its way to Brooklyn, the mandate was pretty simple.

Championship or bust.

Three years later, it’s a whole lot of bust for the Brooklyn Nets.

Last week, the Woj bomb dropped right before free agency. Kevin Durant wants out of Brooklyn and vocalized his desire for a trade.

The Nets all-in approach bombed in a rather epic fashion and they shouldn’t have regrets when it comes to taking the swing on both Durant and Irving.

It’s easy to second guess now, but every team in the NBA outside of Golden State at the time would have signed on the dotted line for the two superstars.

The Nets may have won out on Durant and Irving, but they also became the center of drama and dysfunction throughout the NBA.

The last three years have been a rollercoaster.

Where to begin.

There was all sorts of Kyrie Irving drama. Does he want to play basketball? Will he get the vaccine?

Kyrie dazzled at times on the court, but also missed a whole of time in the process.

The Nets were in the middle of James Harden drama. Last year they gave up a whole lot of assets to bring in the guard, a year later he quit on the team and had to be traded for Ben Simmons.

The same Ben Simmons that still has yet to play a game for the Brooklyn Nets.

Durant’s play on the court cannot be questioned. When he was on the floor suiting up for Brooklyn, he shined.

However, he failed to deliver in taking the franchise back to the promised land.

Injuries, dysfunction or not, it is comical that the Nets couldn’t find a way to an NBA Finals yet alone a Conference Finals with this collection of talent.

Kevin Durant left the Golden State Warriors with two Finals MVP trophies, but with a challenge in front of him.

Could Durant go and lead his own team to a title? Not a ready-made 73 win Golden State Warriors team.

Durant was unable to do so and decided after three years, enough is enough.

Kevin Durant got to pick his head coach. the players and got the chance to sit out a full season.

It wasn’t good enough for him.

Durant’s legacy as an all-time great player is established. There’s no knocking what he has brought to the floor for over fifteen years in the league.

However, when it comes to his tenure in Brooklyn, it’s a whole lot of unfulfilled promises.

Durant is under contract for the next 4 years, I’m not rushing a trade by any means if I’m the Brooklyn Nets.

The Nets must do right by the organization, not the demands of a disgruntled superstar.

The future is very uncertain in Brooklyn, but the pairing of Durant and Irving will go down as one of the all time great NY flops.

Imagine two all time great actors taking their talents off Broadway, expecting a Tony and failing to come close to winning a Tony after calling every single shot.

I don’t know when DiCaprio and Jonah Hill are taking a play to Brooklyn, but I hope it has better success than the basketball version that we witnessed over the last three years…

You can listen to my podcast New York, New York every Monday, Wednesday & Friday on The Ringer Podcast Network on Spotify/Apple Podcasts. You can watch me nightly on Geico Sportsnight following Mets postgame on SNY.

Fans return to local sports bars despite COVID flare-up

Pandemic-related restrictions on indoor gatherings and hours of operation were lifted on bars across New York State at the end of May, and since then staff at local sports pubs say fans have resumed watching games and matches in social settings. Proprietors are hoping they won’t be forced into another shutdown.
“People are starting to come out more, but who knows how long it’s going to last? I have a feeling we’re going to be put in the hole again,” said James Munson, co-owner of The Village Saloon on Eliot Avenue in Middle Village. “You definitely noticed the difference when the restrictions were on. People didn’t want to go out.”
As the NBA and NHL playoffs were pushed later into the summer to accommodate their modified regular season schedules, fans were getting a reprieve from the capacity rules and curfews that made it nearly impossible for fans to gather.
“We packed the place for the Euro Cup, but the NBA Finals wasn’t as big for us this year, I think because of the two smaller market teams,” said Carlo Fortunato, co-owner of Emblem, a sports bar and beer garden with nearly 20 televisions in Williamsburg. “If the Knicks and the Lakers were in it, I think it would have been different,”
The common trend seen at sports bars is that fans have returned to watch big games, such as the NBA playoffs and major international soccer tournaments, but the after-work ritual of stopping to have a beer and watch a few innings of a baseball game appears to be paused due to the increase of people working from home.
“Baseball is not drawing a big crowd,” said Carmine Gangone, owner of Carmine & Sons, a pizzeria and sports bar in Williamsburg. “People are really not packing my bar unless it’s a big game. I’m hoping football season brings them in.”
Despite a disinterest in the national pastime, bar owners say they have also tried to diversify or tweak little elements of their establishments. Emblem is hosting multiple comedy nights in order to boost traffic on weeknights. Carmine & Sons is featuring a weekly jazz trio on the sidewalk outside their restaurant’s entrance.
The Village Saloon, under new management since May 5, focused on improving their menu when they reopened in the space formerly occupied by Mooney’s Public House. Still, several sports bar owners say the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions coincided with the time of year when many people are away on vacation.
“The summertime is a tough time to own a bar in Middle Village,” Munson said. “A lot of people go away on vacation or for the weekend, and probably more so this year.”
Sports bars with a history of showing a particular sport or team, such as New York Islanders hockey or the Ultimate Fighting Championship, saw crowds return as soon as they could.
“My crowd for MMA is back strong, but during the entire pandemic people called us to ask if we were going to show the UFC fight that weekend,” Fortunato said. “I had to tell them I wasn’t because I had to close by 11 p.m. and pay $1,000 for the fight when I was only allowed half-capacity. It wasn’t worth it for me.”
While the size of the crowds returning to sports bars has been promising, what’s concerning ownership and staff is what happens if the COVID-19 infection rate increases to the point that restrictions on bars and restaurants are reinstated.
Rosann McSorley, whose family owns Katch Astoria, a gastropub and beer garden with 64 televisions and 50 beer taps, is worried she and her staff may be required to ask patrons to wear masks. Katch drew strong crowds for the Islanders run to the NHL semifinals, but has still not returned to its pre-pandemic foot traffic or closing times.
“The mask coming back will be an issue for the bars that do not have outdoor capacity, because people will be concerned,” McSorley said. “I think our business is going to drop for sure. If we are asked to check that people have been vaccinated, that will be another issue.”

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