Volume 44, Issue 3 - March 2009

Issue @ Hand

Spring Ahead

"The hardest winter finds in us an invincible Spring." -Albert Camus

When I began to write this article on Monday, the outer suburbs of the Washington, D.C., area had just been hit with its first major snow in more than three years. We got ten inches at our offices here in Stafford, Va. Now, as I put the finishing touches on it on Saturday morning, I am being enticed outside by the promise of a 72-degree temperature, bright sun and absolutely no snow left on the ground—it’s all melted. In its place are tons of industrious birds, including at least two robins with bright red chests thumping, all digging into the waterlogged earth in search of breakfast. Might it really be Spring?

Spring was on my mind early last October when I read Brigid O’Leary’s excellent article about the glass in the new sports stadiums opening this year. “Why don’t we save it for Spring?” suggested editor Megan Headley. “We can use it in March and it will come out right before the start of the baseball season. It would be a great cover story.

”Now there’s a saying among editors (sort of akin to the “sometimes-you’re-the-windshield-sometimes-you’re-the-bug” one) that says “great pictures or great photos, you never get both.” In this case, we had a great article, but we had no photos. So any story, let alone a cover story, was going to be a challenge. And with that in mind, Megan went to work on the both the Yankees and the Mets to let us get some great glass photos of their new digs.

Now let me say that getting permission to photograph an as-yet unopened major league baseball stadium turned out to be the most difficult photo shoot we’ve ever attempted. Despite repeated tries, the Yankees just said flat out “no.” Thanks to the good graces and great shots by the glass teams working there, we were able to bring you the interiors any way. After many months of negotiations, the New York Mets came through and, once Megan got the word that we could do so, we knew just who we wanted to take the pictures.

The photos of the new Citi Field in this issue were taken by award-winning New York photographer Fred Kopf. “I had an escort with me at all times but there were certain areas I was not allowed to visit like the players’ locker rooms,” he said, “but I got a good cross section of all the major glass work. They told me that the Mets were allowing only two photographers in to shoot prior to opening day—a Sports Illustrated photographer was permitted to take one picture and USGlass magazine, which did a full shoot.”

I knew Fred would come through for us. In addition to being a professional shutterbug, he is also my younger and only brother and is used to the danger that difficult situations bring. Most days, he serves as a lieutenant in the New York City Fire Department. He is FDNY through and through. “It was a great kick to do the shoot and the Mets organization was first-class,” he said. 

The article also served as a point of discussion in my family. Growing up in New York, the boys (my father and Fred) were always more partial to the Yankees. But my mother grew up in Queens watching Shea Stadium being built and passed her admiration of the Mets on to her daughters, so the shoot also served to prove the ladies right: Mets rule. (To see a few more shots of the new Citi Field, please visit my blog at www.USGNN.com.)

There are a number of all-star articles in this issue, most notably the USGlass Big Book of Lists. Megan Headley and her team work tirelessly to ferret out and compile information and rankings. Though not an exact science, what emerges is an interesting snapshot in itself—of the USGlass industry.

Here’s wishing you an invincible Spring.


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