Welcome to the Neighborhood

May 17, 2010 — As a crowd of nearly 500 people — and a mariachi
band — stood outside Washington Heights’ El Nuevo Caridad, Alex Rodriguez,
Curtis Granderson and Greg Golson served lunch to members of local Little
League teams within the restaurant.

The meal, which was passed out to 200 youngsters
a few hours before tonight’s game, was on the
house.

“We like to take care of Little Leaguers
programs from all over the city,” said the restaurant’s owner, Miguel Montas.
“The food is good, and the players are great.”

For Montas, the Yankees’ visit was especially
meaningful because, A-Rod, a Washington Heights native, was on hand.

“Alex is the best baseball player in the world,”
Montas said. “The respect that these kids have for Alex, and the respect that
Alex has for them and for this community is a big deal.”

Trust me, that feeling was shared by every kid, every parent and very grandparent inside and outside the restaurant. They are proud to claim A-Rod as their own; they share pride in his accomplishments; and they are ecstatic when he stops by — even if it’s only for a few minutes.

A-Rod arrived some time after the other players, but I could here the roar of the crowd when his SUV neared — from a back room inside of the restaurant.

Granderson, who is one of baseball’s more giving players, relished the opportunity to support
Montas’ efforts.

“Today, I got a chance to see this community for
what it is,” said Granderson as he donned a chef’s hat. “To see a restaurant help it’s neighbors like
this is what it’s all about. These kids enjoyed the meal, but they wanted to
talk about baseball, as well. It shows where our support comes from.”

–Alfred Santasiere III

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