Come the end of summer, all eyes in America start to focus on the upcoming NFL season, or at least that is what the major networks are hoping. Long Island City is no exception, as the multi-region makeup of the neighborhood is exhibited by all the different jerseys sported here on Sundays in the Fall. Anyone who has lived in a tower for a few years, has heard the roar of another apartment in the middle of the afternoon (or evening), indicating a touchdown, interception, or big stop has occurred. So we thought it was a good time to check in with former NFL running back and fellow LIC resident, Tony Richardson, to get his perspective on the game and the upcoming season.
Tony spent a whopping 16 years in the league. As a fullback, he punched holes for the likes of Adrian Peterson, LaDainian Tomlinson, Larry Johnson, Priest Holmes, and Marcus Allen. In addition, he played for Auburn during their undefeated season in 1993. Nowadays, the four-time Pro-Bowler calls Long Island City home. When I first met Tony earlier this year, I pegged him to be about 30 years old. I missed my mark by over a decade, which leads to my first question.
Editor: Everyone sees QB’s receiving brutal blindsided hits and wide receivers getting the worst of high speed collisions, but the cumulative effects of the hits on running backs, though less visible, are equally punishing. Given the lengthy period you played in the NFL, how did you stay so well-preserved and what are you doing now to maintain it?
Tony: I’m actually in the best shape of my life right now. Back in my playing days, I was diligent about taking care of myself as well as I could, but the weekly demands of the schedule barely gave me enough time to get back to speed. Nowadays I can focus more on exercise that is less palliative.
For example, yesterday morning I went to the Yoga Room for a hot yoga flow class. Later I did an upper body workout, and in the evening I went back to the Yoga Room for hot vinyasa. Today1, I rode my bike down to Williamsburg for a Soul Cycle class, which incorporates everything: cardio, core, side-to-side. Then I hit my legs in the gym, and I’m thinking about going to hot vinyasa again this evening.
I’m obviously a big proponent of yoga, and have been prodding all of my friends to take it up.
E: Let’s turn to the upcoming season, who do you like this year, and who is your dark horse?
T: No surprise here, but I like last years Superbowl winner the Seattle Seahawks. First off, I can’t overemphasize the importance of their loud stadium, nor of home field advantage overall. One of the coaches I played for2, when plotting his season and road to the playoffs, always stressed the importance of playing at home with the calculation that we would win all eight home games and split the eight on the road. Given the parity today in the league, the uniqueness of Seattle’s stadium is a significant edge.
Secondly, defense wins games, and a great defensive back makes a huge difference because he can cut the size of the field in half as a quarterback tries to completely avoid his side. Aaron Rodgers pretty much admitted that last week in referring to Richard Sherman.
As for a dark horse, though one game does not make a season, I think Jacksonville may finally break out this year.
E: What are you doing now that you have left the NFL?
T: I am working for Certified Financial Services(CFS) focusing on life and health insurance, and incorporating it with financial planning. From the time I first started in the league, I was the guy in the locker room telling the others about the importance of saving, 401-k’s, and putting together a financial plan. It was something I felt was very important for me and for those around me, and my interest in it led to my getting all my licenses after I left.
E: So, how did you end up in LIC?
T: When I first came to the Jets in 2008 they were still practicing out at Hofstra. The m.o. for their real estate brokers was to show new players places in Long Island. Having lived in the suburbs when I played in KC and Minneapolis, I really wanted to experience city life, especially now that I was in New York. After a few false starts, they finally asked me “What about LIC?” and the rest is history. I originally thought my stay would be short term, but I love it here and decided not to leave when I left the Jets. In fact, I told my former running-backs coach Anthony Lynn to move here when he got hired by the Jets by telling him it’s the best place ever. My only regret is that I didn’t buy a place when I originally got here.
E: What’s your favorite bar in LIC?
T: There’s no better place for a cocktail than Dutch Kills, and Val the bartender is the best. I can also be found at Shi many nights, it’s where I met a lot of my closest friends in the neighborhood. In fact I introduced Shi to yoga!
E: Finally, I think the question that readers would most like answered is, how many times a week do you read LICtalk?
T: Four, right when it’s published, then again a day or two later to make sure I did not miss anything. Plus, I subscribe to it on Twitter to stay au courant on all things Long Island City.
Thank you very much Tony. In the words of Billy Crystal “You look mahvelous!”
I’m going to bypass all the real estate news this week and aggregate it with my own RE thoughts next week, in order to focus on what’s most important right now: the weekend. With that in mind, the LIC Flea will be debuting their beer garden this Saturday with a promotion: $2 beers between 4:30pm and 5pm. Wow, that’s almost as impressive as lasting in the NFL for 16 seasons. Plus it will solely feature beers from local Queens brewers. That’s almost as impressive as going to the Pro Bowl!
Headphone Dance Party Comes to Queens – they couldn’t have had a better night for it, and I’m convinced that after last night, Lincoln Center would make it their permanent home if they could.
CB2 Gathers for First Meeting of the Season – “Another holdover from June was the restaurant backyards issue in the Vernon Boulevard vicinity”
Outdoor Flea Market Coming to Teamsters Parking Lot in Court Square – not one but two fleas in LIC!
An Artistic Playground Lies in LIC – it’s a small drive, but another local option for kids