Fred Wilpon made his fortune in real estate development, but it was a small side venture that was always closest to his heart. No, not the Mets, but rather the Wilpon family owned Frozen Banana Stand in Manhattan, which Saturday was burned to ash by Fred’s son, Jeff.
“I ‘forgot’ to pay my gas bill,” the junior Wilpon said. “No one ever bought those bananas, so I figured I’d acquire some fire wood, and maybe collect a little insurance in the process.”
Little did Jeff know that five years earlier, his dad lined the walls of the banana stand with $250,000 in cash. The money was said to be Fred’s “rainy day fund,” savings put aside each year to support his expensive umbrella habit. After the Bernie Madoff scandal, the former pocket change became more of a savings account.
“This kid, this friggen kid,” muttered Fred Wilpon. “I clearly told him countless times, ‘There’s always money in the banana stand!’ When season ticket sales were in the crapper, when we had to shell out extra salary to Bonilla each year, when Bernie [Madoff] got pinched, what did I say? There’s always money in the [expletive deleted] banana stand!”
The seldom talked about banana stand had been open since 1984, and last made news the day the Mets signed Johan Santana, and offered every New Yorker $0.57 off each “Santana Banana,” which were later discovered to be rotten. It will not be missed.
“I’ve made a huge mistake,” Jeff added. “We needed that cash pretty badly, so if any GMs are reading this, David Wright can be had on the cheap. Give us a call.”
Follow Vin on Twitter – @vc_wg – He’s desperate for attention.