Monday, October 31, 2005

Saturday, October 29: Training in the park

Where will these kids train while a new stadium is built on their track? Replacement parks are not scheduled to be constructed until after the new stadium is built.

Next Vigil

Meet with other concerned neighbors at the bleachers next to the track in Macomb's Dam Park (near the corner of River Avenue and 161 Street) this Saturday, November 5 from 1 to 2 pm.

We will be gathering signatures for our petition and after about an hour or so we will take a walk around both the present Yankee Stadium and the proposed location to better understand what this plan will entail for our community.

Bring the kids!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Suspicious activity at Yankee Stadium

A Friend of Yankee Stadium writes us:

As I was browsing the web and searching information on the new Yankee Stadium I came across a link that took me to New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. The site talks about the new Yankee Stadium and it's plans for the surrounding area. The site also lists capital projects involving the existing Yankee Stadium in past years. I was surprised to see a capital project involving expansion joints involving Yankee Stadium.

I have copy and pasted the info from the site:

Project Description:
Date Started: Thursday, July 31st, 1997
Date Completed: Friday, July 24th, 1998
Total Budget: $1,246,000.00

If you look closely you can see that the date started for this project was July 31st, 1997....9 months before an expansion joint mysteriously fell on an empty seat just hours before a game on opening day weekend at Yankee Stadium.

Those who remember this happening know at the time Mayor Guiliani and Steinbrenner were scheming to move the Yankees to Manhattan's West Side. The failure of this expansion joint strengthened the City's position on why a new Yankee Stadium needed to be built. Although the West side stadium site fell through, the supposed failure of the expansion joint continued to be a satisfactory reason why a new Yankee Stadium was needed.

Coincidence? I think not. At the time Yankee Stadium was celebrating it's 75th anniversary. The supposed failure of this beam on the opening day celebration weekend quickly changed from celebrating Yankee Stadium's 75 years to "Wow! 75 years is a long time...Maybe we do need a new Yankee Stadium." Congratulations George and Rudy. You conned the majority of the public but you can't con me!

(If I remember correctly, even after this "accident" over 70% of fans polled were in favor of maintaining the present stadium as opposed to building a new one--ed.)

By the way, I talk to a lot of people about this subject and many do not know that Yankee Stadium will be torn down if a new Yankee Stadium is built. I guess it helps when Yankee Announcers on Yes or 880am or Mike and the Mad Dog on 660am WFAN and Yes Network are all George Steinbrenner YES men who fear for their jobs if they cross the wrath of the BOSS.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Last night's CB4 Meeting, or the score so far Yankees: 0, Community: 2

Last night's CB4 meeting lasted more than two and a half hours in spite of the fact that the Yankees and the Parks Department did not show up and the community didn't get their 2 minutes each to speak on the evils of the new stadium plan. Begs the question: who could have thought there would be enough time to actually cover the agenda?

And why didn't the Yankees show up? This is the second meeting in a row they couldn't make. According to the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Yankees, the Economic Development Corporation, and the Parks Department, the Yankees are REQUIRED to reach out to the community. And apparently as we are an Environmental Justice Community (Asthma Alley), the definition of "reaching out to the community" is much more stringent than if we were the Upper East Side.

That said, the Yankee Plan was the elephant in the room for some (our elected officials) and Topic A for others (the community at large).

Some excellent questions/points made in reference to the Yankees:

Why is the Town Hall Meeting with the Yankees (to substitute for the two meetings they have missed) and to be hosted by the Community Board and BP Carrion scheduled on Nov 17, AFTER the elections?

In spite of repeated tagging of the Yankees as the major players, along with the Parks Department, one community resident said: "actually the major players are here right now". And we were! The room was packed with community residents.

Dan from Develop Don't Destroy, Brooklyn (wow, long trip) wanted to know if community groups will have the opportunity to make presentations as long in duration as the Yankee's presentations.

Senator Serrano Jr spoke about his legislation, mentioned a bill he sponsored for more "open" and "green" spaces in his district, inspiring gasps and laughs of astonishment. He used the phrase "Asthma Alley" in reference to the community.

When questioned about the plan, Serrano said "As I see it, as it was presented to us, since Yankee Stadium was on it's a swap" Which of course caused an uproar.

Mike Trotter told how he couldn't step on McComb's Dam Park 50 years ago so he helped desegregate it and now it looks like he won't be able to step on McComb's again! He asked Serrano "will you sponsor or protect the park?" He said "You're a Hayesman like I am and as you know Hayesmen stick together"

Mr Pacheco (who heads CB4 Economic Development Committee) said "the last meeting was great. First time I saw so many people" And why were they there? To hear the Yankees give their song and dance. Unfortunately, there was no music as this was the meeting the Yankees didn't show for. He mentioned something about trying to get signatures back in 1986 to protect Macomb's Dam Park from a parking lot the Yankees wanted to build.

Diana Strom pointed out that "1 out of 4 kids have asthma in the South Bronx"

Councilmember Helen Diane Foster's representative, Mr Fairbanks said "It looks like we made 'a tactical mistake' in alienating the parks..." but then went on to say something about alienating Macomb's wasn't a bad idea, instead alienating the parks first before getting a CBA was bad.

Delmar (sorry, I don't know his last name) was very concerned about the Yankee issue: he's asthmatic, and doesn't want the politicians to "barter my life for so-called jobs". "We are not interested in a community benefits agreement" we just want our parks preserved!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Parks1 welcomes our website to the blogosphere.

Click the title to read their post.

And thanks Parks 1. We appreciate it!

Drilling for oil?

A few days ago this truck appeared with drilling equipment near the running track at Macombs Dam Park. Confidential sources reveal that preliminary tests show that the drill has encountered sand and water instead of the “terra firma” needed to support a mega-structure such as the proposed Steinbrenner Stadium.

Perhaps more luxury boxes are equivalent to oil for Steinbrenner – especially when he wants $200 million of our tax dollars to “re-create” separate and unequal parkland.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

"...the sport's most hallowed cathedral."

What would be done with the real Yankee Stadium?

This quote comes from an article featured on the official Yankee website:

"Several players were happy to hear that the current Yankee Stadium would be converted into a sort of baseball museum, with the facade and playing field to be preserved. Such a gesture, the Yankees felt, will give the sport's most hallowed cathedral the respect it deserves."

So in renderings, the old Yankee Stadium is shown completely dismantled and the field itself opened as park space. But the Yankees themselves assert that they would preserve the facade and open a museum. Which is it going to be?

And if the stadium is worth preserving as a themepark, it's worth preserving as a living, though renovated, BALLpark.

Please take just a few moments to focus on these words: "the sport's most hallowed cathedral."

Thank you.

Click the title to read for yourself.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Yankees' words prove the lie

Do the Yankees really need Macomb's Dam and John Mullaly parks for a new or expanded Yankee Stadium? Is there really no other way? Well, they and their agents in the City government insist they do. Let's look at the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the new Yankee Stadium and see if it might help clear things up*:

"Reconstruction on the existing site was also considered, but was determined infeasible because of the physical limitations of the site and the consequent inability to provide a modern-day baseball facility."

Really? I wonder what those limitations might be...south of the present stadium is a street which is closed to traffic and a parking garage. Nothing which precludes an ability "to provide a modern-day baseball facility".

"By any measure of a modern ballpark other than seating capacity, the existing Yankee Stadium is too small and functionally inadequate. Although its seating capacity is sufficient, there is not enough space to support the fans and players or to offer appropriate food and other services."

Notice that in terms of seating capacity the stadium is fine--in fact it seats thousands more than the proposed stadium would. So how is it too small? Only in terms of being able to provide "appropriate food and other services." So it is small in the same way that Fenway Park is small. To overcome this, our peers in Boston are building a separate structure which will fulfill the requirements of a "modern-day baseball facility."

"The stadium sits on a site of just under 10 acres, compared to the more than 13.0 acres that a state-of-the-art facility requires."

But notice that the proposed stadium takes up 22 acres, not 13! And still they don't seem to have enough space, even with the TWENTY-TWO acres they are stealing from the community, to preserve our 80 year old oaks which line the perimeter of the proposed stadium site.

A "footprint for a modern stadium would have to be at least 12.5 acres. To expand the footprint to meet this standard on the existing site would mean encroaching on or closing one or more of the streets that surround the stadium."

And yet the plan proposed by the Yankees closes several streets and also encroaches on various sidewalks as well. Keep in mind that the street just to the south of the present stadium is already closed to traffic, and the street just to the west of the present stadium is little more than a driveway.

"As it stands now, Yankee Stadium cannot comfortably handle attendance greater than 35,000"

But it has somehow attracted record breaking, often sell-out crowds for many years running. Witness the full page ads in newspapers a few weeks ago congratulating the Yankees for record breaking attendance this year. The ones doing the congratulating? Major League Baseball.

This is a dishonest document.

*Yankee Stadium Project DEIS, S-4

A stadium will ruin these homes

How would you like to live in this Art Deco apartment building across the street from a park filled with 80 year old oaks?

Now how much would you like it if the city gave your "front yard" to a rich baseball team to build a 14 story stadium?

I wouldn't much like it, either!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

South Bronx in the news

This article in The Real Deal discusses real estate development in the Bronx

"But developers have begun testing the market in the South Bronx with market-rate housing. The Jackson Development Group is putting up 28 condominiums in seven row houses near Yankee Stadium, which itself will be the site of a massive redevelopment effort that will see a new stadium next to the House That Ruth Built, as well as a hotel and convention center."

Operative word here: MASSIVE.

Click the title to read the entire article.

7:15 am, October 19, 2005

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Our cousins in Brooklyn

Click the title to read the post "BUILD gets a raise". It is well to watch what is happening with that OTHER stadium fight, the Nets in Brooklyn.

Money quote: "The Mayor...says 'if I lived here maybe I wouldn't like it, either."

And that plan is nothing compared to what they want to do up here!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Unraveling the spin of the DEIS: seating and parking

It already seems to many that the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the new Yankee Stadium is nothing more than a piece of propaganda. It starts with the cover illustration that shows open space where the House That Ruth Built now stands. The authorities have already said that most of the stadium will come down, but that one wall or parts of one wall will remain standing. They have also said that the field itself will not be open to the public (gotta protect the grass, or something) so this sketch on the cover is misleading. How much else of the DEIS is misleading? Let's begin.

According to the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (S-1, Executive Summary under "Project Identification):

"The proposed open-air stadium which would have a capacity for 54,000 spectators (53,000 seats and 1,000 standing spaces), would replace the existing, approximately 56,928-seat, outdated 82-year-old Yankee Stadium with one that can effectively accommodate a modern baseball team and provide greatly improved spectator and parking facilities."

So what we really are talking about is replacing a stadium which seats just shy of 57,000 people today with one that seats 53,000. That is 4,000 fewer seats. Why do we need so many more parking spots when that many fewer fans will be visiting?

Is the stadium really 82 years old? Well, we have been told again and again by the authorities that the present stadium does not qualify for landmarking because it was renovated so extensively in the '70s. In fact on page S-3, the DEIS states that after the '73 season Yankee Stadium "was almost completely demolished and then rebuilt." So, is calling the stadium 82 years old in this section misleading or a lie? You decide. Is it outdated if it was so extensively renovated 30 years ago? Again, you tell me what is spin here and what is the truth.

But the present stadium is already effectively "accommodate(ing) a modern baseball team." Whether they win the playoffs or not in a modern stadium in Los Angeles is their problem.

Then we get to "greatly improved spectator and parking facilities." And this really seems to be the crux of the problem. Luxury boxes. And parking spots for all the suburbanites who would rather drive. And if they aren't even city residents, why should the city spend all this money and twist itself into pretzel shapes to make them happy?

Well, the Yankees just had a record year for attendance, and somehow those fans were able to drag their bodies to the gates of the stadium. I guess a lot of them took public transport (the horrors!) So why doesn't the city use the money from all those parking garages to build a Metro North station? We already know that many Westchester residents who normally take the train to work prefer to drive to the games to avoid having to return to Manhattan to catch a train. Let's get them off the roads! If the city has money to build garages, the city has money to at least contribute to the construction of a station.

More with the parking:

"Parking for the existing stadium is insufficient, widely scattered, and has spilled over into the surrounding neighborhood."

Boo hoo. And let me say this: if parking "spill(s) over into the surrounding neighborhood" it is ONLY because the NYPD does not enforce parking (or public drinking, or urination, etc) laws on game day. And the fans know it.

Now we get to Yankee Stadium Project DEIS, S-4:

"A stadium over Manhattan’s West-Side rail yard (Caemmerer Yard) was found to be more feasible because of its central location and availability of mass transit, but was eliminated from consideration when Yankees’ management decided to remain in The Bronx."

Hmmm...decided to stay in the Bronx? After all that moaning during the '80s and '90s about how terrible the nabe was? Interesting. Well, if they can build a stadium on a platform over a rail yard, they can build one over the Major Deegan!

"Reconstruction on the existing site was also considered, but was determined infeasible because of the physical limitations of the site and the consequent inability to provide a modern-day baseball facility."

This is so weak as to be risible! They keep acting like the Dismal Swamp is south of the present stadium, when all it is is a parking garage. Tear the sucka down and expand your wittle stadium.

"By any measure of a modern ballpark other than seating capacity, the existing Yankee Stadium is too small and functionally inadequate. Although its seating capacity is sufficient, there is not enough space to support the fans and players or to offer appropriate food and other services."

Other "services"? Wow, can I get some? Let's see. Yankee Stadium is vastly larger than Fenway, and yet guess what? They are in the process of renovating Fenway right now, as I understand. How did they get around the whole, you know, size thing? I've been told they are building a separate services building next door. He casts his eyes to that garage to the south of the House That Ruth Built...

"The stadium sits on a site of just under 10 acres, compared to the more than 13.0 acres that a state-of-the-art facility requires."

Wait: you want to steal 22 acres of OUR parkland when by your own admission a "state-of-the-art facility requires" only THIRTEEN?! Huh?

A "footprint for a modern stadium would have to be at least 12.5 acres. To expand the footprint to meet this standard on the existing site would mean encroaching on or closing one or more of the streets that surround the stadium."


Actually, the proposed plan has various street closings. Wouldn't closing one be better than closing several? Again with the comedy.

"As it stands now, Yankee Stadium cannot comfortably handle attendance greater than 35,000;"

Ummm. What about that record season, after several years of extremely high attendance? All those sell-out crowds? That would be 20,000 more people at each game than the figure you just cited. I heard the MLBA even bought a full page ad to congratulate you on your record attendance this year. Would the fans keep coming back if they weren't so comfy? What crybabies (not the fans; you).

More later.

Sunday in the park

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Today on the track

Here's a shot from the track this morning.

Notice all the people working out.

Especially notice the woman with the bags on her way to the bus stop/subway.

Something our officials don't seem to realize is that by placing the stadium here and creating a "super block" by closing 162 Street they are cutting Highbridge off from the 161 Street retail corridor and its transit hub. The site is so large that it will really interfere with the pedestrian route of a lot of local residents.

But then, we don't care about pedestrians.

Or is it local residents we don't care about?

EIS in a nutshell

At the CB4 committee meeting on October 13, NYC Economic Development Corporation vice-president Hardy Adasko was asked the question "Doesn't taking parkland to give to a private corporation set a dangerous precedent?" He answered by basically saying that the city has done it before; look at Shea Stadium. But Shea is in the middle of a vast expanse of parkland. The nearest neighbors are tire and auto body shops. Shea probably improved the neighborhood!

But does the city have the right to use public property that its own Environmental Impact Statement confirms will have a negative financial impact on the adjacent private sector community? For a project that will financially benefit a privately owned corporation?

This project will reduce the value of the apartment houses that line Jerome Avenue. The Environmental Impact Statement points this out.

The intrinsic value of this parkland (to both the actual as well as proposed park users, that is: the Yankees) is that it is OPEN SPACE and it is no less valuable to the community and city than a school or hospital or any other public building which is there to benefit the surrounding community.

Would the city be so quick to allow a private corporation to take over a school in order to turn it to some other use, such as a hotel? Highly unlikely.

Three things the EIS is very clear about:
1. The proposed stadium will definitely DECREASE the value of adjacent properties.
2. There will definitely be an increase of pollution, both the kind that causes asthma as well as light pollution from the night game lights.
3. These represent a COST that the citizen (what an old-fashioned word that is nowadays!) must bear without compensation.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Yankee Stadium Environmental Review

Click the title above to read the documents pertinent to the stadium proposal, including the Environmental Impact Statement.

CB4 Economic Development Committee meeting of October 13

Field of Schemes has a good reportage of last night's Community Board 4 Economic Development Committee meeting, titled "NYC: Steinbrenner needs bathroom break".


"At a meeting called by Bronx Community Board 4's economic development committee, NYC Economic Development Corporation vice-president Hardy Adasko and parks department project manager Paul Ersboll were peppered by outraged questions from local residents, replying with responses that ranged from the opaque to the bizarre:

"Asked what the city would be gaining for its $200-300 million expense, Adasko said, "the city considers the whole deal a major net benefit - I don't have the numbers";

"On why the city can't spend its own money to refurbish Bronx parkland without the Yankees project, he called the stadium "an inducement for the city to reinvest in parks";

"And on why the Yankees can't stay at a refurbished Yankee Stadium, Adasko insisted it would be impossible to provide "an adequate number of ladies' rooms," drawing a burst of incredulous laughter from the (mostly female) crowd."

Click the title above to read the whole thing for yourself.

George Steinbrenner

Our community and the city should know that:

* George Steinbrenner intends to take our public parks for a private venture. By law, the parks must be replaced with other parks. Yet the proposed replacement parks are not equitable: mostly they will either be built on top of various parking garages or across the Major Deegan Expressway.

* Guess who will pay for these parks? The New York City taxpayer! The so called "replacement parks" are to be built by the city (who has claimed that they don't have money to maintain our present parks).

* During the last renovation of the stadium in the 1970s, Mr. Steinbrenner promised to renovate Macombs Dam & Mullaly Parks and make them the 'jewel of the parks' (paraphrasing here) in exchange for the city giving him the lots for parking and the garage that we are not allowed to use. This promise was never fulfilled.

* Under the new stadium plan nothing has been given to this community to compensate for giving up an area of open space larger than Ground Zero except for 4.6 acres of additional "parks", yet the city sees fit to "cow-tow" to all of Steinbrenner's demands.

* He makes his money here in the South Bronx, but gives next to nothing back. He is the worst neighbor you could fear to have. With all the money he makes here he provides nothing visible to the community or our children.

* Yet, he can give a school in Tampa $250,000.00 (see press release below)! This in spite of the fact that he has consistently refused to work with our local schools.

* Steinbrenner's own words: “The Steinbrenner family has always supported school athletic programs in the Tampa Bay area, which is where our youth learn to meet the types of challenges they’ll later face in life.” Steinbrenner said. “It’s important that Tampa Catholic’s sports teams have a place to call home.”

Well, what about OUR youth here in the BRONX?


Contact: Tampa Catholic High School
Susan Sullivan, Director of Development
(813) 870-0860 ext. #230
cell (813) 382-6372



Former Big 10 football assistant coach, New York Yankees owner and Tampa resident George M. Steinbrenner and family have pledged $250,000 towards Tampa Catholic High School’s Come Home to Rome athletic campaign, which includes building a long-awaited sports stadium, Principal Patricia Landry announced today.

After more than 40 years of playing football at various stadiums around the Bay area, the TC Crusaders, under returning head coach Bob Henriquez, expect to play their first real homecoming game at the Rome Avenue campus this football season.

The George Steinbrenner family pledge is the single largest private gift Tampa Catholic has ever received. “This gift will allow us to order bleachers and lighting for our stadium complex,” Landry said. “The manufacturer feels confident that, barring natural disasters, the stadium portion of the athletic complex can be completed by our October 21 homecoming date.”

“The Steinbrenner family has always supported school athletic programs in the Tampa Bay area, which is where our youth learn to meet the types of challenges they’ll later face in life.” Steinbrenner said. “It’s important that Tampa Catholic’s sports teams have a place to call home.”

The sports stadium is the first part of a proposed $3.4 million expansion and renovation of the school’s athletic campus master plan. The comprehensive plan includes a new surface for track and field, outdoor multipurpose courts including tennis, a soccer and lacrosse practice field, expansion of the existing gymnasium with practice areas for basketball, volleyball and wrestling, and a boathouse along the Hillsborough River for the crew team.

TC students, alumni and friends have raised $733,000 in gifts and pledges so far, including the Steinbrenner family pledge. “It gives us hope that by their example, others will follow. Our plan includes a complete athletic campus makeover, ‘from Rome to the River,’ when it is all finished,” Landry concluded.

George Steinbrenner, who turned 75 on July 4, is well-known in the community for his philanthropic acts on behalf of area charities. Lesser-known about the long-time Yankees owner is his own athletic prowess in football, basketball and track , and as a college football assistant coach at Northwestern and Purdue in the Big 10.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Petition to Save our Parks

The following is a copy of the petition we are now circulating to all interested parties:





Please help us get as many signatures as possible. To get your copy of this petition, email us at Copies are also available at our Monday meeting on October 10 (see previous post for location).

Sunday, October 02, 2005

How Smart Parks Investment Pays its Way

“How Smart Parks Investment Pays its Way” is the title of report of a study commissioned by “New Yorkers for Parks” conducted by Ernst & Young.

Conclusion: “Every New Yorker knows how important parks are to our quality-of-life. They are our front yards and backyards, giving us opportunities for recreation and relaxation, providing positive and educational activities for our children, and contributing to the health of our communities…”

Strategic investment in parks can yield significant returns – financially to the City and investors, and qualitatively to neighboring residents. Success relies on:
* A long-term, strategic vision
* Effective, on-going management
* Significant community involvement
* The willingness & readiness of the community
* Local partners and advocates

New Yorkers are confronted with too many neighborhood parks with broken drinking fountains, closed bathrooms, and dirt or cracked asphalt ball fields rather than green fields.

“Parks are not, as many politicians believe, a frill. They are the city’s lungs, essential components of its health and quality of life - cleaning the air, breaking the heat, breathing life into a neighborhood.” … New York Times, 2001

“Our elected and appointed leaders must recognize Parks as a vital city service and commit adequate resources to protect and enhance all parks.” – New Yorkers for Parks

Editor: So why do the city and the Yankees propose to destroy around 22 acres of tree lined parks by replacing them with a new stadium for a private organization?