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for 54,000 spectators (53,000 seats and 1,000 standing spaces), would replace the existing, approximately 56,928-seat, outdated 82-year-old Yankee Stadium with one that can effectively accommodate a modern baseball team and provide greatly improved spectator and parking facilities."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 Is it outdated if it was so extensively renovated 30 years ago?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.


At 8:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's exactly what I've been thinking! You're telling just like it really is. This stadium idea just doesn't make any sense. The city loses. Baseball fans lose. Even that neighborhood loses. Keep up the fight!

At 10:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I walked the perimeter of the area where this disastrous project is scheduled to be built. If anyone gets the chance, do the same and report back to let us know how you would feel if you lived on Jerome Avenue between 161st - 164th Streets. While you're at it, look up the hill toward Highbridge and imagine, if you can, how you would get down to 161st Street after those streets are "demapped" and a stadium and parking garages are in your "line of sight". IMAGINE.....

At 1:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for debunking Mr. Steinbrenner's arguments. Hopefully more people will get this message. What else can be done to stir up concern about this grand theft & destruction of taxpayer facilities (the Stadium) and parkland?

At 11:45 AM, Blogger Joyce said...

You can download the petition from this site and get as many signatures as you can. Mail the completed petitions to:
All Hallows High School
111 E 164th Street
BX, NY 10452


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