Monday, November 28, 2005

Neighbors Protest New Yankee Stadium Project

Tiempo NY's coverage of the November 17, 2005 Town Hall Meeting where hundreds came out in the cold to protest the seizure of our public parks for a private enterprise.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Part II of NYS Assembly & Carmen Arroyo's minutes on alienating our parks

This segment of the June 23, 2005 session on stealing our Macombs Dam Park is very illuminating. You can see what was really going on between the lines. You will see Carmen Arroyo’s inability to answer simple straightforward questions. You will see that she uses such answering-avoiding tactics as:

(1) saying how “amazed” that the questioner, Mr. Benjamin, didn’t already know the answer;
(2) saying that she couldn’t hear the question;
(3) repeating Tactic 1 where she is now “sorry” that the questioner didn’t already know the answer;
(4) getting help from J. Rivera, the boss of the Bronx Democratic political machine, who states that he has a document (a MOU) that would assure alleviate Mr Benjamin’s concerns but Rivera does NOT show the document and claims that everyone else –except for lonely Mr. Benjamin- of the Bronx delegation has a copy;
(5) being defensive and completely ignoring the questioner’s inquiry about the “operation of a local park for those residents who lose their park during the construction” by saying that “this is not one of those projects that people come from the outside, make the money and leave the community”;
(6) basically telling Mr. Benjamin to just trust whatever the boss (J. Rivera) wants after Mr. Benjamin persists in his concerns about what would happen to the running track, soccer, etc.

Without further delay, here’s a copy of the minutes:

MR. BENJAMIN: Thank you. Will the sponsor yield for a couple of questions, please?

MRS. ARROYO: Yes, Sir.

ACTING SPEAKER SWEENEY: The sponsor yields.

MR. BENJAMIN: Mrs. Arroyo, the plan for the Yankee Stadium, does that include provisions to involve minority and women-owned businesses to take part in the reconstruction of a new stadium?

MRS. ARROYO: Well, it’s amazing that you had not been part of the conversations. You have missed a lot of information. We have been working very hard to make sure that workers, business, and any enterprise that comes into the community, minority business and minority people, are involved.

MR. BENJAMIN: Is it also true, then, that there is an opportunity for there to be co-development by minority groups as well, and women-owned businesses?

MRS. ARROYO: Yes, Sir.

MR. BENJAMIN: Is that in writing, is there a memorandum of understanding for this project in regards to that?

MRS. ARROYO: I cannot hear him.

MR. BENJAMIN: Is there a memorandum of understanding, an MOU, in regards to the involvement of minority co-developers or the involvement of women- or minority-owned business?

MRS. ARROYO: You know, I feel so sorry that you missed our meetings and you have been participating because –

ACTING SPEAKER SWEENEY: Excuse me, Mrs Arroyo. Mr. Rivera, why do you rise?

MR. J. RIVERA: I rise because I believe my colleague, Michael Benjamin, is asking a very good question, one that I forgot to share with this entire body. Yes, Michael, we have a memorandum of understanding that calls for a similar, a similar plan that we had if we had built the Jets Stadium. The Yankees have committed themselves to working with us, the elected officials, the civic and the leaders from that immediate area of the Bronx, to ensure that women and African American and Hispanic have input in building the new project and rebuilding and building everything that will be part of the Yankee Village.

So, yes, we do have a memorandum of understanding and I’ll be glad to give you a copy because you might not have one, but the rest of the Bronx delegation, I believe, do have a copy that they have been working on.

MR. BENJAMIN: Thank you. I was away for family business.

I have a couple other questions, though. During the last 30 years George Steinbrenner being the Yankee owner, the Yankees have not had a reputation of being very friendly to their host community. I would like to know that during the construction of this project will there be an operation of a local park for those residents who lose their park during the construction?

MR. TOKASZ: I apologize for the interruption, Mr. Speaker. There will be an immediate meeting of the Committee on Ways and Means in the Speaker’s Conference Room, members of the Ways and Means Committee to the Speaker’s Conference Room, please.

ACTING SPEAKER SWEENEY: Ways and Means I the Speaker’s Conference Room now.

Mrs. Arroyo.

MRS. ARROYO: Yes, To Mr. Benjamin, respectfully, the delegation of the City Council, our delegation, the Congressmen, the Congress delegation and the Senate delegation, we are working together on this, and we are working together to represent the people that we have in our communities. And, all the effort that we are making is to make sure that they are going to be part of the project, that they are going to benefit from the project, and that this is not one of those projects that people come from the outside, make the money and leave the community.

MR. BENJAMIN: Thank you. The other question actually is during the construction of the stadium will there be opportunities for the public to still have a running track, to play soccer and all of the other activities that take place now in Macombs Dam Park, which will be the site for construction of the new stadium, what will happen in the meantime?

MRS ARROYO: Michael, I recommend to you take the package that Mr. Rivera is offering today because he has been a great leader on this, and look at the package and sit with us after this because you are going to be part of the Bronx when you see what this is we have been doing, and everything that you are asking for is there. And if it’s not there, I’m going to make sure that we work together to make it possible.

MR. BENJAMIN: I’m looking forward. This is about getting information on the public record, I’m only asking for information for the public record, that that continues to exist.

MRS. ARROYO: I understand that.

MR. BENJAMIN: On the bill, please.

ACTING SPEAKER SWEENEY: Mr. Benjamin on the bill.

MR. BENJAMIN: As a longtime, lifelong Bronx resident, I am proud of my borough. I’m, I guess, a Yankee fan. In 1977, I guess, the most embarrassing moment of my life was in October of 1977 in watching a Yankee game from my college dormitory. During a break in the action, ABC did an aerial shot of the Bronx, of the stadium, and in and around the area they pinpointed a number of fires that were taking place in 1977. to my horror and chagrin, Howard Cosell said, “The Bronx is burning,” and that because the resounding impression f the Bronx throughout our entire country in 1977.

After he said that, there were continuous knocks on my door from my college roommates who were asking, “Michael, is that your neighborhood on fire? Is your home being burned down?” so, it was extremely embarrassing and sad to me. But, in the last 30 years since that time, our borough has experienced a revitalization. Our population has risen to the point now, we have 11 strong members in the Bronx Assembly delegation.

I want to support this project and I will because it’s important that we continue to develop our borough, that we continue to have a revitalization, that we develop our waterfront, we provide great parks for our communities and that we provide jobs and opportunities for all of our people in Bronx County. And with that, I’ll be supporting the project. Thank you.

Well, well, well, folks, what was that all about? Why did Carmen Arroyo feel compelled to say “I recommend to you take the package that Mr. Rivera is offering today.” So who really put the “package” together? From the minutes don’t you get a feeling that Carmen Arroyo doesn’t know what she’s talking about? Is she some dumb patsy because the parks are in her district?

Nonetheless, Carmen Arroyo’s comment “this is not one of those projects that people come from the outside, make the money and leave the community” is very revealing. The more you dig deeper, the more you realize that yes, this is one of those projects that people come from the outside, make the money and leave the community. Just ask George Steinbrenner and Randy Levine. As Mr. Benjamin states for the record “during the last 30 years George Steinbrenner being the Yankee owner, the Yankees have not had a reputation of being very friendly to their host community.”

Now the Yankees are intent on stealing our Macombs & Mullaly parks and want taxpayers to pay for scattered, unnatural, unequal replacement parks on top of garages. This nonsense must stop now.

Friday, November 25, 2005

NYS Assembly & Carmen Arroyo's minutes on alienating our parks: Part I

Exactly what has Assemblywoman Carmen E. Arroyo been doing at the New York State Assembly this year to help her district? Judging by the sponsorship of her bills, she hasn’t done much. She is the prime-sponsor of only ONE bill: A08932. And what is this Bill # A08932? It’s titled “Leasing of parkland; stadium.” ( That’s right, she is the prime instigator who sponsored the bill that alienated our Macombs Dam and John Mullaly Parks. Imagine being the key sponsor of only one bill and that bill happens to be the one that will wreck havoc on our city and community!

Check out the transcript from the New York State Assembly on June 23, 2005 in regards to bill 8932 that would alienate Macombs Dam and John Mullaly Parks. From page 107 to 110:

MR. DINOWITZ: I’m usually pretty careful when it comes to parkland, and I was reading the bill and I’m having a little trouble figuring out exactly what the City is doing. So, I was hoping you can help me out. How much parkland that’s currently parkland such as Macombs Dam Park, because I see that’s mentioned here, how much parkland will be removed in order to make way for the new ball park.

MRS. ARROYO: Mr. Dinowitz, I think that you and I have the same concerns. For years I have been around this project and my concern always has been to replace the park that we are taking away from the people. The exact land that you are talking about that you want here is 8.92 acres of land. But, we are going to gain, in this concession, we are going to gain because the City is going to develop the waterfront, which is a side, you are familiar with the area because you are from the Bronx that is not in use.

MR. DINOWITZ: Right. In fact, it’s kind of dumpy, right?

MRS. ARROYO: That’s right. But, that is a beautiful site that is going to be developed into parks and facilities for the public. With the other park that probably you don’t know, but the old Yankee Stadium is going to be preserved and the field of the Yankee Stadium, of the Yankee Stadium that we have today, is going to be in use for public services, meaning for the children and the people in the community and for the leagues in the community to play, and in my dream, if you help me, I want to see that covered where our children can play during the winter.

MR. DINOWITZ: Well, maybe we can have our Assembly softball team play there?

MRS. ARROYO: Definitely.

MR. DINOWITZ: So, approximately how many acres of parkland will be newly created between the old Yankee Stadium and the new land you’re talking about them?

MRS. ARROYO: The total amount of land that exists in the area is 27 acres. The Yankee Stadium is going to take 8. The rest is going to be developed into public service. And, of course, there are going to be tennis courts, there are going to be other facilities in this area.

MR.DINOWITZ: So, would it be fair to say that the amount of parkland we end up with is more than the amount of parkland we have now?

MRS. ARROYO: And, better access to the public.

MR. DINOWITZ: And, more parkland?

MR. DINOWITZ: Okay. And, one last question: The old Yankee Stadium which will be open to the public for various uses will those uses be similar to what’s now in Macombs Dam Park? In other words, will the old Yankee Stadium be just as open to the community as Macombs Dam Park currently is?

MRS. ARROYO: Yes, it is the responsibility of the City now, and that will be our job. And, remember that my daughter is a Councilwoman in that area. We are going to work together, as a team, to make sure that the fields of the old Yankee Stadium are repaired and preserved because the other facilities are going to be used for educational purposes. And, that we are going to have a better site for the public to practice. And, remember, I used that park also. I use that track, too. That’s why I have been concerned about that this park is not going to disappear from our community.

As we all know, the Arroyo/Yankee plan steals more than the 8 acres that Arroyo cites. In fact Macombs Dam Park would disappear under the new Steinbrenner Stadium and the four extra garages. She doesn't mention that the replacement parks would be on top of these garages. So very much is omitted. No wonder the rest of the Assembly had no idea they were victims of a con job.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of Arroyo’s Minutes where she doesn't know how to answer a simple question.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

What a stupid idea

This quote comes from a pro-mega stadium article in the Star-Telegram.

"Yankee Stadium, for example, regularly sells out tours to baseball lovers..."

Why are the fans so eager to tour the stadium? Because it is HISTORIC. Will they want to tour a new stadium? Probably, but they surely won't "sell out" those tours, because the interest won't be there.

Right now people will go see the Yanks WIN or LOSE in the present stadium. If they destroy it, sure people will attend games when the Yankees are winning. But when they are losing? Don't bet on it!

By destroying the old stadium and building a new one, even if the new one looks like a blend of the original and present stadiums, the Yankees are cutting off their nose to spite their face.

Carrion cuts his own throat

So it is true: Carrion is politically inept. Who would have thunk? I guess never having to actually run a campaign (always running virtually unopposed, after all) has made our boy tone deaf to the wishes of his constituents. Actually, it isn't that he doesn't hear what we want: obviously, he doesn't CARE.

This is what you get when you have a political machine, and note that the machine is in favor of this stadium.

This article was published in the Post today. As always, click the title above to read it over at the Post's website.


November 24, 2005 -- Unswayed by community opposition, Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion vowed yesterday to push ahead with plans to build a new Yankee Stadium.

"This project . . . will be the single largest investment in The Bronx in probably more than 100 years," Carrion told The Post.

Carrion and the Yankees struck out Tuesday night before Bronx Community Board 4, which voted 16-8, with five abstentions, to scuttle the Yankees' proposal to build a stadium in John Mulally Park, across 161st Street from the storied House that Ruth Built.

Stadium opponents were surprised Carrion, often mentioned as a mayoral candidate for 2009, is not heeding their views.

"He is committing suicide . . . He's in such a good position to become mayor. How could he do that?" said Lillian B. Smith of Bronx Voices for Equal Inclusion, an anti-stadium group.

Stadium opponents want the Yankees to either renovate the existing ballpark or build their new stadium at a site to the south.

Bill Sanderson

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Carrion responds to last night's CB4 vote

Alleged statement by Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion

RE: Yankee Stadium Plan Community Vote

"As is always expected of any process involving a large scale redevelopment project of this magnitude and importance, there will be some voices of dissension and feelings of apprehension. We will continue to move forward in ensuring that the long term benefits of a plan that I, along with most Bronx residents and elected officials, envision will benefit the neighborhood and the entire borough. Together, we will continue to demand that the host community be an equal partner in the economic development of the area.

"In the end, my commitment to job creation, new and improved parkland, as well as small business opportunities will be carried out. And once this project is completed, the Bronx will enjoy a substantial return on its investment"

After some 36 people testified last night (there may have been more who would have liked to speak, but they were prevented, ILLEGALLY we would like to add, by CB4 Chairman Rasul), all but one in favor of denying the proposal; after the proposal was unanimously denied by the Housing and Land Use Committee of CB4; after Community Board 4 denied by two to one the planned Yankee Stadium proposal last night; with more than 4,000 petitions signed in less than a month and a half; and because the Borough President, as a trained Urban Planner, ought to know that this plan bulldozes EVERY rule of good urban planning: we REFUSE to believe that this quote is authentic and will not do so until it has been verified.

But take a moment, just in case it is authentic, and think about what he is saying here.


Field of Schemes reports on the CB4 vote

Field of Scheme's has a good report titled "Bronx board gives Yanks stadium thumbs-down" over at their website (click the title to be taken there), which includes the following:

'Though most board members did not speak at the meeting, both land use committee chair Mary Blasingame and fellow board member (and professional urban planner) Lukas Herbert spoke out strongly against the stadium plan, with Herbert delivering some of the evening's most pointed words:

"[Environmental impact statements] are intended to state the facts of the impact, so that decision-makers like the community board can take a hard look at the facts and make the right decision. Well, in this case, the [Draft] EIS is mainly an advocacy piece that's been put together by planners like myself, who have been paid to spin the facts however the applicant wants them. As a planner, I know that's your job, but I know a lot of you working on this know better. So I'm sorry you're put in this position where you're having to push a document that's a sham."'

New York Post on the vote

This is how last night's vote was reported in the New York Post. You can also click the title to read it at their website.


November 23, 2005 -- A local community board gave a Bronx cheer to plans for a new Yankee Stadium last night, voting 16-8, with five abstentions, to oppose its construction on city parkland.
Community Board 4's vote is not binding — since the mayor and City Council have the ultimate say on whether the project goes ahead — and the use of parkland for the stadium has already been approved by the state Legislature.

Last month, activists won a vote by the community board's housing committee to oppose the stadium. Because of the opposition, the city last week proposed tearing down the existing stadium, freeing up 10 acres of space for new ball fields.

The changes have not placated neighborhood residents, who complained last night that some of the park space would be atop new stadium parking garages and that some of it, including tennis courts, would be far away on the Harlem River.

"Are they going to get us a little trolley to get over there?" asked neighborhood resident Alberta Hunter. "I'm 80 and I still play tennis. But I'm not walking over there."

The Yankees want to begin construction next year on their $800 million stadium. Community activist Greg Bell said he was glad the city has put more parks in its proposal, but "you still won't move Yankee Stadium somewhere else — and that's all the community is asking."

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

16 - 8 - 5

That's 16: deny; 8: approve; 5: abstain.

The Yankees lost the vote this evening at the Community Board meeting.

We can expect them to come out tomorrow with sharpened knives.

But we will be ready for them.

Sleep well and a happy Thanksgiving to all (including the Yankees...who knows? Maybe we did you a favor!)

An open letter to our public servants

We have seen in the papers that the Yankee Stadium plan has the support of every elected official in the Bronx, and in fact the bill alienating the parkland that passed the General Assembly was sponsored by Carmen Arroyo and a delegation of Bronx Assemblypersons. But it isn't true that every elected official supports this plan, as evidenced by Helen Diane Foster's comments in amNewYork last week (you can find this article posted on the blog below). We welcome Ms Foster's support and pledge our support to her and any elected official who will change their position on this issue. Meanwhile, we would like to shed some light on those elected officials who do not have their constituent's best interests at heart.

Senator Serrano gave a report at a recent community board meeting that pointed out that he had just sponsored a bill to preserve parkland and open space in his district "because we live in asthma alley", but he voted to support this project. He gave this report to a room packed full of local residents who are so deeply concerned about this plan that they braved driving rain and flood warnings to attend that particular meeting to hear the Yankees and the Parks Department present the plan to the community for the very first time (the Yankees had missed a previous meeting they were scheduled to attend without offering the courtesy of an explanation). Unfortunately, neither the Yankees nor the Parks Department made it to this particular meeting either. It was raining, you see. And yet we were there, and laughed incredulously when Senator Serrano made his report about what he is doing to preserve greenspace in his district...except Macomb's Dam and John Mullaly parks, of course.

Congressman Serrano just co-sponsored a day-long seminar with NYU focusing on how the South Bronx has the highest asthma rate in the country, and how much of the disease is excacerbated by high-density traffic and pollutants. But he supports this project, a project which would add thousands of vehicular trips while at the same time destroying so many mature oaks that it would take the planting of more than 30,000 trees to replace the air-cleansing actions of these trees. This at a time when the Parks Department has said we already need to plant 40,000 trees in the South Bronx to mitigate against the pollution which is causing asthma in so many of our young.

We commend both Congressman Serrano and Senator Serrano for the wonderful things they have done for their constituents. We are lucky to have them representing us, but how can they square their support of the stadium being built on our parks and the addition of so many garages with their real efforts to improve the health of their constituents?

Councilwoman Arroyo, as reported in recent newspaper articles, has said she didn't know there was opposition to the plan when she voted for it, and that she would have handled it differently had she known. Well, we would like to point out that she has attended neighborhood rallies where the only goal was to express outrage at this proposal. She generally takes the opportunity to speak to the press and point out that she didn't know that the community opposes the plan. The first of these was back at the beginning of August, and yet as recently as last week she was broadcasting the idea that she just didn't know we oppose this plan. It is time for her to know.

Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión has been a supporter of building a new stadium on the park. The Yankee plan is "about bringing jobs to our residents, restoring our neighborhoods, building news (sic) parks, improving the infrastructure and creating opportunities," he was quoted as saying in amNewYork last week. To this we have to say: how the devil does building a stadium "restore our neighborhoods", especially when the DEIS points out that placing a stadium in the parks will blight Jerome Avenue? In what bizarro world does blight = restore? The only infrastucture which will be improved will be the addition of parking garages. And what are these "opportunities" that he speaks and for whom are they? He doesn't have an argument, and yet he continues to strongly support this plan. Why?

How can all these elected officials, and the Yankees as well, say that they are working with community groups when we, SaveOurParks, a group that was formed in opposition to this project and has garnered over 4,000 signatures on petitions since just the beginning of October, have yet to meet with one elected official besides Helen Diane Foster? The petitions are still running, and provide us with the opportunity of meeting our neighbors. Residents are outraged when they learn what this project really entails: replacement parkland more than a half mile away on the other side of the Major Deegan and the rail lines; the replacement of parkland with "park features" on top of garages; the addition of thousands of garage spaces; the lack of concrete plans for what will happen to the old stadium (at the town hall meeting last Thursday the Yankees were presenting a new alternative that they had come up with a few days before. At this point there are at least three in circulation). Et cetera.

You say families throughout the neighborhood will be able to benefit from the economic benefits associated with building the new stadium. We say stadiums have never provided economic benefits to a residential community. If they have, we welcome the proof. The Yankees have been here for 82 years and have not so far. They had record attendance this past season: 4,000,000 plus (in what you like to call an "outdated" stadium!). No one in the residential neighborhood benefited from that, but guess what? At about the time that our parks were being "signed over" to Steinbrenner, he was pledging $250,000.00 to Tampa Catholic High School. He makes his money here and spends it elsewhere. It was only 10 years ago that the Yankee organization was comparing our neighborhood kids to monkeys in an article in New York magazine. As was evidenced by Thursday night's meeting, they have the same disdain for this community as they always have.

But they don't have anywhere else to go.

We would like you to let us know how you could so casually further disenfranchise a community such as ours. Shame on our elected officials for giving away our parks. The fact that our parkland was alienated before the plan was presented to the community and Community Board 4 is proof that you want this to be a "done deal".

If this is really a "done deal", as you and the Yankees repeatedly say, we have you to blame.

And we won't forget.

Article from amNewYork

This article was published in amNewYork last Thursday, November 17. Sorry it took so long to have it posted to the blog.

Meeting on contested Yankees plan tonight

By Ted Phillips
Staff Writer

With opposition growing to a new Yankee Stadium that could be built on a large city park, the Bronx borough president will host a town hall meeting tonight on the issue.

Residents will be able to raise concerns following the presentations by the Yankees and the city Parks Department. Next week the community board will vote on whether to approve the rezoning necessary for the project, but its vote is only advisory.

"We consider all testimony and that can have an impact on the plan," said Warner Johnston, spokesman for the parks department.

The plan itself has drawn outrage from residents who use Macomb's Dam Park.

"The stadium as it's proposed now is meeting a great deal of community resistance, and rightly so," said Council member Helen Foster. "[The Yankees] are in a community that they've never been too friendly or respectful to, in moving forward it is going to be imperative that the Yankee organization work with the community." Foster suggested that putting a new stadium to the south of the current one would be acceptable to the community.

Foster and many residents have complained that the Yankees and the parks department, the lead city agency on the project,
haven't reached out adequately. The city didn't meet with the public on the project until July, one month after it was announced, Johnston said.

In a community with high rates of asthma, opponents say the loss of vegetation and the creation of 5,235 new parking spaces in four garages has some concerned about the impact on health. Parts of the plan include a park with artificial turf to be built atop a garage.

"We would rather have the shabby park we have now than a $100 million park on top of parking garages," said J.J. Brennan one of the organizers of Save Our Parks, a group that opposes the plan.

Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión has been a supporter of building a new stadium on the park.

The Yankee plan is "about bringing jobs to our residents, restoring our neighborhoods, building news parks, improving the infrastructure and creating opportunities," he said.

Welcome WBAI listeners

Gregory Bell of Bronx Voices for Equal Inclusion and Joyce Hogi of Save Our Parks were interviewed by Deepa Fernandez this morning on her show "Wake Up Call."

If you found your way here by listening to their conversation, welcome! Have a look around the blog. You will find links to recent articles that have appeared in the New York Times, the Highbridge Horizon and others, and you will find an excellent analysis of the Yankee Draft Environmental Impact Statement by local resident and professional Urban Planner Lukas Herbert.

Come back often for frequent updates!

'Curbed' readers comment

Click the title to read the blog post over at, the NYC real estate blog, in which a mention of Field of Schemes' write-up of last week's town hall meeting caused a firestorm of comments!

Contact info for Councilwoman Arroyo

It seems that Councilwoman Arroyo doesn't feel that the community is "reaching out" to her enough on the Yankee Stadium issue. Drop her a line!

District Office Address:
384 E. 149th St., 3rd Ave., (Suite 300)
Bronx, NY, 10455
District Office Phone No.: 718-402-6130
Fax Phone No.: 718-402-0539

Manhattan Office Address:
250 Broadway
NY, 10007
Manhattan Office Phone No.: 212-788-7384


Here is the email of her assistant, Miriam:

Monday, November 21, 2005

Editorial in Highbridge Horizon

The following is from the November, 2005 issue of the Highbridge Horizon. Read it here, or click on the title and read it there.

Editorial: Once in a Lifetime

Highbridge stands at a critical crossroads in its history. More than ever, residents have to stand up to make their voices heard on the two immense development projects proposed: The plan to build a new Yankee Stadium and the plan to redevelop the Bronx Terminal Market.

Both of these projects will have huge impacts on Highbridge, the likes of which will not be completely appreciated for years to come. They are once in a lifetime proposals. Unfortunately, those impacts are mostly negative. In the words of one Community Board 4 member, a "grave injustice" is about to be perpetrated on the community if the plans for the new Yankee Stadium actually become reality.

What is being proposed is troubling enough: among many other bad things, the new stadium would bring even more traffic into "asthma alley" and destroy valuable parkland. With the state set to invest billions in mass transit and with the problems in the world today with oil, why is anyone proposing creating incentives for more vehicle traffic into New York City?

Equally absurd is part of the replacement being proposed for the loss of Macombs Dam Park and Mullaly Park: Astroturf on top of parking garages. What kind of parkland is that?

How it is being proposed is even worse, perhaps. The city has said that it has worked closely with community groups on the plan. Who exactly has it been working with? If a group of advocates can collect thousands of signatures against the stadium project in little more than a month it's obvious that whoever the city worked with was hardly in touch with local sentiment. Last weekend city officials did little to help matters by holding a tour and discussion of the projects, apparently in violation of the open meetings law. Why were board members discussing this project privately? Doing so only raises suspicions.

Ironically, almost at the same time that board members were meeting privately to discuss whether to destroy two parks, less than a mile away health experts were talking about how desperately the South Bronx needs to save and build more green space to fight the asthma that is destroying the lives of thousands of children in the area. Can the Yankees and their friends in city government see anything but the other green?

Highbridge residents are not so easily duped. Destroying parks, worsening the health of children, meeting illegally -- these kinds of things are not going unnoticed. Residents should not miss the board's public hearing on the stadium set for Nov. 22, 6 pm at Bronx Museum of the Arts, 1040 Grand Concourse, lest the corporate forces destroy more than the parks.

Highbridge Horizon reports on last week's town hall meeting

As follows, or click the title above.

Hundreds turn out to discuss stadium plan

By Joe Lamport
Managing Editor

A town hall meeting Nov. 17 grew heated as hundreds of community residents turned out to discuss the proposal to build a new stadium for the New York Yankees.

"As it is now configured, residents do not want this project," said Gregory Bell, a resident and member of Bronx Voices for Equal Inclusion, an advocacy group. "The question is what does it take for us to stop you?"

Emotions ran high at the meeting, which included presentations by a panel including officials from the Yankees and the City Parks Department. Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, Jr., hosted the meeting and had to step in several times to quiet the sometimes raucous crowd filling the gymnasium of the School for Law, Government and Justice.

Yankees President Randy Levine was interrupted frequently as he explained that the Yankees could only build a new stadium on parkland to the north of the current stadium. Other options were too expensive, he said.

Laird's presentation included a new idea to change the design of parkland. He also was frequently interrupted.

After the presentations, residents posed questions and directed comments to the panel.

"Shame on you, Mr. Borough President," said Kitty Cotter, a resident. “Don’t pretend that you are surprised at the opposition. A lot of big money is going into this project and that has distracted you from protecting your own community."

His voice wavering, Carrion responded with emotion.

"We're not going to allow anyone to parachute into our community and take the money,” he said. “We will do what we need to do to build a better borough. And anyone who question's my integrity-"

His comment was cut off by shouts from the audience.

After the meeting, Levine said the strong feelings that residents expressed "were part of the process." But some in the audience were "professional protesters," he said.

“We have a process that’s moving forward,” he said. “I saw a lot of people in the room who supported the project.”

Residents objected.

“That’s absolutely untrue,” said Joan Pemberton of Jerome Avenue. "Everybody in this room - we were all here because we do not support it. He didn’t expect this kind of opposition.”

"Are you kidding?" said Geneva Causey, a resident. "Everybody here is from the community. These are community people, hardcore."

Community Board 4 will vote on the proposal Nov. 22 at 6 p.m. at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, 1040 Grand Concourse at 165th Street. The board's land use committee unanimously rejected the plan Nov. 7.

Potentially illegal activity of Community Board 4

This was published recently in the Highbridge Horizon. Click the title above to read for yourself.

November 2005

Board discusses stadium plan privately
‘Simple tour’ may have been illegal, says expert

By Joe Lamport
Managing Editor

Members of Community Board 4 met privately Nov. 12 for a tour of sites of the proposed new Yankee Stadium and Bronx Terminal Market development projects, apparently violating New York's open meetings law, an expert on the law said.

But the board was only doing a "simple tour," said Community District Manager David Mojica, who arranged the event with the board's Parks Committee Chairman Jose Diaz-Oyola. Diaz-Oyola paid for the tour, Mojica said.

The limited number of seats on the trolley would have made public participation impossible, he said.

The meeting involved about 20 community board members, Mojica said, some of who came with their spouses. Wilhelm Ronda, the Bronx Borough President's director of program, policy and planning, led the tour. The board members met first at the offices of the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation and then boarded a trolley bus for the tour.

"This is a private meeting," Mojica told a Horizon reporter who attempted to enter the building where the board members were meeting before the tour. A board member had informed the reporter of the meeting. When the board members came out to get on the trolley, the reporter's attempts to attend the meeting were rebuffed, this time by Board Chairman Ade Rasul.

"We have every right to meet privately," Rasul said. "It's a tour for board members. We paid for it. The media has had terrific access to all of our meetings.

"You're not getting on," he continued. "It's for board members only."
Rasul refused to comment when reached later.

No matter who paid for it, however, the meeting apparently violated the state's open meetings law, said Bob Freeman, executive director of the committee on open government, a state agency.

"The fact that something may be privately financed is irrelevant," Freeman said. "If it's a committee consisting of two or more community board members, there's no doubt that the open meetings law would apply."

The only exception that might apply was if the tour involved no discussion of the proposed projects, Freeman said. During the tour, board members did discuss the project and "strong views" were expressed, Mojica said in an interview days after the tour.

"Some raised the question of why Yankee Stadium can't develop to the southwest," he said. "But it wasn't that we were going to make a decision."

But at least one board member who attended said the tour seemed intended to affect board members' opinions. When asked why the tour had been organized as she was boarding the trolley, Anita Antonetty said, "They want this plan to pass."

Diaz-Oyola said he paid $70 for the trolley but did not intend to prevent a reporter attending.

"I would have had no problem with you joining us," he said, days after the tour. He said he was not sure whether the tour violated the law.

"I will definitely do some follow-up," he said. "If this was a violation, I certainly do apologize."

Other local officials expressed dismay the tour had not been publicized.

"I certainly wish I had known about it," said Jim Fairbanks, chief of staff for Council Member Helen Foster. "I would have loved to have gone along."

"If it's a violation of the city charter, then obviously it's something that needs to be looked into and addressed," said Council Member Maria del Carmen Arroyo.

Horizon reporters followed the trolley bus as it circled Mullaly Park, the proposed site of the new Yankee Stadium, and then went through the Bronx Terminal Market.

Residents opposed to the park who have been circulating petitions against the new Yankee Stadium were livid.

"Our elected and appointed officials are so out of touch with the needs of the community, that they will sell out their integrity for a few," said Joyce Hogi, a member of the Save Our Parks group opposing the new stadium.

The board did not release minutes of the meeting. The Bronx Borough President's office did not return calls for comment.

Save Fenway Park's letter of support in the Times

This letter to the editor was published today in the New York Times. Read below or click the title.

November 21, 2005

Fighting for Landmarks

To the Editor:

Re "Turning Up the Heat on a Landmarks Agency," by Nicolai Ouroussoff (Critic's Notebook, Nov. 14), and "Passion on Both Sides of Landmark-Status Bill" (Arts pages, Nov. 15):

Anyone who has ever worked to protect a building knows that the world of historic preservation is complex and at times its own worst enemy.

We cannot save every building, nor should we. But every building deserves a public hearing.

The building's relationship to its neighborhood and to those who live or work near it is something understood only by those who experience the building in that way. Those people deserve every opportunity to speak on behalf of a structure that cannot speak for itself.

Yankee Stadium is about to pass into history without a squawk because the powers that be see dollar signs instead of city and baseball history while they work behind closed doors. Yankee Stadium! When will those in the Bronx be allowed to speak?

Renovation works. These battles don't get won very often, but to be fought fairly is all that one can ask for. We did it, New York. So can you.

Erika Tarlin
Somerville, Mass., Nov. 16, 2005

The writer is a board member of Save Fenway Park.

Testimony from last week's town hall meeting

Since only around eight community residents were allowed to speak at last week's town hall meeting, is it any surprise that there were plenty of people who were not able to speak? Follows is the testimony from one such person, who emailed it to the blog and asked to have it posted. If you would like to have your statements included in the blog, by all means send them to

My name is David Gratt. I’m a local resident and Yankee season ticket holder. I have masters degree in Urban Planning from Columbia University and I am a former employee of the New York City Department of City Planning. I represent Friends of Yankee Stadium, a Bronx based group comprised of residents, baseball fans, planners and preservationists.

We oppose the proposal to build a new Yankee Stadium for the following reasons:

The deal behind this proposal was pulled together over a weekend in June as a way to salvage New York City’s Olympic Bid. This proposal was not created with the community in mind, but rather as a way to leverage development elsewhere in the city. This is such a bad proposal that the non-stadium elements of this plan, such as the replacement parkland, are still in flux, even as the proposal moves through the public approval process.

There was no due diligence for the parks alienation. Instead, alienation legislation was introduced during the pile-up at the end of the legislative session and passed on a day when hundreds of other bills were passed. While this may be legal, it is not ethical. Furthermore, Parks Alienation is for public goods or pressing needs. While a courthouse is a public good, and a federally mandated water treatment plant is a pressing need, stadium for a private enterprise is neither.

Much of the relocated or additional park space is substandard to the existing space. The Jerome Avenue Elevated line bisects one area of new proposed park space; another area of proposed park space, advertised as “waterfront” park space, is hemmed in on one side by the Major Deegan and on another side by a rail line that runs on pylons in the Harlem River. In both cases, these are “left over” scraps of land being pressed into service as park space.

In the discussion of renovation, the Yankees have never stated approximate costs or issues to renovation; they have merely said that it is not practical without any supporting statements. Meanwhile, the Red Sox, playing in a stadium eleven years older and with 20,000 fewer seats have committed to renovating Fenway Park, and the previous Boro President released a plan stating that Yankee Stadium could be renovated for $176 million, considerably less than the $800 million that it would cost to build a new stadium. If the Yankees are adamant that renovation is not an option, they must explain, in detail, why this is the case.

Despite the Boro President's statements to the contrary, the Yankees have nowhere else to go. Threats to move the Yankees have been straw men since 1998, when traffic analysis at City Planning determined that it was infeasible to place a ballpark on the West Side of Manhattan. New Jersey has never been an option due to Turnpike traffic, lack of mass transit, and funding issues. To say that this deal is necessary to keep the Yankees in the Bronx is disingenuous.

The Yankees are already the wealthiest team in baseball with the current facility, and their location in the nation’s center of media, advertising and corporate headquarters insures that they will retain this title, whether they move into a new stadium or not. Financially, the Yankees only compete against themselves. While the Yankees continue to state that there will be no city money used in the construction of the new stadium, the project requires an outlay in excess $450 million in public funds for related costs. The Public, for instance, will bear the costs of destroying and moving park space, will no loner receive rent money from the Yankees, and will not receive tax money from the team.

The city is expected to run budget deficits of $4.5 and $4 billion dollars over the next two years. With cops, firemen, and teachers all underpaid, with potholes to fill and schools to build, we, the tax payers don’t have the money to spend moving parks, tearing down stadia and building parking lots to further a rich man’s toy. Finally, the vast majority of improvements proposed by this plan, such as high schools, a hotel, improved park space, new trees, use of stadium parking lots by the community and rail access do not require they development of a new facility. They can all be accomplished independently of the proposed plan.

The Yankees are essentially a colonial enterprise. They take resources from the Bronx, in the form of money, space, light and air, and who benefits? The people of Tampa, where George Steinbrenner proudly donates money to support educational causes.

4,200 new parking spaces, a park with plastic grass and “waterfront park space” a half-mile away squeezed between a highway and a rail line do not serve the best interests of the community; and a benefits agreement which hasn’t even been discussed yet will not suddenly make things all better.

Those of us not running for higher office or looking to take advantage of a poor, minority community can clearly see that this is a bad plan for the people who matter most: the residents of Highbridge, Concourse, and the Bronx.

We do not oppose development in the Bronx, but we do oppose the senseless wasting of our precious budgetary resources and our park space.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Notes from an historic preservationist

I remember reading a story on about the new stadium and Derek Jeter was quoted as saying: "I think it's a great day," said Jeter. "There's a lot of history here. There were a lot of good memories here. Now we'll try to take that over across the street."

So, he is endorsing the new stadium. I wonder if Jeter realizes the enormous amount of parkland that the new stadium he will be playing in will take away from the community? In 1996, Jeter founded the Turn 2 Foundation, which promotes athletic programs that encourage the city's youth to lead healthy lives. Yet, the youth of the South Bronx will have their ballfields and vast park space taken away from them, which means that Jeter is supporting a move that hurts the neighborhood kids. I respect Derek Jeter as a player and I admire the mission of his Turn 2 Foundation, but doesn't he see the conflict?

Also, as far as Yankee Stadium, I am amazed that Yankee fans have so easily accepted this new stadium. For 82 years, the Yankees have played at this same site and it remains unique as a home of champions. Neil Sullivan, a Los Angeles Dodgers fan, wrote in his book, Diamond in the Bronx: Yankee Stadium and the Politics of New York, that the World Series visits other ballparks, but its home is Yankee Stadium. I am fully aware of the 1970s renovation, but isn't it interesting to note that it is still considered such a special place in baseball?

For over 100 years, New York has been a baseball town. Before and during the time the Yankees were winning world championships, the New York Giants of the Polo Grounds and the Brooklyn Dodgers of Ebbets Field were successful teams. Should we lose Yankee Stadium, the last of New York's classic stadiums will be gone. Yankee Stadium is much more than just its architecture, it is a cultural monument to baseball. You can't just recreate the moments that make this place the "Cathedral of Baseball" and you can't just transport the Stadium "ghosts" in vans and limos to the new ballpark, despite what Joe Torre jests. I don't believe for one second that Joe Torre and Derek Jeter really support this move, or maybe I'm naive and I put too much faith in them. Ballplayers who truly love the game understand the Stadium's importance and to play there is often the highlight of many players' careers. When rookies come to the Stadium for the first time, they take everything in. They walk the field, they visit Monument Park. They understand what's happened there. Derek Jeter is a future Hall of Famer and he no doubt will join Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle and others as a Yankee legend. When he retires and comes back for Old Timer's Day, he shouldn't return to a phony replica over Macombs Dam Park, he should return to the hallowed ground that made him that legend.

On another note, Yankee management keeps saying that the seats in the new stadium will be closer to the action, but this is terribly misleading. If you look at the renderings for the new stadium the only seats that are closer to the field are in the lower deck (the ones in the first several rows specifically). The upper deck is *much* farther away from the field in the new plan. The great thing about the current stadium is that the cantilever holding up the upper deck allows fans to be really close for a ticket that's reasonably priced. I've been going to Yankee games since I was 10 and the upper deck has some of the best views of the game, you really feel right on top of the action. In the new plan, almost all of the seats are in the lower deck, which means that more fans are actually *farther* away from the action than in the current stadium. Perhaps Yankee management really means that people who can afford expensive tickets will be closer to the action in the new stadium. Also, I can't believe that the Yankees say their park is not functional. This year they had an attendance of over 4 million people, something that's never been done in baseball history. They've been first in attendance for the past 3 years and since 1998 have been in the top 3 in the league in attendance. Boston was able to save Fenway Park, which only has about 35,000, so why can't the Yankees work with their 56,000+ stadium? The Tiger Stadium Fan Club was able to provide a plan that would retrofit the former home of the Detroit Tigers (now vacant). They hired an architect to prove it could be done and they came up with a budget of 26 million dollars. Half of that expense was for luxury suites that the Tigers wanted. They couldn't save Tiger Stadium in the end (Tiger management was bent on having more parking), but their fan club membership grew to 11,000 people from all over the country. Surely, nationwide (even worldwide) support is possible for Yankee Stadium.

I know of people who can't believe the Yankees are leaving their hallowed ground. There must be a way to bring these Yankee fans and the South Bronx community together in this fight to save the stadium and to save parkland.

Amanda Davis
Columbia University, Historic Preservation program

NY Times article on the town hall meeting

An article titled "House That Yankees Rebuild Catches a Chorus of Bronx Jeers" by Alex Mindlin published November 20, 2005 (online on the 19th) can be read by clicking on the title above.

Or right here:

"It was a bad evening for Randy Levine. Mr. Levine, the president of the Yankees, broad-shouldered and red-faced, sat on a platform at a community meeting several blocks east of Yankee Stadium on Thursday night. Mr. Levine was trying to explain to about 250 Bronx residents the rationale for rebuilding his team's stadium in parkland surrounding its current location.

"We all love the present Yankee Stadium," he said in a conciliatory tone. "It's the cathedral of baseball."

The crowd's response? "Stay there!"

Mr. Levine plowed through remarks detailing the team's search for a new home and came to this line: "So, the question comes up: 'Where do we build?' "

Before he could answer his own question, the crowd responded: "In Central Park!" and "In your own community!"

The stadium plan, which met with spotty opposition when it was proposed in October 2004, is now producing much organized local rancor. Under a deal worked out with the city in June, the new stadium and four parking garages would be built on what is now mostly parkland, to the north and west of the present stadium. The project would cover roughly half of the combined 47 acres of Macombs Dam and John Mullaly Parks.

The city would create an equivalent area of replacement parkland, including a soccer field, tennis courts atop the new stadium's garages, a new five-acre park beside the Harlem River, and the present stadium, which would become public ball fields.

But opponents say the new parks are too small and isolated to replace the large swath of land being given to the Yankees. And the two parks in jeopardy have a strong emotional hold on the neighborhood. "We have so few parks in that area of the Bronx," said Anita Antonetti, a member of Community Board 4. "It's like Central Park to us."

Gregory Bell, the chairman of Bronx Voices for Equal Inclusion, set off cheering on Thursday when he asked the borough president, Adolfo Carrión: "What would it take to stop this? What would it take to reach out and say, 'We don't want it?' "

Mr. Carrión, who supports the project, has hammered out a draft agreement with the team that would guarantee a certain number of stadium-related jobs to Bronx residents. But that did little to mollify the crowd on Thursday.

Nevertheless, Maria del Carmen Arroyo, the area's city councilwoman, said she had received only two e-mail messages opposing the project, and residents seemed divided during interviews last week.

"Half the people I know feel good about it," said Moses Garcia, 20, as he stocked the shelves at a discount store opposite Macombs Dam Park. "They were saying on the radio that the House That Ruth Built isn't the House That Ruth Built anymore."

Friday, November 18, 2005

Ten better places for a stadium

"A...stadium is not a neighborhood-friendly object but an industrial one and the criteria for siting such huge constructions resemble those for choosing a spot for a factory or power station (the proportions of which are perfectly reproduced in the stadium design proposed for the Jets)," says architect Michael Sorkin.

This came out last summer in reference to a West Side stadium, spotlighted by, but it mostly applies today for a new Yankee Stadium.

...except (ahem) numero dos. What exactly is #2? Click on the title to find out.

But let's just say: a stadium north of 161st Street? Fugedaboudit!!!

Last night's "town hall" (ha!) meeting

The following is from Field of Schemes. Click the title to read it with hyperlinks.

November 18, 2005

Bronx Jeers IV: A New Hope?

Stop me if you've heard this before: Representatives of the New York Yankees and city officials traveled to the South Bronx last night to present their stadium plans to local residents, and were met by an angry throng intent on telling them where to stick their blueprints. The "town meeting" called by Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion was slated to run from 6 to 8 pm, but it was 7:35 by the time the assembled suits had put away their Powerpoint presentations and the floor was opened for questions - by which time the commandeered high school gym was filled with shouts, jeers, and chants of "Let the community speak!" and (to Carrion) "You work for us!" As the boro prez slowly picked through the submitted questions - all speakers had to fill out a form stating name, affiliation, and question topic, and Carrion's eyesight conveniently failed at least once when an anti-stadium activist was next on the queue - things only got rowdier, both in the crowd and on the dias. Some highlights:

An older Bronx resident named Alberta Hunter (no, not that one) asking with polite puzzlement: "Why are they suggesting such a crazy idea as this?"

A hapless presenter from developer Tishman Speyer, trying to placate the crowd by paging through a slide show of stadium renderings and murmuring, "See the trees?" while trying to ignore the catcalls around her.

Carrion waxing poetic about the virtues of a new high school, hotel, and convention center, declaring, "the stadium is really not the centerpiece" of the plan - while standing in front of a planning mockup containing no school, no hotel, and no convention center, only a stadium.

Yankees president (and former city deputy mayor) Randy Levine insisting, "We love the present Yankee Stadium," but "it's not going to last ten years" - conveniently ignoring the findings of the city's own buildings commissioner in 1998 that "there's no reason why Yankee Stadium can't be around for another 75 years if it's maintained properly." (Levine later topped himself by shouting out to the crowd: "Shouting out things as if they're facts doesn't help!")

Greg Bell of Bronx Voices for Equal Inclusion demanding, "What do we have to do to get it through to the borough president, to Mr. Levine, to economic development agency of the city of New York, and to the parks department, that we don't want it? ... The Yankees can take the engineers and technology available and put it south and west, as recommended by your community board" - and receiving a standing ovation.

As the evening deteriorated, Carrion transmogrified from high-school principal to, well, spitting, out-of-control high school principal: When one longtime local resident accused him of selling out his community to "big money," the boro prez angrily snapped, "Anybody who questions my integrity..." before being drowned out by boos. At another point, he lectured the peanut gallery, "The purpose of a public hearing is for people to ask questions!" Shortly thereafter, he called the proceedings to a close and fled the podium, clutching the sign-in sheets of at least twenty audience members who had yet to speak.


If you weren't there, you missed a great show. The gym was packed. "Bronx cheer" took on a new meaning that night. Randy Levine implied that it was Carrion's idea to give away the public parkland to the Yankees. Carrion tried in vain to screen out known opponents but failed because everyone there attacked his "crazy idea" to steal public parks for a private enterprise. Levine and the city had no idea that nearby PS 114 would be impacted by a stadium. Levine came across as very arrogant and stupid while Carrion was a sweating smirking brown-noser.
Posted by: Isby at November 18, 2005 01:38 PM

Thursday, November 17, 2005

3 words for Adolfo Carrion

C. Virginia Fields

Um, 6 more:

Respect is a two way street.

More $$$ spilled on the Yankees

This was posted today on Field of Schemes. Apparently, the information surfaced yesterday. Click the title to read the original post.

Latest Yankees subsidy: free parking

Ka-ching! That's the sound of the projected New York Yankees stadium subsidies going up, by another $75 million.

As you may recall, the original stadium announcement back in June had New York state kicking in $70 million to build new parking garages (plus another $5 million for a "capital reserve fund"), but that the public would be reimbursed by getting parking revenues from the new structures. In the city's draft environmental impact statement on the project, though, it states that the garage cost is actually $234.8 million, with no indication who would pay the remainder of the tab.

The answer, according to the city parks department: The city plans to contract out to a private development firm that would build the garages, in exchange for getting all parking revenues. The state will still kick in $70 million, but will receive bupkis. (The city would get an as-yet-undetermined "ground rent" from the developer.) I'd deducted the garage costs after the state said it would recoup its investment from parking revenues, but now we need to add them back into our running total for George Steinbrenner & Co.:

YANKEES: $454-544 million ($140m in city funds, $70 million in state parking garage subsidies, $5 million in state "capital reserve" funds, $15m in city rent rebates on current stadium, $0-90m in Metropolitan Transportation Authority capital expenses, $55m in tax-exempt bond subsidies, $44m in property-tax savings, $22m in sales-tax breaks on construction materials, $103m in forgone city rent revenues)

Moreover, the new garage revelations raise even more troubling questions. What happens if the garages run over budget? What if no private developer thinks plunking down $160 million to build parking garages is a good investment? (Doing the math, 5,254 parking spaces at $25 a pop for 81 games a year would equal about $10.6 million a year in revenue, for a craptacular 6.6% return on investment.) And what about the loss of city parking revenues from the 1350 existing spaces to be eliminated by new construction?

All these issues and more will be raised, by yours truly if necessary, at tomorrow (Thursday) night's town meeting at the Bronx School for Law, Government and Justice, 224 E. 163rd St. (two blocks east of Grand Concourse), at 6 pm. See you there.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Click on the photo to enlarge

This is what is at stake.

ALL the parkland you see to the right of the present stadium is the site for the proposed stadium: a site larger than Ground Zero.

Why would anyone want to destroy this peaceful co-existence of neighborhood parks and historic stadium?

Got greed?

Click on the photo to enlarge.

Lukas Herbert's Guide to Yankee DEIS

As we have mentioned, Lukas Herbert, local resident, CB4 member, and city planner in White Plains scoured the 700 page DEIS of the new Yankee Stadium. His notes can be found on this blog. Click on 'November' in the archives to the right where you will find them posted in their entirety, or if you prefer them in pdf form, email us at and we will be happy to forward them to you!

Yankee Stadium $$$

Neil deMause, author of "Field of Schemes"--a must read, by the way--has a nice analysis of all the money the city will spill on the Yankee plan. It's in this week's Village Voice. Click the title to read it.

"It's in the lease terms, though, where you find the gravy for the Yanks. First off, while the Yankees would pay operations and maintenance at Yankee Park at Adidas Field, they would no longer have to pay rent. While Bloomberg has presented this as a wash, the parks department reports that the Yankees have in recent years averaged $7.5 million in annual rent payments— after deducting maintenance. Over 30 years, then, letting the Yanks play rent free would cost the city the equivalent of $103 million in up-front cash; for good measure, Bloomberg has proposed kicking in $15 million in rent rebates for the team's final three years at Yankee Stadium.

"As rent goes, so go property taxes: The Yankees would pay none. So-called "as-of-right" bonuses for building in the outer boroughs would provide a partial tax break in any case—more on that in a bit—but the special tax break alone would cost the city about $44 million in present value. A 100 percent break on sales tax for construction materials would net the team another $22 million.

"Finally, while George would foot the construction bill, the state would be the one actually arranging the financing, in order to take advantage of triple-tax-exempt bonds. (As with the now dead West Side stadium for the Jets, the Yankees would repay these bonds with "payments in lieu of property taxes" to evade IRS scrutiny.) Tax-exempt bonds offer lower interest rates, at the price of passing along a chunk of costs to the federal, state, and city treasuries; IRS regs limit the team's potential benefits, but $55 million is a reasonable guesstimate.

"The public's total Yankees outlay now stands at $374 million—and that's before factoring in a new Metro-North station or other transit improvements (the city insists they're not part of the stadium deal), shortfalls in state parking revenue (or losses to the city if state garages siphon off customers from existing city-owned lots), or cost overruns in building the new parkland, which could amount to tens or hundreds of millions more. Just counting those as-of-right tax breaks, part of a 20-year-old program to lure businesses to the lagging outer boroughs, would tack on an extra $299 million in city subsidies."

Gotham Gazette

Nice mention of our efforts. Click the title to see for yourself.

Go Greg Bell!

A nice little article in the Daily News today (click title to read it) announcing the town hall meeting tomorrow:

"Carrión and local Community Board 4 are sponsoring the meeting, at 6 p.m. at the High School of Law, Government and Justice, at 244 E. 163rd St. In addition to the public, they've invited representatives from the Parks Department, the city's Economic Development Corp. and the Yankees organization."

Again, we hear about what will happen to the old stadium site:

"The plan unveiled this year by Yankees owner George Steinbrenner envisions a new stadium just north of the present one, with fewer seats but more luxury boxes, surrounded by a shopping complex. The landmarked original Yankee Stadium would be preserved and converted to public use.

"Carrión hopes to create a Yankees Hall of Fame and museum in the historic stadium, as well as a high-rise hotel and convention center overlooking the ballfield."

Well, the original stadium isn't landmarked. But if it is considered replacement parkland according to the DEIS, why would Carrión "hope" to put so many structures on it? We have already been told that we won't have access to the old field, but to waste so much of our replacement parkland on a Hall of Fame, museum, hotel, and convention center is outrageous! What they are saying is they are taking Macomb's Dam and part of John Mullaly parks for the new stadium, and the "replacement parks" will also be taken as part of their development.

We are so going to court!

And check this out:

"The Parks Department, the lead agency on the project, will make a presentation at the meeting, as will the Yankees organization. After that, the public will be invited to ask questions for the rest of the two-hour meeting."

We only get two hours for the entire meeting? And the bulk of it will be given to the bad guys to spin their happy little stories. How much time will the COMMUNITY get to speak out? "The rest of the two-hour meeting." I'm betting we get a total of 30 minutes. Any takers?

But kudos to Greg Bell:

""It's not a fair exchange," said Greg Bell, chairman of Bronx Voices for Equal Inclusion, a subcommittee of the Mid-Bronx Neighborhood Advisory Council. "It's not parkland, and it's not in our community."

"Bell stressed that his group was not opposed to a new stadium, but would rather see it placed on underused land southwest of the current stadium rather than on top of a heavily used park in a community with extremely high asthma rates.

"The tourists will come wherever the new Yankee Stadium is," said Bell. "It doesn't have to be in our backyard."

We are lucky to have him in our corner!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

What exactly does the Atlantic Yards plan have in common with the plan for a new Yankee Stadium?

Read the following and ask yourself if the same couldn't be applied to the Yankee Plan:

"The planning for Atlantic Yards is all backwards. Normally, government does a plan for the area, then looks at the potential environmental impacts of the plan, decides what to do, and then either does it or puts it out to private developers to bid on. In Atlantic Yards -- and increasingly in other megaprojects throughout the city -- it is just the reverse. First a private developer does a plan for the area, gets government officials to back it, then does an environmental impact statement, and in the process of looking at the environmental impacts all of the big planning issues that were never addressed in the first place come up for discussion. But the people who live and work in the area and will be most affected by the plan have the least to say about it."

This is from an article in the Gotham Gazette titled "Atlantic Yards: Through The Looking Glass" which is actually a perfect summation of the plan for a new Yankee Stadium.

The Gotham Gazette article continues:

"Is Environmental Review Backwards?

"In this looking glass world, the environmental review process has been spun around and is now backwards. The laws establishing environmental review procedures by the city and state were designed to provide decision makers – the governor, mayor and borough president, for example – with information about potential impacts of new projects so that they could make informed decisions. Government could then determine what measures would have to be taken to mitigate the impacts before they approved or disapproved the project. But with Atlantic Yards, government leaders have already made up their minds, and given away the store. The environmental impact statement could very well end up as a useless exercise that satisfies no one except the project sponsors. Or it may turn out like the nonsensical poem, Jabberwocky, that Alice discovered in the Looking Glass World, filled with unintelligible jargon. Its multiple volumes will be more than your average community resident or business person can digest in the course of a normal lifetime. If past practice is any indicator, they will barely have enough time to get past the introduction before the state agency moves to put the final rubber stamp on the project."

We at Save Our Parks were lucky to have a professional city planner by the name Lukas Herbert sift through the 700 page DEIS for the Yankee plan. He was able to expose, using the words of the DEIS, why it is such a disaster for our community and the city at large. You can find his comments on this blog.

The article continues:

"The most troubling part of the Atlantic Yards project is that it seems to be part of a much bigger reversal in the public process set up to handle development proposals. The same thing happened with the Jets Stadium on the West Side of Manhattan, the rebuilding of lower Manhattan, and the Brooklyn Bridge Park. State authorities under the governor’s control make deals with private developers, then use their powers to override local land use procedures. And compliant local politicians pave the way, undermining the few regulatory tools they have at their disposal to empower their own constituents in the planning process. And while these mega- developers go through the back door and benefit from the magic mirrors, the thousands of neighborhood developers that are the backbone of local improvement have to follow the rules and go through ULURP.

It's what we have been saying for a while. The ULURP process has been perverted.

"New Yorkers from the boroughs outside Brooklyn who think Atlantic Yards has nothing to do with them should think twice. Atlantic Yards could be the place where the mirror gets shattered, the King is captured, and Tweedledee and Tweedledum have to walk away in shame."

Absolutely! And now the state is alienating parkland to build stadiums for private companies, how long till they do the same for a large retail establishment? Do you like your neighborhood park? Think it's a permanent asset for your neighborhood? Think again.

Click the title to read the whole article on the Atlantic Yards project. At the end of the article is a link to leave a comment on it. You can't because you aren't a registered user, but you should read them. They are also illuminating.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Town Hall meeting Thursday, November 17


Thursday, November 17th at 6:00 pm. Arrive early enough to sign up to speak.

Bronx School for Law & Justice
244 East 163rd Street (Between Sherman & Morris avenues)

Fight the plan to move Yankee Stadium into Macomb's Dam and Mullaly parks!

It's NOT a 'done deal'!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn

The Develop Don’t Destroy Walkathon Sunday, November 13, raised $50,000 for funds to defend Brooklyn against Bruce Ratner and his mega-development proposal. They did a terrific job, and included Save Our Parks.

Our own John Rozankowski spoke eloquently, linking the Yankee Stadium fight with Brooklyn's efforts against
overdevelopment and the privatization of public resources.

DEVELOP DON’T DESTROY BROOKLYN leads a broad-based coalition fighting for development that will unite our communities instead of dividing and destroying them.

To learn more about this issue, go to:

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Check out our analysis of the DEIS

Be sure to scroll down to read up on why the new stadium plan is so disastrous for the community and, yes, the city in general.

Community Board 4 member and local resident (hero) Lukas Herbert read the entire 700 page Draft Environmental Impact Statement. It was a busman's holiday for him, actually, as that's what he does for a living as a city planner in White Plains.

He took notes from his reading, which are posted here on this blog in their entirety.

Just scroll down! Go ahead!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

According to the Yankees: these homes doomed

According to the Draft Environmental Impact Statement: “residents living in these buildings would be subject to noise, bright lights, and large crowds during game nights. Living across the street from the stadium could make it less likely that someone would want to rent an apartment” there.

An open letter to Community Board 4

Dear Community Board 4 Member:

We are long-time resident voters of Community Board 4, and after having studied the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) of the Yankee Stadium project, we have discovered serious flaws in this document. We ask that you refuse to green-light this project and that the Yankees and the City go back to the drawing board to develop a plan that will not devastate our community.

We are not against development in our community. We are very excited about the restoration of the 153rd Street Bridge and of the Grand Concourse and of the redevelopment of 161st Street. These all present great economic development and benefits for the area. And if the Yankees could develop a plan that has a renovated or new stadium SOUTH of 161st Street, we would probably welcome that as well.

Residents from around the city, not just our community, use the sporting facilities at Macomb’s Dam and John Mullaly parks, including the Joseph Yancey Track and Field. Dozens of community schools use these parks for baseball, soccer and track and field meets. This plan sets a dangerous precedent by taking public parkland for use by a large private commercial enterprise.

Placing a modern megastadium in the middle of our community, along with the thousands of additional parking spaces which will bring hundreds of thousands of additional car trips to our community every week of home games throughout the season while at the same time requiring the closure of these new garage “parks” on game days for security reasons is outrageous.

Our elected officials have said the plan exchanges parkland for parkland. This is not true. The present stadium is zoned commercial. Public parkland should remain parkland. “Heritage Field”, as the old stadium will be called, although it will be zoned parkland, will be closed to residents and is not equitable or equally accessible, and neither will the parks that the proposal calls to be built on top of the new garages, at least on game days.

The DEIS is clear that the stadium will negatively impact the livability of the apartment buildings on Jerome Avenue: “residents living in these buildings would be subject to noise, bright lights, and large crowds during game nights. Living across the street from the stadium could make it less likely that someone would want to rent an apartment there." So why are we putting a megastadium in a stable residential community?

The plan calls for no addition to the public transit in the area; there is no Metro North station proposed. With the addition of so much parking, the environmental fallout for this project will negatively impact the already high asthma rates . Bronx residents on average live two years less than the average American due to pollution and particulates. The American Lung Association, in their State of the Air 2005 Report, states that for the 6th year in a row the Bronx gets a failing grade for air quality. And we want to add more parking and traffic?

Forcing the City and State to pay over $250 million for garages, replacement parks and other infrastructure is not an appropriate use of tax dollars. Meanwhile, the Yankees say they will pay for the cost of the new stadium, but recent history is full of examples of sports teams which begin the process saying they will pay for their stadiums and then coming up empty handed or short of funds. This plan has no assurances that it won’t happen here.

The Yankees and the City are proceeding with this plan as if the ULURP applications have already been approved. The antidemocratic methods employed by our elected officials in planning and voting on this proposal betrays the public trust and belies the statements by our leaders that there is “no community opposition.” It has been presented as a “done deal” to intimidate community opposition and discourage community input. We will hold the elected officials responsible for this outrageous denial of our 14th Amendment right of equal access and protection under the law, as we have been effectively excluded from the procedural process.

Please refuse to approve this plan when you vote on it on
November 22!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Questions submitted to the blog

A reader sent in the following questions last night in reference to the Housing and Land Use Committee of Community Board 4 rejecting the proposed Yankee Stadium Plan. They were good questions. The answers follow.

1. Is this resolution one that was proposed or based on ideas promoted by Save Our Parks!?

No. Yes. Maybe. As you may have noticed, we have been agitating for a while over this plan. Who knows what affect we have had on members of Community Board 4? And yes, members of Save Our Parks were able to contribute to the wording of the resolution. And at least one member was able to vote on the resolution, as he was invited last night to join the committee. But we have to think that because this plan is so awful for the community that it would never have passed. Would it have passed without the work of Save Our Parks? We'll never know.

2. Will there be an alternative proposal for Yankee Stadium to be considered by the board?

Not until the Yankees come up with one. The Housing and Land Use Committee of CB4 refused this plan. They were only offered the one. It is not for them to tell the Yankees what to do, but to listen to what the Yankees want to do and then judge the plan the Yankees come up with on its own merits.

3. Will the general meeting on the 22nd go ahead as scheduled?

Yes. On the 22nd there will be a vote on the plan by the full community board. And don't forget the Town Hall Meeting on November 17 where the Yankees will finally have to show up (they have already skipped at least two meetings when they were scheduled to appear, once because of "rain") and finally present their plan to the community. Keep in mind that according to the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Yankees and corresponding city agencies last spring, the Yankees are required to hold frequent meetings with the community. Well, this is the first one.

4. Could this still be considered by the Borough President regardless of what happens now?

Yes. He could approve the plan even if the full community board rejected it. But that wouldn't be politically savvy, would it? So, of course, Community Board 4 members can expect to start feeling pressure. If they haven't already.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Good news

At tonight's Community Board 4 Housing and Land Use Subcommittee a resolution was unanimously passed to deny the Yankee Stadium Plan as it is currently proposed (ie, in our parks!).

DEIS: Summary of alternatives; No action alternative


Draft EIS states:

Lots 12 and 13D would be removed with the construction of Gateway Center at Bronx Terminal Market, resulting in a loss of parking as compared to today.

Unlike the proposed project, the No Action Alternative would not displace parkland, nor would it cause a temporary loss of recreational facilities in the project area during construction. However, the No Action Alternative would not result in a 4.63-acre net increase in accessible open space, including 5.82 new acres of recreational waterfront parks and esplanade that would be provided as part of the proposed project. Therefore, although the No Action Alternative would not result in significant adverse impacts on open space, it would not provide new and enhanced recreational facilities and would, therefore, not have the benefits to parklands that
would be realized with the proposed project.

The No Action Alternative would result in the same volume of auto trips being generated to and from Yankee Stadium as would the proposed project.

The No Action Alternative would not result in an increase in parking facilities or parklands in the vicinity of Yankee Stadium. The waterfront would not be developed under the No Action Alternative, so that approximately 261,000 square feet of retail space would be constructed on this site, as proposed in the Bronx Terminal Market Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

New York City would continue to collect rent on the existing stadium, but would spend money for stadium upkeep, leading to a direct deficit of $77 million over a 30 year period under the No Action Alternative.

However, since the No Action Alternative would not provide new public open space along the Harlem River, it would not provide for the new visual resources that would be realized with the proposed project.

The No Action Alternative would not result in the removal of mature street trees or the alteration of existing parkland, Yankees fans driving to the stadium would continue to circulate excessively through the area in search of hard-to-find parking spaces on-street would not be expected to generate new traffic.


The “no action” alternative reads like it is the best alternative for the community. The community would get to keep all of its well-used and well-loved parkland. Plus certain already programmed parks improvements would get built anyway. No mature trees will get chopped down. There would be no adverse neighborhood or business impacts. Traffic would probably not get any worse than it already is.

The only bad impacts would be to the Yankees. They would lose some parking because of the Gateway Center project at the Bronx Terminal Market site. This would probably make it harder for some fans to find parking for the game, so they’d have to either carpool with other fans or take public transit to the site, which is what they should be encouraged to do anyway.

The existing, cramped conditions at the stadium would continue. The Yankees would have to share a weight room with the opposing team. The press would have to sit with the fans. Expensive luxury seating, restaurants and parking couldn’t be added to the stadium to generate more revenue for the team. How could the community (one of the poorest zip codes in the country) be so insensitive to the needs of the wealthiest team in baseball? It smacks of injustice.

DEIS: Parking concerns; Waterfront garage alternative

Waterfront Garage Alternative

Draft EIS states:

Parking Garages A and C would be reduced in size and structured parking would be built on the waterfront in the location of Parking Lots 13A and 13B. Under the Waterfront Garage Alternative, it is estimated that 1,000 to 1,500 spaces would be removed from Parking Garages A and C as compared to the proposed project. Thus, the waterfront garage would need to accommodate the 852 spaces currently available in Parking Lots 13A and 13B as well as the spaces that would be removed from Parking Garages A and C for a total of 1,852 to 2,352 spaces.

...require at least a four-story garage at this location to fully accommodate the 1,852 to 2,352 spaces. It would also require that the garage be built over a small inter-pier area at the southern end of the site.

However, because the size of Parking Garage C would be reduced with the Waterfront Garage Alternative, it would be possible to locate its rooftop recreational facility at the level of the Macomb’s Dam Bridge Approach, would have the potential to reduce significant traffic impacts at intersections along Jerome Avenue and the Macomb’s Dam Bridge Approach that would be expected to occur under the proposed project. Under this alternative, up to 2,352 cars would reach their parking spaces via southbound Exit 6 off the Major Deegan Expressway to “Bronx Terminal Market,” and would not circulate on the local street network.

Under the Waterfront Garage Alternative, more pedestrians would need to travel the length of Ruppert Plaza and cross East 161st Street there than with the proposed project The Waterfront Garage Alternative would be inferior to the proposed project and was not selected for the following reasons:

• It would result in significant adverse impacts on historic and visual resources that could not be mitigated. (you wouldn’t be able to see the Macombs Dam Bridge) It would be inconsistent with the goals and objectives of the Waterfront Revitalization Program.


This alternative is basically another version of the “preferred alternative” that would take some of the parking away from the parkland and place it on the waterfront. While it would allow a slightly more “hospitable” environment for the “replacement parks”, it would also place a parking garage directly on the waterfront, which is not a desirable waterfront use. Therefore, it is not much better than the “preferred alternative”.

DEIS: Summary of alternatives; Reconstruction


Draft EIS states:

After completing the Stadium’s 50th-anniversary season in 1973, the Yankees moved to Shea Stadium for two seasons while their home was almost completely demolished and then rebuilt.

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. In addition, the reconstruction alternative would have required the use of portions of Macomb’s Dam Park for parking, without the opportunity to provide replacement recreational facilities on the site of the existing stadium.

Thus, any “reconstruction” of the stadium on its current site would require complete demolition of the existing stadium and construction of a totally new stadium on a site that includes the current stadium site, Ruppert Place, and the portion of Macomb’s Dam Park adjacent to Ruppert Place.

A stadium on the south side of East 161st Street between River and Jerome Avenues might be large enough to meet stadium criteria, but the result would be sharply inferior to the proposed project and would not meet several key project objectives. First, the House that Ruth Built, the 1923 stadium, would be entirely obliterated. In addition, Garage A could not be built, so this alternative would either fail to provide adequate off-street parking, would require that a parking structure be built along the waterfront, the footprint would need to be expanded by 3.9 acres. It would entail creating a 65-footwide ring around the existing stadium and would effectively shut down East 161st Street, River Avenue (and the No. 4 elevated subway), and East 157th Street. Thus, any “reconstruction” of the stadium on its current site would require complete demolition of the existing stadium and construction of a totally new stadium on a site that includes the current stadium site, Ruppert Place, and the portion of Macomb’s Dam Park adjacent to Ruppert Place. This alternative was found infeasible and unacceptable, as follows:

First, the House that Ruth Built, the 1923 stadium, would be entirely obliterated.

In addition, Garage A could not be built, so this alternative would either fail to provide adequate off-street parking, would require that a parking structure be built along the waterfront.

Demolition and reconstruction of the stadium in an area containing today’s Yankee Stadium site would require the relocation of the Yankees to another venue for approximately four years. This is not possible today. The Mets are poised to build a new Shea Stadium next to the existing facility, which is widely acknowledged to be out of date. Having the Yankees play along with the Mets during construction of the new stadium would greatly exacerbate the parking impacts of the Shea Stadium project during its construction.

In addition, the relocation would be particularly disruptive to the Yankees, and could be achieved only at a great cost—not only the cost of relocation, but also the costs related to loss of revenue from team sponsors who could not be accommodated at Shea. These cost penalties would likely be reflected in a substantial increase in public sector contributions to the project. For all of these reasons, any option requiring relocation of the team is completely unacceptable to the Yankees.


The DEIS makes a series of weak arguments to discount this alternative. A demolition and reconstruction of the stadium could be done in various ways – ways that are not explored by the document. While it may require the Yankees to move temporarily, so what? They did it in 1973 and it only took 3 years - why would it take 4 years in 2006? Construction techniques have improved. Also, it’s not like fans would stop caring about the Yankees if they had to go to Shea stadium to watch a game. People go to games to be entertained and because they like the team. It’s not like a reconstruction of the stadium would move the team so far away that nobody could get there.

In addition, any Shea stadium reconstruction projects could be delayed until after the Yankees reconstruction is finished. Perhaps a reciprocal deal could be worked out where the Mets would play at the new Yankee Stadium during the Shea Stadium reconstruction. There are lots of ways to look at this, and the DEIS is too quick to dismiss this option.

As far as other elements of the argument are concerned:

Garage A could not be built – So? Nobody wants this anyway since it will destroy a park.

The House that Ruth Built, the 1923 stadium, would be entirely obliterated – Since when did the Yankees care about this? Notice how the only time the DEIS calls the old stadium “the House that Ruth Built” is when the Yankees are trying to discount the reconstruction alternative. The rest of the time, the stadium is called “an outdated, 82-year old facility.” There is clearly little regard for the historic nature of the old stadium in both the DEIS and by the Yankees previous threats to move to New Jersey. If they cared so much about it, why did they threaten to leave it as an abandoned building all of these years?

DEIS: Summary of alternatives; Renovation


Draft EIS states:

There is simply insufficient space within the existing stadium to accommodate the extensive needs and requirements for transforming it into a modern-day stadium.

For the stadium to function properly and provide a comfortable experience for fans, players, and the press, a nearly 100 percent increase in public concourse and fan amenity areas would be required.

Adequate practice space and batting cages are lacking, and there is only one weight room, which must be shared by both the Yankees and visiting teams.


The DEIS is too quick to dismiss this option. While it is not the option that the Yankees want, it will have a greatly reduced impact on the surrounding community. The rejection of this option begs the question: “who is more important: the Yankees or everybody else?” Should we place a monetary cost on the various aspects of peoples lives that will be harmed by this project and compare them to the economic benefits of a new stadium? Such an exercise would be a callous, insensitive way to examine a set of impacts – but no less callous and insensitive than insisting that the Yankees needs are more important than the members of our community and deserve an approval on this project despite the impacts it will have on everyone around them.

The Yankees’ preferred alternative would exact a great cost on the surrounding community. While the renovation alternative is less than the desired maximum for the Yankees, it is a better alternative for the community – and should be considered more thoroughly. The Yankees are not the only people in this community and they should not be allowed whatever they want at a cost to everyone else.

DEIS: Business impacts; Conclusion


Draft EIS states:

The analysis concludes that the proposed project would not cause significant adverse impacts to the socioeconomic character of the project’s study area. would not directly displace any businesses or institutional uses. nor would it significantly alter existing economic patterns in the study area.

As a result of the proposed project, the New York Yankees, an important asset to the neighborhood and The Bronx, would remain in its historical Bronx location.

The analysis concludes that the proposed project would not cause significant adverse impacts to the socioeconomic character of the project’s study area... nor would it significantly alter existing economic patterns in the study area that would result in indirect displacement of businesses and institutions.

However, the proposed project would only locate the proposed stadium one block north of East 161st Street and, therefore, would not affect the customer base for the existing businesses along River Avenue.


It is true that if the Yankees ceased to exist in the neighborhood, that would be a huge blow to all of the existing stadium-oriented businesses. However, redesigning the stadium area as proposed will certainly serve to weaken these businesses over the existing conditions by diverting foot-traffic away from them. To ignore this fact is a flaw of the DEIS. “Only being a block away” is enough to make or break the viability of some of the businesses which rely on high visibility “impulse” sales. It is not good enough that the stadium has “only moved a block away.” This added distance and the change in foot-traffic patterns, coupled with new restaurants and stores within the stadium, could be the force that dooms several local businesses.

DEIS: Business impacts; New foot-traffic pattern around stadium


Draft EIS states:

...and help reduce the walk from parking facilities to the stadium, as
an at-grade, controlled crossing of East 161st Street at Ruppert Plaza would be created.

Between Heritage Field and the soccer field and athletic track would be a passive park with an alley of trees on re-aligned Ruppert Place. Renamed “Ruppert Plaza,” it would comprise 1.13 acres of new parkland. Ruppert Plaza would function as the main thoroughfare from the existing parking facilities, as well as proposed Parking Garage A, to the proposed stadium.

Rather, these trips would be redistributed within the transportation network, largely due to the future location of the proposed stadium, the addition of nearby parking facilities, and the provision of a dedicated pedestrian spine along Ruppert Plaza.

...representing a net addition of approximately 3,022 spaces above existing parking supplies—would make it easier for fans driving to games to park closer to the stadium, resulting in less circulation on local streets in search of the currently often hard-to-find parking spaces.

(1) the proposed project would provide Yankees fans with thousands of new parking spaces close to the proposed stadium, thus relieving the area of excessive traffic circulation pre-game as motorists would no longer have to circulate on local streets in search of hard-to-find parking spaces, especially on sellout game days;

(2) the proposed project would also eliminate some illegal parking on local streets and on the service road of the northbound Major Deegan Expressway since the parked cars could now be accommodated within off-street parking lots and garages;

(3) the proposed project would result in a shift of vehicular traffic from some currently used traffic routes to others, primarily to streets such as Jerome Avenue, the Macomb’s Dam Bridge Approach, River Avenue, and others;

The proposed project is expected to result in similar overall transit use and pedestrian levels as currently exist in the surrounding area of the project site. to the change in terms of access patterns and the redistribution of pedestrian flow.

Furthermore, by consolidating and better organizing parking in the area, the proposed garages would have a positive land use impact in the project area.


It appears that the design intent of the new stadium project is to re-direct pedestrian flows from the parking structures to the stadium. New parking structures will be built immediately adjacent to the stadium to mimimize walking from the car to the stadium. Ruppert Plaza will also be used as a way to channelize pedestrian traffic from other garages south of the stadium to the stadium’s front entrance. Since Ruppert Plaza will not have any retail along it, most of the people walking from the garages to the stadium under the new proposal will not pass any of the local businesses along River Avenue on their way to the stadium. This loss of pedestrian traffic in front of these businesses will likely mean a decline in business, particularly where “impulse purchases” – which require a high degree of visibility - are involved.

Perhaps shift of pedestrian traffic is being done as a logistical improvement for pedestrian flows? However, this seems unlikely due to the large numbers of people who will have to use a controlled pedestrian crossing at 161 st Street – a concept that will likely lead to chaos or vehicle-pedestrian conflicts due to the high volume of traffic on 161 st Street during game days. It could be hypothesized that this new pedestrian access pattern was devised deliberately – as a way to keep people from going to local businesses so that they spend more money in stores and restaurants within the stadium walls. However, nobody can expect the DEIS to give out this kind of information, so for now it can only be a theory.