Saturday, November 19, 2005

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."


At 11:12 PM, Anonymous CB said...

Maria del Carmen Arroyo is the same clown that said that the community didn't reach out to her to let her know we didn't like this plan. Well, guess what? It ain't our job to reach out to her. Vice versa, baby. The alienation was passed in the assembly in the dead of night with no previous notice that it was up for a vote. And who sponsered the bill? Her MAMA. That's right, it's a family affair. Well, we have news for this particular mountebank (look it up Maria: yeah, both of you!): start spreading your resumes around, 'cause your political careers are finished like a Bronx apartment house in the 1970s. You better find a way to save face and come out against this plan, or we will definitely find a better candidate for your office. And that is a heart-felt promise to both of you. Who knows, maybe Steinbrenner will give you jobs...but I wouldn't count on it! Your usefullness to him will end the day he puts a shovel in our parkland.

At 10:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why didn't the writer quote from opponents of the plan, if "residents seemed to be divided during interviews last week"? He only quotes a 20 year old boy (no offense, but why not quote from someone who has seen a little more of the world?). And this boy quotes the RADIO? "They were saying on the radio..." Well, come on! That is ridiculous!

At 12:31 PM, Blogger Save Our Parks! said...

Yes, anonymous, you have a point. And yet it is a pretty fair depiction of what happened Thursday evening, although we would beg to differ on a couple points:

"...the new stadium and four parking garages would be built on what is now mostly parkland..." Actually, it is ALL parkland that new structures would be built on.

"...the present stadium, which would become public ball fields." Actually, as was made painfully obvious that night, the city and the Yankees still don't know what exactly would become of the old stadium. One version has it as 'Heritage Field', preserving a fenced off field and dugouts; another calls for a 'Heritage Field' with a museum, Hall of Fame, convention center and hotel (!!!); another shows three community ball fields.

Which kind of inspires the question: "Wha'? How can they be this far in the process and NOT KNOW WHAT THEY WANT TO DO?!"

But we have to say the article was a fair representation all in all of the town hall meeting, and we would like to thank the reporter.

At 12:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 7:43 PM, Anonymous Erika said...

"It was a bad evening for Randy Levine. Mr. Levine, the president of the Yankees...We all love the present Yankee Stadium," he said in a conciliatory tone.
"It's the cathedral of baseball."

These guys must all use the same playbook. The previous owner of the Sox got up in public to shed crocodile tears for ol' Fenway back in 1999. He sure didn't want to see it go, but really, there was no alternative. Now he's gone and Fenway's still here. Hmmmm.

Glad to see the coverage in the Times.


At 10:30 AM, Blogger Save Our Parks! said...

The comment above was deleted at the request of a SaveOurParks member.

For the record, it is the blog administration's policy to leave all comments just as they are written without interference, including comments made by those who are in favor of the Yankee's land grab.

The deleted post, although it was made by a SaveOurParks supporter, included a reference to someone's mother which is not appropriate in a discussion of this type. If the poster would like to resubmit his or her post without this reference we would not have a problem with that.


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