Tuesday, January 31, 2006

1/31/6, The Daily News: "Yankees' Pitchman"

Yankees' pitchman
Business crowd rooting for his stadium plans


Yankees president Randy Levine pitched the team's new stadium plans to a different set of pinstripes yesterday, but the crowd was clearly on his team.

Pledging that seats would remain affordable and that the project would create jobs for Bronx residents, Levine basked in a lovefest from the borough's business community at the New Bronx Chamber of Commerce lunch as he outlined what he called "the largest private investment in the history of the Bronx."

Levine cited several design features of the new stadium that will make it superior to the House That Ruth Built.

Although the current Yankee Stadium has some 20,000 seats on the lower level and 30,000 upper-deck nosebleed seats, the New Yankee Stadium will reverse that ratio.

And in addition to recreating the historical facade of the old stadium, the new ballpark will boast a replica of the original frieze destroyed with other architectural details when the old stadium was renovated in the 1970s.

"The new stadium will actually look more like the original 1923 stadium than the current one does," Levine said.

He also assured Chamber members that the expanded number of luxury boxes will keep other seats at reasonable prices.

"This stadium is going to be affordable," said Levine, "affordable for everyone."
Levine's biggest applause line came as he touted the estimated 1,000 new permanent jobs the expanded facility will create.

"Hear me," he said, "jobs will go to Bronx residents."

Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, who is negotiating a community benefit agreement with the ballclub, said he is pressing for a commitment of "at least 25%" of jobs, contracts and purchasing being set aside for Bronx residents - a figure Levine endorsed.

Levine also lent his support for Carrion's other ambitious plans for the stadium neighborhood, including a new high school focused of sports industry careers and a hotel and convention center.
While stressing that the Yankees organization "isn't in the business of developing hotels," Levine said the site plan would accommodate one.

"There's a parcel of land set aside for it," he said.

Levine also cited several changes in the plan that came out of talks with project opponents, like making the parking lots available year-round, and centralizing replacement parkland on the site of the old stadium.

"They really had some good ideas," Levine said."

Carrion drew laughter when he described the sometimes contentious process of hammering out a redevelopment plan.

"It's like making sausage," he said, shaking his head wearily.

"It's not pretty."

Field of Schemes responds to the lies of Levine

January 31, 2006

Yanks: What about our needs?

New York Yankees president Randy Levine was out stumping for the team's new $1.2 billion stadium plan yesterday, telling the New Bronx Chamber of Commerce that "we need a new stadium" because the old one "is just not functional."

Levine ran the gamut of pro-stadium arguments in defense of his team's plan, so let's go to the videotape, and see how he did:

"Any city, state, fair-minded economist will tell you that the new stadium and the surrounding area around it will create ... maybe hundreds of millions of dollars in increased economic activity and increased tourism."

Let's ask some fair-minded city economists, then. Doug Turetsky, chief of staff of the New York City Independent Budget Office, tells fieldofschemes.com: "Time and again evidence has shown that stadiums alone are not great job or revenue generators. This would especially seem to be the case when the plan is to replace an existing ballpark with one right next door. With the same fans coming to see the same ball club, it is not likely to spark much new discretionary spending in and around the stadium."

"It's neither feasible nor practical to either renovate or build on any other site in the Bronx. Not on the present site of the stadium - it's too small for a modern day stadium. Not to renovate there - it's way too costly and would not allow us any ability to play there for several years. And since we're paying for this, not the taxpayers, we wouldn't have revenues to build a new stadium."

David Gratt of Friends of Yankee Stadium points out that "the Red Sox are making major structural changes to Fenway in the offseason without disrupting the fans or baseball operations. The thought that the Yankees would have to play elsewhere is just wrong." He further notes that the renovation of Fenway, far from being more expensive, is costing about $200 million, while "the previous Borough President released a plan in 1998 estimating that it would cost $189 million" to renovate Yankee Stadium.

Adds Erika Tarlin of Save Fenway Park: "Mr. Levine's comments echo those of previous team owners and city agencies who declared Fenway dead and the proposed site for a new stadium as the 'only' feasible site. ... The team has renovated on its own dime which would not have been the case with the proposed new stadium which required at least $352 million in public money toward a $650 million project, and is not the case with the proposed new Yankee Stadium, an $800 million project at last count."

"This stadium is going to be affordable, affordable for everyone."

The city's own economic impact consultants estimate the average ticket price at a new stadium as $57, which would easily be the most expensive in baseball. It's possible those projections are wrong - but since the high ticket prices are responsible for most of the predicted economic benefits, they'd need to revise even further downwards the city's projected tax revenues. "When the consultants want to prove the stadium is a money-maker, they point to increased ticket prices and higher fan spending," notes Dan Steinberg of Good Jobs New York, which is putting the finishing touches on an analysis of the city's economic projections. "But when New Yorkers want to know how this stadium will affect the cost of going to a ballgame, the Yankees say, 'Don't worry about it.'

"All new facilities, a $130 million investment in the parks in the Bronx that everyone acknowledges would not have taken place without the new Yankee Stadium being built."
Steinberg again: "It's misleading to describe this as a $130 million parks investment when it includes the $24 million cost of stadium demolition and other costs such as land acquisition and infrastructure projects that are only necessary because of the stadium project." Gratt further notes that renovated parkland typically costs about $1 million per acre in New York City, so at $100-million-plus for 27 acres, the city isn't getting a very good bang for its buck.

Add them all up, and... let's see... congratulations, Randy, you've scored a Golden Sombrero!

1/31/6, The Sun:"Levine Defends Plans for Yankee Stadium"

January 31, 2006

Levine Defends Plans for Yankee Stadium
By ALEC MAGNET - Staff Reporter of the Sun

January 31, 2006

The president of the Yankees, Randy Levine, yesterday defended plans for a new Yankee Stadium, saying its proposed site is the only one available.

"We need a new stadium," he said in a speech before a 300-person lunch audience at the New Bronx Chamber of Commerce, saying the old one "is just not functional."

Mr. Levine promised to use Bronx businesses and employ Bronx residents during and after construction. The president of the Bronx, Adolfo Carrion, and members of the borough's New Chamber of Commerce also spoke in favor of the ballpark."

It's neither feasible nor practical to either renovate or build on any other site in the Bronx," Mr. Levine said. "Not on the present site of the stadium - it's too small for a modern day stadium. Not to renovate there - it's way too costly and would not allow us any ability to play there for several years. And since we're paying for this, not the taxpayers, we wouldn't have revenues to build a new stadium."

Community groups and parks advocates have attacked the planned stadium on grounds that it will displace 22 acres of Macomb's Dam and John Mullaly parks. Critics also have complained that the planned use of public money - about $400 million for the $1.2 billion development - will serve in effect as a public subsidy for a project that will produce no benefit for the community.

Much protest against the new ballpark has focused on the plans to restore the displaced parkland with noncontiguous park facilities. Mr. Levine presented new plans for the parks, which are to be grouped into one main area next to the stadium and another on the Harlem River."

It's a central park, contiguous park, all together, all modern facilities," he said. "The tennis facilities will be moved to the waterfront because many of the community - rightly so - said they're serviced by cars and traffic. A lot of people outside the Bronx use that, so it's a much, much cleaner way to open up the waterfront and have the tennis facilities out on the Harlem River."

Many critics have challenged the Yankees' claim that the new ballpark will improve the neighborhood's economy, saying that the present stadium has not done so. Mr. Levine said the present stadium had contributed to the local economy, and that the new one would be even more beneficial."

Any city, state, fair-minded economist will tell you that the new stadium and the surrounding area around it will create ... maybe hundreds of millions of dollars in increased economic activity and increased tourism," he said.

In response to charges that the public contributions to the project constituted a public subsidy, Mr. Levine said that the Yankees are investing "at least" $800 million of their own money, the largest private investment in the history of professional sports or the Bronx. He admitted that some of this money would be in the form of tax-exempt bonds, but he said the team would be responsible for servicing the bonds. "What we're doing is no different from anybody building any office building in the city or state of New York," he said.

A research analyst for the nonprofit Good Jobs New York who has released a report on the new ballpark's finances, Daniel Steinberg, told The New York Sun earlier this month that the economic benefits of the stadium were unlikely to outweigh the cost in taxpayer money, and that many of the figures the plan cited were misleading. The Yankees have not issued an official response to the report.

1/30/6, WABC: "Bronx residents angry over Yankee plans"

Bronx residents angry over Yankee plans

Eyewitness News' Dave Evans
(New York-WABC, January 30, 2006)

Residents of the Bronx are sounding off tonight about the New Yankee Stadium.
Many have raised questions about the project -- especially the loss of park land around the stadium.

Now there's a new plan -- but the critics still don't like it. Political Reporter Dave Evans has the story.

It was supposed to be the project everybody loved: an $800 million Yankees Stadium paid for by the Yankees. But plenty of neighbors are upset about it.

Anthony Curry lives a block from the current stadium and he'll live right next door to the new one.

"I'm a Yankee fan, I'm a die-hard Yankees fan. Sheffield is my favorite player right now. However, Yankees themselves and people who come down to the Yankees games have never been a good neighbor," Curry said.

Plans unveiled today show a new Yankees Stadium will open in the spring of 2009. The old stadium is to be torn down, the wall goes away and the Yankees will build four new little league ballfields. They'll also put new tennis courts and an ice skating rink but neighbors say it's not enough.

One big worry of the neighborhood? This park and stadium will disappear during construction. But today, Yankees President Randy Levine said neighborhood concerns have been addressed. He calls a new stadium good for the Bronx.

Bronx Borough President, Adolfo Carrion, says opposition is a tiny minority in the Bronx. He says stopping George Steinbrenner at this point? Impossible.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Analysis of the proposed parkland conversion for the Yankee Stadium project as it applies to the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965

Prepared by Lukas Herbert, AICP, member of Community Board 4, Bronx, in cooperation with New York City Park Advocates

Date of preparation: December 28, 2005


The proposed Yankee Stadium project, as described in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the project dated September 23, 2005, by law would require an approval from the United States Department of Interior (DOI) through the National Parks Service (NPS) for a parkland conversion associated with the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965 (LWCF). This report attempts to analyze this conversion from an urban planning and legal perspective.

The specific parkland concern in this matter involves the portion of Macomb’s Dam Park bounded by 161st Street to the south, River Avenue to the east, 162nd Street to the north and Jerome Avenue to the west. According to the DEIS, this parcel is 11.2 acres in size and was improved using LWCF funds in the early 1980’s. This park parcel (hereafter termed the “conversion parcel”) currently contains a 400-meter track with a soccer field and spectator stands, a softball field with a 60-foot infield and a baseball field with a 90-foot infield.
The New York Yankees and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) intend to remove this parcel of LWCF-funded parkland from public use for the purpose of constructing a new Yankee Stadium on the site. This new stadium would be comprised of approximately 1.3 million square feet of floor area and would contain seating for 54,000 spectators plus 1,000 standing spaces. The stadium would reach a proposed building height of 138 feet and would have floor plates that are approximately 45% larger in area than the existing stadium.

Per LWCF regulations, the applicants must find suitable replacement parkland that meets a range of criteria. In this case, the applicants are proposing to use three parcels in separate locations totaling 15.14 acres as the replacement parkland. These parcels (hereafter termed the “replacement parcels”) are as follows:

* Former stadium site – 8.9 acres. While the DEIS describes the proposed parkland use on this site to be a partially demolished version of the existing stadium for use as a baseball field, DPR has since revised the plans at subsequent public meetings to better address community concern and outrage. The latest iteration of this discussion has provided three playing fields on the site in place of the current stadium, which would be totally demolished. While this plan was presented to the public at a public hearing, it has not been placed into any revised environmental review documents at this time and therefore is not part of any official public record beyond the presentations that were made.
* Rupert Plaza – 1.13 acres. This park parcel would involve the conversion of an existing city street into a “pedestrian promenade” which would run alongside a proposed new parking structure and the former stadium site.
* Waterfront parcel – 5.11 acres. This is a parcel currently occupied by vacant warehouse buildings associated with the Bronx Terminal Market. It would be converted to some type of recreational use – ballfields, handball courts, basketball courts, etc. as part of the proposal. As with the former stadium site, DPR has revised the proposed use of this site in response to community concerns and outrage and no final alternative has been agreed upon as of yet. It is also noted that until recently, this parcel was intended to be used for a retail building as part of the Gateway at Bronx Terminal Market retail development project.

The Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund has a long history of stewardship responsibility. According to literature made available from NPS regarding this program (Note 1) “The Fund’s most important tool for ensuring long-term stewardship is its ‘conversion protection’ requirement. Administered by the National Park Service in cooperation with states, this requirement, Section 6(f)(3) of the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act, strongly discourages casual discards and conversions of state and local park and recreation facilities to other uses.”

Specifically, Section 6(f)(3) states that the Secretary of the Interior shall only approve a LWCF related park conversion only if:

* The substitution of other recreation properties are of at least equal fair market value
* The substitute recreation properties are of reasonably equivalent usefulness and location
* The parkland conversion is in accord with the relevant Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP), which in this case is the SCORP prepared by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (NYSOPRHP) dated November 20, 2002.

Title 36, Part 59 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, provides additional information on the requirements for LWCF related parkland conversion. In addition to the three criteria above, this law requires that “All practical alternatives to the proposed conversion (be) evaluated.”

The LWCF Stewardship brochure (Note 1) also explains that “when conversions are approved, the goal is always a ‘win-win’ solution, balancing the needs of recreation and open space with other community needs.”

It is clear from all of the documentation with regards to the Land & Water Conservation Fund Act, that the conversion of any parkland that received funding under the LWCF program is not to be taken lightly. The text of the legislation itself under Title I, Section 1(b) – Purposes, states “The purposes of this Act are to assist in preserving, developing and assuring accessibility to all citizens of the United States of America of present and future generations....such quality and quantity of outdoor recreation resources as may be available and are necessary and desirable...to strengthen the health and vitality of the citizens of the United States.” It is clear from this language, that LWCF funded parkland is intended for the benefit of the citizens who use the parks. Any action which would lessen that benefit, would be in violation of the spirit of this funding program and of the letter of the law which has put it into place.

This report aims to make the case that the proposed Yankee Stadium project does not comply with the regulations established with regards to the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965. The proposed project, as described in the DEIS, and as subsequently described at various public meetings, does not meet the specific criteria that is spelled out in Section 6(f)(3) of the legislation – nor does it meet the criteria stated in Title 36, Part 59 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations. Furthermore, the project, as described will result in a “win-lose” which does not balance the needs of the community with other needs. While the project would present a big “win” for the New York Yankees, since they would receive a new stadium, the project would present a substantial “loss” for the community since it would see its access to available parkland diminished.


Practical alternatives to the proposed conversion. With respect to the parkland conversion criteria, the DEIS examines five alternatives for the proposed Yankee Stadium, including relocating the stadium to either Van Cortlandt and Pelham Bay Parks in the Bronx as well as the West Side Rail Yard in Midtown Manhattan. However the analysis of practical alternatives, as required under Title 36, Part 59 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, is woefully inadequate. The proposed plan was predicated not on the park and open space requirements of the community, but instead on being able to alienate the parkland to accommodate the Yankees. All of these alternative locations were dismissed due to a wide arrange of factors including traffic, access, parkland takings and other economic development initiatives already being pursued by the City. The DEIS also included an all too brief discussion of additional alternatives: the renovation of the current stadium and the construction of a new stadium on the current stadium site.

A sixth alternative, using land just South/West of the current stadium site must also be considered. This should be done in addition to exploring a seventh alternative which would utilize a portion of the Bronx Terminal Market (BTM) which is adjacent to the current stadium site. This last option was most likely not considered by the DEIS due to the fact that the BTM site is being considered for a large regional retail mall development under a separate EIS. However, if the two projects had been reviewed together as part of one larger development scheme under the same EIS, several other alternative stadium location schemes could have been examined. It is the consensus of the community that the two projects (BTM and Yankee Stadium) are related since they are adjacent to each other, will share parking, and will be developed at approximately the same time under the umbrella of “economic development.” The fact that the City is treating them as “separate unrelated projects” is not only inappropriate, but it has prevented the examination of additional alternatives for the stadium relocation, and thus additional alternatives for LWCF parkland analysis. Therefore, for a true examination of practical alternatives to the proposed parkland conversion, both projects need to be combined into one EIS analysis as part of a comprehensive development plan for these two adjacent sites. In all seven alternative cases, the conversion of LWCF funded parkland would be avoided or substantially minimized.

Of the five alternatives that were presented in the DEIS, both the renovation and the reconstruction alternatives at the current stadium site would allow the Yankees to meet a particular condition of their development plan – that the stadium remain in the Bronx, preferably near its current location. (the same is also true of building on the adjacent land West/South) Despite this critical advantage, the DEIS is quick to dismiss both of these alternatives due to the fact that they might require the team to play in an alternate stadium during the construction period, and may result in a loss of revenue for the team. While these reasons amount to an inconvenience to the Yankees (we note that the Yankees played two seasons at Shea Stadium during the stadium’s last renovation in the 1970’s) they do not represent appropriate reasons for converting LWCF funded parkland to a privately-owned baseball stadium use. The loss of this parkland will affect everyone in the community greatly. The parkland is heavily used and, if the project goes forward as planned, will be unavailable throughout the proposed construction period (close to five years). The replacement parkland, as will be described later, will also not meet the community’s needs in the same way that the current parkland does. It is important to note, that the community considers the last four alternatives as the only viable solutions.

Considering that the renovation or the reconstruction of the current stadium will eliminate or significantly reduce the negative impacts associated with the LWCF-funded parkland conversion, as would building on adjacent land West/South, these practical alternatives deserve a more in-depth analysis than they currently receive in the DEIS. The DEIS spends only a couple of pages detailing why these alternatives will not work for the Yankees, and with respect to the adjacent land, no mention at all is made. Instead, the DEIS should be required to be revised as part of the Section 6(f) application to address how these alternatives could be used to meet the criteria of the LWCF program and to reduce the negative impacts imposed on the community that the “preferred alternative” would contain. Furthermore, the DEIS for the Yankee Stadium project and the DEIS for the BTM project should be combined into a new analysis for the purpose of exploring additional stadium locations.

Fair market value. The DEIS for the project does not spend more than a paragraph detailing how the fair market value of the conversion and replacement park parcels would be established. It is expected that at some point in the future, the details of this appraisal will be made available for public review, since no details are given in the DEIS and no details have been given to the public as yet through other forums. Since this must be done to fulfill the legal requirements for the LWCF-funded parkland conversion, the community expects that the applicants will make every effort to inform the public and the community of this appraisal. If this is not done, then the public must assume that the analysis was not conducted properly. As of this writing, it is not clear what type of analysis has been conducted.
Equivalent usefulness and location. The proposed replacement parcels, while greater in combined acreage than the conversion parcel, would not provide the same level of usefulness and location as the conversion parcel.

The proposed conversion parcel contains a 400-meter track with a soccer field and spectator stands, a softball field with a 60-foot infield and a baseball field with a 90-foot infield. All of these items are heavily used by the community – both formally as part of organized, scheduled games and school team practices, and informally by community residents seeking to walk or run around the track or use the fields for a variety of activities. This conversion parcel has a number of advantages due to its location in the center of the local community. Numerous apartment buildings flank this parcel of parkland on both the east and west. To the north, this park parcel is adjacent to John Mullaly Park, which allows the park to be part of a continuous swath of parkland for the community. Since the conversion parcel is north of the existing Yankee Stadium, it also serves as a buffer between the stadium and the nearby residential buildings – providing open, green space between these homes and the crowds, noise and light associated with the stadium.

Because of the location of the conversion parcel and the nature of the amenities there, the conversion parcel is highly accessible to the community. For more than 100 years, local residents need only to cross a street and they are there. The proposed replacement parcels, however, will not have this degree of accessibility. Nor will they contribute to a “continuous swath of parkland” or serve as a buffer between residential buildings and the proposed stadium use in the same way that the conversion parcel does. While it is true that the replacement parcels will contain more park acreage than the conversion parcel, the fragmented locations of the replacement parcels spread out up to a over three-quarters of a mile away, coupled with their inability to replace the desirable parkland features of the conversion parcel, provides for a scenario that does not provide for an equivalent usefulness and location over the conversion parcel. The analysis below details how the criteria are not met for each of the replacement parcels:

1. Former stadium site – This 8.9 acre parcel would be located at the site of the current Yankee Stadium. According to the DEIS, the stadium would be partially demolished to create a “Heritage Field” which would contain a baseball field and some of the stands associated with the former stadium. In response to community concerns and outrage over this proposal, DPR revised its proposal at a public meeting to have the site include the complete demolition of the old stadium and the replacement of the stadium with three ballfields. While this plan was presented to the public at a public hearing, it has not been placed into any revised environmental review documents at this time and therefore is not part of any official public record beyond the presentations that were made.

This site would be of equivalent usefulness to the community in the sense that it provides new playing fields where playing fields are taken away. While the parcel would not contain a track, which is heavily used by the community, ballfields would be provided. However, the site would not be located next to John Mullaly Park, so it would not form the continuous swath of parkland that is currently available today. While it is true that it would be located adjacent to another portion of Macombs Dam Park, that portion of Macombs Dam Park will be eliminated by the construction of Parking Garage A. It would be replaced instead with “park features” – an important distinction – which will be built using artificial materials and constructed atop that garage. These replacement park features would be grade separated from the replacement parcel since Parking Garage A will be above ground where it would approach the replacement parcel. Therefore, a continuous swath of parkland would not be created in a true sense since one would not be able to travel from one park area to the other without ascending stairs or an elevator to get to the roof of Parking Garage A.

This replacement parcel would also fail to serve as a buffer area for the proposed stadium in the same way that the conversion parcel functions as a buffer area for many of the residential buildings in the neighborhood. The replacement parcel would only act as a buffer for the residential buildings located east of River Avenue below 161st Street – a far lesser number of residential units than those which abut or are near the conversion parcel. Instead, if the proposal goes forward as envisioned, a new 14-story, 54,000-seat stadium structure would be constructed immediately adjacent to a number of large apartment buildings which currently have the conversion parcel as a buffer. This action will potentially serve to blight these buildings since they would, under the proposed scenario, have to contend with a large, hulking street-wall across from them, as well as massive artificial lights, noise and crowds during game times. Besides these quality-of-life issues, immense shadowing from the proposed stadium building will also negatively affect the desirability of many of the residential units in these buildings as well. It is obvious that there is a strong reason to believe that property values will decrease in these buildings as a result of this action (as noted in the DEIS). Since at least one of these buildings is a New York City Landmark, if it were to be blighted, and perhaps abandoned, it could not be torn down due to the landmark status. Therefore if property values were to decline, where would the incentive be for the owners of these buildings to maintain them? This situation is most certainly not welcome, as the area already suffers from the distinction of being part of the poorest Congressional district in the nation.

Another item of note is that while the DEIS specifically states the Heritage Field on the existing Yankee Stadium site is “not currently parkland” (Chapter 4: Open Space and Recreation p.4-6), the stadium is owned and maintained by DPR. As such, the DPR/City already includes these 16.4 acres in their park acreage inventory. How can current land that the city already counts as DPR “parkland” be used as “replacement parkland” as part of the LWCF parkland conversion equation?

2. Ruppert Plaza – This 1.13-acre parcel is currently known as Ruppert Place and is an existing, mapped City-owned street. As part of the proposed project, this street would be de-mapped as a street and mapped as parkland. According to the proposal, it would become a “pedestrian promenade” and would presumably have amenities such as benches and lighting. While the full details of the promenade design were not disclosed by the DEIS, it is assumed that it will be designed to accommodate high levels of pedestrian traffic, since it is planned to be a main form of pedestrian ingress and egress between several parking garages and the new stadium. Therefore, to handle this level of pedestrian traffic, it is assumed that it will be mostly paved and contain amenities geared towards high volumes of people.

Since the proposed plaza's purpose is to accommodate a high-volume pedestrian thoroughfare, it will not replace the active recreation space in the existing conversion parcel. Therefore, in terms of community use, this will not make up for the loss of grassy ballfields and a track, since Ruppert Plaza will not contain similar amenities. In terms of passive or active recreation, Ruppert Plaza will not achieve the same level of use as an existing green open space since it will have to be designed for high-level pedestrian volumes (i.e. paved surfaces) and it will be immediately adjacent to Parking Garage A along its entire length. Parking Garage A in this location, will be above ground, with “park features” on top of it consisting mostly of artificial grass. It is hard to imagine the same number (or an increased number for that matter) of park users choosing to walk, sit, relax or picnic on a paved walkway next to a parking garage as opposed to an open green area, such as the conversion parcel. From an environmental and health perspective, it is also important to note that this is not an appropriate exchange of park area given the fact that the existing green space on the conversion parcel (featuring real vegetation) is a far superior alternative in terms of cleaning polluted air, and mitigating the "Heat Island" affect than a paved walkway next to a parking structure with artificial grass on top. This is especially important to this community which suffers from an rate of asthma 2.5 times the City average and has the highest incidents of asthma hospitalization in the City.

In terms of location, Ruppert Plaza will be further away from most residential dwellings than the conversion parcel. To get there, most neighborhood residents will have to walk around the proposed new stadium and past at least one parking garage to get there. This is not the locational equivalent of the conversion parcel which is immediately across the street for many neighborhood residents.

3. Waterfront parcel – This 5.11-acre parcel is currently occupied by vacant warehouse buildings associated with the Bronx Terminal Market. As proposed, it would be converted to some type of recreational use – ballfields, handball courts, basketball courts, etc. As with the former stadium site, DPR has revised the proposed use of this site in response to community concerns and outrage and no final alternative has been agreed upon as of yet.

It is important to note that parkland on the Harlem River waterfront has been promised to the community for years, before any talk of parkland mitigation. In fact, about a month before Community Board 4 received the Yankee Stadium ULURP application, the Board was given a presentation by DPR about plans for a new esplanade along the Harlem River with various associated parkland areas. Therefore, it would seem inappropriate to use a park parcel, which was previously promised to the community in the first place, as a replacement parcel for parkland that is now going to be taken away.

Because the proposed types of recreational amenities have not been agreed upon, one cannot determine whether or not the proposed facilities would be of equivalent usefulness to the conversion parcel. However, the location of this parcel – far removed from residential areas and separated from them by an elevated expressway and commuter rail tracks – is grossly inadequate when compared to the conversion parcel. Regardless of what type of recreational amenity is put on this replacement parcel, the fact that access to the parcel by community residents will be difficult, will result in a greatly reduced utility. The parcel will also not serve as a buffer for the community between the stadium and residential buildings, since it will be located in an isolated location.

For over 100 years, neighborhood residents have very easy access to the recreational amenities that are part of the conversion parcel, since many people live directly across the street or within an easy walk. While this replacement parcel is more than three-quarters of a mile distance from the current park “as the crow flies”, it is separated from the community by more than just physical distance. For example, to get to this replacement parcel, access from the community can only be achieved two ways:

* Local residents could access the replacement parcel via an existing pedestrian bridge at 157th Street. This pedestrian bridge currently does not meet the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act since there is only stair access to get to the top of the bridge. It is not clear if the bridge can or will be modified as part of the proposal to bring it into compliance and the issue has not been properly addressed in the DEIS. This bridge would allow residents to cross over the commuter rail tracks. After crossing the bridge residents would then have to walk through a parking lot while crossing underneath an elevated expressway and several expressway ramps. After this journey, the park user would finally reach the replacement parcel, which would be wedged in between the elevated expressway and a freight railroad line on the waterfront. Getting to the park parcel in this manner would be more than three-quarters of a mile from the conversion parcel.

* Local residents could also access the replacement parcel via a longer and more circuitous route to the south. A park user could walk south to 149th Street and then walk west to Exterior Street, which runs below the elevated expressway. The park user could then walk north on Exterior Street to the replacement parcel. Under current conditions, Exterior Street is a dark, run-down industrial area associated with the Bronx Terminal Market. However, under future conditions, Exterior Street may be re-named Gateway Center Drive and be the main vehicular entryway for a large regional retail and hotel development. In this future scenario, the park user would have to contend with high traffic volumes and vehicular turning movements to get to the park parcel, which would still be wedged in between the elevated expressway and a freight railroad line on the waterfront.

Using either route of access, it will be much harder for the majority of neighborhood residents to access this replacement parkland. Barriers to persons with disabilities as well as the barriers of increased walking distances will likely mean that this park parcel will not see the same level of usage as the carefully planned conversion parcel. The fact that it will be located three-quarters of a mile away and directly adjacent to one of the most heavily traveled interstate highways in the region, will also serve as a deterrent for usage. This new location will also put the public in harms way. This is particularly alarming considering the community is already known as “Asthma Alley” and has one of the highest occurrences of asthma in the nation, in large part due to emissions from vehicular traffic. The conversion parcel, which is located several blocks away from the highway, has only the rumbling of the elevated subway to contend with – a noise that comes only intermittently and causes no air pollution. This replacement parcel however, will have the constant rumble of cars and trucks overhead, with all of the pollution that these types of vehicles bring. It will also be adjacent to surface parking for the stadium as well as a regional shopping center. Although this new parkland would be a welcome addition to this park-starved area of the South Bronx, for the above referenced reasons, it should not be considered appropriate replacement parkland.

Timing of replacement. Another factor affecting the ability of the replacement parcels to provide equivalent usefulness to the conversion parcel is the timing of the replacement parkland’s availability. According to the DEIS, the conversion parcel would no longer be available for public use as soon as the construction begins on the new stadium – the second quarter of 2006. However, because of the phasing and timing of the various stages of construction, the replacement parcels would not be ready for public use until substantially later. The waterfront parcel would not be ready until at least 18 months later – the fourth quarter of 2007. Whatever replaces the old stadium would not be ready until at least the first quarter of 2011, since the old stadium would need to be demolished first. The timeframe for the new Ruppert Plaza is not even listed in the DEIS.

This timing means that the community would have to wait almost 5 years from the day the conversion parcel is taken away from them until they would have full use of the replacement facilities. This is an unacceptably long wait for a community where parkland is already scarce, where asthma is a devastating problem and where childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions. The DEIS offers no mitigation for this five year net loss of parkland, and it is unclear what facilities the community will use during that time frame for recreation purposes.

Compliance with Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP). In order for the proposed parkland conversion to be approved, it must be in accord with the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP), which in this case is the SCORP prepared by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (NYSOPRHP) dated November 20, 2002. This document is a lengthy document describing a range of policies and plans for outdoor recreation and parkland for the entire State. Because of New York State’s diversity, a document such as this can only touch on general principles concerning urban areas or the downstate region. Nevertheless, there are stated principles of the SCORP that the proposed conversion does not comply with. Below are some examples of this non-compliance:

Opportunities for the future. On page 2-19, the SCORP talks about how “parks can serve as community centers” and references a study that suggests that “parks be integrated into the community in which they are located. The means to accomplish this include community involvement (and) linking buildings to the park around it.”

The proposed replacement parcels clearly do not accomplish these aims since the parcels would be further away from residential buildings than the conversion parcel, and in one case, far removed from residential buildings. While the conversion parcel is surrounded more closely by residential buildings, the replacement parcels would abut above ground parking garages, surface parking and an expressway. Thus the conversion parcel has a better sense of “linkage” to local buildings than the replacement parcels.

As for community involvement, important land use questions and decisions deserve the benefit of full public participation and review. However, the local community has not been properly informed of these plans and their ramifications. Members of the Community Board (including myself) have watched with dismay at the lack of community involvement on the planning and participation of this important project. One example: in June 2005, without meaningful community notification or input, the New York State Legislature quietly alienated the historic parks which include the conversion parcel. It wasn't until six months later that the Community Board voted on it. The public is finally becoming aware of the full details of the Yankees plans. Since that time, the community has come out in great numbers to oppose to the proposed park conversion at all of the recent public hearings on the matter. The residents of the area are united in their opposition, while the few supporters of the project have been members of organizations who receive financial support from the Yankees, and from non-residents, who also stand to benefit financially from the proposed conversion (i.e. representatives of the building trades).

Relative Index of Needs. Section 2 of the SCORP contains a quantitative analysis of recreational needs broken down by county. According to this chart, Bronx County is one of the neediest counties in the state, with heavily used sites that that must be shared amongst a large population. Given that this is the case, it goes against reason to substitute a contiguous parcel of parkland that is immediately adjacent to the local community with three separate parcels that are further away, and in one case, separated by substantial distance and physical barriers.

Also, as noted earlier, the proposed park conversion will leave the community without a park replacement for almost five years, with inadequate mitigation proposed during that period. This is not an appropriate action given that Bronx County is one of the neediest counties in the state in terms of recreational facilities.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Accessibility Guidelines. Section 3 of the SCORP details how ADA guidelines play a role in the development of park and recreational facilities. Specifically, the following goal is stated: “Improve the level of access to parks, historic sites and open space areas to persons with disabilities”.

By locating one of the replacement parcels on the waterfront, where it can only be accessed by a pedestrian bridge that is not compliant with ADA or by a highly circuitous route along high-traffic streets, the proposed park conversion will effectively reduce the level of access for persons with disabilities, not improve it. The DEIS does not adequately address this issue and provide an appropriate level of explanation as to how persons with disabilities will have “improved” access to the replacement parcels – one of which is three-quarters of a mile away from the conversion parcel, separated by several physical barriers. Thus, this park conversion is inconsistent with this part of the SCORP.

Quality of Life. Page 3-102 of the SCORP contains a section on how recreation and open space are “important elements in maintaining and improving the quality of life an area can offer....This is also the case for areas that have maintained the historic integrity of their communities. Property values increase in areas that possess these values.”

By taking the conversion parcel, which is a contiguous parcel directly adjacent or near a large number of residential buildings, and substituting it for three separate parcels, none of which have the qualities of the conversion parcel – and one of which is located a sizable distance away, separated by a number of barriers, it is envisioned that the net quality of life in the immediate area would be reduced by the project, not increased. Furthermore, if the proposal goes forward as envisioned, a new 14-story stadium structure would be constructed immediately adjacent to a number of large apartment buildings which currently have the conversion parcel as a buffer between them and the stadium. This could effectively serve to blight these buildings since they would, under the proposed scenario, have to contend with a large, hulking street-wall across from them, as well as lights, noise and crowds during game times. It is obvious that this could negatively effect property values in these buildings. Since a number of these buildings are New York City Landmarks, if they were to be blighted, and perhaps abandoned, they could not be torn down due to their landmark status, further compounding quality of life issues.

The historic integrity of the local parks will also be destroyed by this action. The conversion parcel lies in the middle of one of the few linear parks of that size in the City, a continuous mall of parks that has been intact for over 100 years. This community was carefully planned around the park. The proposed parkland conversion will destroy that important relationship. This design functions as a “Central Park” for the entire local area. The loss would also take hundreds of large mature trees as well – most of which are older than the surrounding buildings themselves. The proposed conversion will destroy an important public work done by John Mullaly, the namesake of the park and also known as the "father" of Bronx parks. Mullaly, (1835 - 1911) was a pioneer in park development at a critical time in the city’s social and open space history. A visionary, he sought to bring such parks as the conversion parcel to changing neighborhoods as a way to ensure their sustainability for the future and provide an essential quality-of-life service.

Furthermore, the fact that the timing of parkland replacement will mean that the community will need to wait close to five years for use of their parkland facilities will also have a negative net effect on quality of life in the community.


The above analysis makes it clear that the proposed parkland conversion does not meet the criteria as specified under Section 6(f)(3) of the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965 and Title 36, Part 59 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations. Therefore we respectfully request that the Secretary of the Interior deny this proposed parkland conversion action as it would have a highly detrimental effect on the community surrounding Yankee Stadium. LWCF funds were used for Macomb’s Dam Park in the 1980’s for the purpose of providing usable green space to meet the recreational needs of a community that needed it. The proposed parkland conversion threatens to negate that investment by allowing Macomb’s Dam Park to be used by a private entity (the New York Yankees) while the community would be left with inadequate parks that they must wait close to five years to fully receive.

To ensure full compliance, the applicants must first be required to provide a much more in-depth analysis of practical alternatives, including the renovation or reconstruction of the current stadium. This analysis must also include the building on available adjacent property South/West. Doing so would be a desirable alternative in that it would either avoid, or substantially reduce the impacts to the LWCF funded Macombs Dam Park. While it may incur a greater financial cost to the Yankees, that cost has not been detailed in full in the DEIS beyond a statement that it would be a loss of revenue for the Yankees as well as an inconvenience to that organization. It is important to note that this project belongs to the Yankees. Why should they not bear some of the project costs, instead of placing the costs disproportionately on the community through the sacrifice of their parks, increased health risks, and financial hardships? Until these issues are addressed, the parkland conversion should not be allowed to proceed.

In addition, it is imperative that the Yankee Stadium project and the Bronx Terminal Market (BTM) project be re-evaluated as one comprehensive re-development scheme to ensure that all potential stadium re-location alternatives are examined. By considering them as separate projects, a parcel that was discarded by the BTM project was later picked up by the Yankees project for parkland mitigation (the waterfront parcel). This is not an appropriate way to develop parkland – particularly replacement parkland for parkland conversions. Parks are a vital government service. Open space planning and parks planning should be done in response to community input and needs. In this case, as was done in the Robert Moses era, the parks planning is being done using scraps of land that have been discarded by large-scale development projects. Parkland replacement parcels need to have more consideration beyond their mere convenience to commercial developers.

The intent of the LWCF program is clear – to provide parkland for those who need it. However, this project would take away that Federal investment and give it a private organization for a period of almost five years. After the five years are over, the Federal investment will be diminished through a set of replacement park parcels that do not meet the needs of the community as competently as the conversion parcel did. This represents a “win-loss” scenario, which is not compatible with the stewardship goals of the LWCF program.


Literature quoted is from “Understanding the Land and Water Conservation Fund: Stewardship” which can be found at


Friday, January 27, 2006

A historic preservationist's perspective on Yankee Stadium

I firmly disagree with the findings of the Parks Department that Yankee Stadium has no historical value. Yankee Stadium is as iconic in the New York City landscape as the Empire State Building and the Brooklyn Bridge and was constructed with the intention of being “a skyscraper among baseball parks.” It has become an integral part of the collective memory and cultural heritage of New Yorkers and baseball fans worldwide. Our memories of the place enhance its character and meaning.

Yankee Stadium does have some architectural significance, including the exterior wall that still has decorative tile work and cast stone ornamentation. Built in 1923, the Stadium was not only the largest sports arena in the world since the ancient Roman Coliseum; it was the first triple-decked ballpark and the first to be called a “stadium.” Simply put, it began a new era in the history of sports stadia. The Stadium is not outdated. Buildings around the world that are much older than Yankee Stadium are being preserved Fenway Park and Wrigley Field are eleven and nine years older, respectively, and they have been preserved. The Red Sox and Cubs are to Fenway and Wrigley what the Yankees are to Yankee Stadium. What elements of our cultural heritage do we lose if and/or when the Stadium is demolished?

For 83 years, the site at East 161st Street and River Avenue in the Bronx, New York has been home to the New York Yankees, the most successful team in professional sports who have won an unparalleled 26 World Championships and 39 American League pennants. When the Stadium was renovated from 1974-75, a new chapter in the Stadium’s history began. Although the grandstand posts were removed, a revolutionary cantilevered cable system was installed in order to preserve the upper deck’s proximity to the playing field. This structural component has allowed fans in the upper deck to continue to be close to the action, as opposed to more recent ballpark designs (including the proposed new Yankee Stadium) where this section is set back. In addition, Monument Park was created to commemorate exceptional retired Yankee players and to compliment the original monuments honoring manager Miller Huggins and players Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth.

When historic preservationists deem sites significant, we also consider historical and cultural value (they are part of the criteria for a structure to be designated on the National Register of Historic Places). Yankee Stadium has these in abundance. The Stadium was custom built for sports megastar, Babe Ruth, who not only revolutionized the game of baseball, but also christened the new stadium on opening day, 1923 when he hit the first home run there to beat the Boston Red Sox, 4-1. Past generations of fans listened to a dying Lou Gehrig declare himself “the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”

The Stadium has also hosted several boxing fights featuring Joe Louis and Max Schmeling and football games such as the one between Army and Notre Dame, in which Knute Rockne made his famous “win one for the Gipper” pep talk to the Fighting Irish at half-time. The New York football Giants also played at the Stadium from 1956 to 1973. On October 4, 1965, Pope Paul VI was the first pope to visit North America, and he celebrated mass in front of 80,000 people at baseball’s grandest cathedral.

The post-1974-75 Stadium has witnessed many historic events that only enhance the overall significance of the ballpark. The championship teams of the late 1970s and 1990s, including the performances of players such as Don Mattingly and Ron Guidry, have enhanced the Stadium’s importance. In 1979, Pope John Paul II gave mass as part of his tour of the United States. Just four and a half years ago, a memorial for those victims lost on 9/11 was held at the Stadium.

Renovation of the current stadium makes sense. The Red Sox are renovating the much smaller Fenway Park (~35,000 seats compared to Yankee Stadium’s 57,000) during the off-seasons so that the team can still play there. Strip away the light grey paint from the Stadium’s original 1923 limestone exterior wall and one will find the colorful decorative ornament underneath. The elongated arch windows that were meant to resemble cathedral windows will stand out better. Luxury boxes can be accommodated. This was proven possible at Tiger Stadium (built 1912), through an advocacy group’s efforts detailed in the “Cochrane Plan” of the early 1990s. Even during the Tigers’ worst seasons baseball fans included the Detroit park as part of their historic ballpark tour. Similar to current events at Yankee Stadium, however, Tiger management did not understand the true value of their ballpark and decided to build a new one instead.

By staying in the current stadium, the Yankees will provide fans with closer connections to the subway, the ferry, and a potential Metro North station. The new stadium site is much farther away from these points. Eighty-five percent of fans are commuting from Connecticut, New Jersey and the Hudson Valley. If the Metro North station was completed, this would help alleviate auto traffic. In addition, as a lifelong Yankees fan, I am appalled and disappointed in the Yankees’ declaration that a new ballpark will benefit the local South Bronx community. This is not true. With the construction of a new stadium over Macombs Dam and John Mullaly Parks, residents in this densely-built neighborhood will lose twenty-two acres of actively-used parkland. Proposed parkland replacement will be scattered, causing residents (including children) to be disconnected from parkland they desperately need for recreational and health purposes.

Yankee Stadium does not need a plaque or tour guide to tell you that this place is special. Baseball fans and players just know. This historic stadium continues to attract record crowds and tourists who include it as part of their New York City tour. It would be a great cultural loss to the City of New York and, on a more worldwide scale, to the sport of baseball should we lose Yankee Stadium.

-Amanda Davis, Historic Preservation graduate student, Columbia University, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation

Thursday, January 26, 2006

February 2, General Meeting & Guest Speaker too

General Meeting & Guest Speaker

February 2, 2006, Thursday
Hope of Israel Senior Center
840 Gerard Avenue

Daniel Steinberg of Good Jobs New York will speak about the "jobs fallacy" aspect of the Yankee plan.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

1/24/6, Ny1: "New Yankee Stadium throws parks in flux"

New Yankee Stadium Throws Parks In Flux

January 24, 2006

The Yankees will soon be building a new stadium next door to the old one, but the status of city parkland in the borough is still a major concern.

The Yankees want to move the stadium from the south side of 161st Street to the north, dropping it on top of Macombs Dam Park.

The New York City Parks Department says it will replace all the land. It's released designs of the replacement parks, complete with more courts and fields than are currently on the site, but park advocates are leery of the promise and worry about where the parkland will be located.

"We're promised replacement parks, which are really park features. These will be five years down the road once everything else is finished," says Joyce Hogi of Save Our Parks. "What is the community to do? What are the 40 some odd schools in the area who utilize these parks to do for all that time?"

"We'll be creating a new central park across the street from the existing park that is actually larger than what is being displaced by the stadium and the garage at its north end," says Joshua Laird of the Parks Department. "It will have, with the exception of the tennis courts, all of the replacement ball fields, the track, the soccer field, basketball, handball and some new elements, like two playgrounds."

For this deal to move forward, the city planning commission has to vote on the new Yankees Stadium plan in February. If they vote yes, it will go to the full city council.

1/24/6: Ny1: "Bronx residents spar over removal of parkland at new Yankee Stadium site"

Bronx Residents Spar Over Removal Of Parkland At New Yankee Stadium Site

January 24, 2006

The scheduled groundbreaking for a new Yankee stadium is this spring, and as NY1's Dean Meminger explains in the following report, the controversy over the removal of parkland to make way for it is hotter than a seat in the bleachers on a July afternoon.

“This parkland should be free to everybody. [The Yankees] are in New York; they just renovated the stadium," says one New Yorker.

It's a battlefield over the Yankee Stadium field. The Yankees are on track to move from their current home on the south side of 161st Street to the north side, putting a new $800 million stadium in the middle of Macombs Dam and Mulally parks.

“I think it is a waste of money. I think it is,” says a Bronx resident. “Because the people who are coming over here, what’s the difference? Go one more block or a half of block.”

The Yanks say a new stadium and redeveloping the neighborhood will bring jobs to the area. The Parks Department promises to replace the track, softball fields, tennis courts and other facilities that will be uprooted.

Some of the new parkland will go on top of an underground parking garage. And when the current stadium is torn down, softball fields will be put in.

“These parks will be replaced. They’re going to go into construction this year, 2006,” says Parks Department Planning Chief Joshua Laird. “We are funded for it. It is an absolute requirement of the project. The new stadium cannot happen unless the new parks are built as well."

"I want my park, I want my track, I want my things that are here,” says a Bronx resident. “[Even if the city says it will replace those parks], I don't believe them."

And members of NYC Park Advocates and Save Our Parks have the same opinion.

“I don't believe the government should go around enhancing a private corporate entity, especially a corporate entity that’s not only a profit-making entity, but an entity that has all the commercial land it needs south of 161st Street," says Michael Levy Trotter of Save Our Parks.

"The Parks Department does not maintain our parks, and now they want to spend all of this money to replace these parks," said Joyce Hogi, also of Save Our Parks.

Over at the stadium racquet club, players and workers feel like they are in a volley.

“I don't know how long it’s going to take to build, and we tennis players, where will we go?” says one club member. “Where will we go. Will we be off for a year or two?"

“If they build something before they take this stadium down, then it wouldn't be as bad because we would go immediately to the other place and we wouldn't lose our jobs,” says an employee.

And what about all of the jobs promised for the community by having a new stadium?

“If they are going to better this area by building more opportunities for people to have jobs and leave a park in it for people to enjoy, then they have my total support," says one New Yorker.

“I don't see any benefit for anyone in the community,” says another. “Who is going to get the jobs? It is going to be an outsider. It’s not going to people from the community."

Park advocates say they want to make it absolutely clear that they support the Yankees, and that the team should have a new stadium, but they say they can never support that stadium being where the current track is.

- Dean Meminger

A rebuttal to Zimbalist's Op-Ed in the New York Times

According to Zimbalist: "The current plan is different than the one from last spring."

While the current plan is different in some ways from the one shown in the Draft Scope of Work and the DEIS, the fundamentals of the project have not changed - namely, adding 4000 parking spaces to our neighborhood where parks are now located. Also, the proposed stadium is still in the same, ill-chosen location. The only elements that have changed are the locations of the different types of replacement recreational amenities - and the fact that the old stadium will now be completely demolished.

According to Zimbalist: "...the parking lot that will have fields on top is underground and the fields will be at grade."

This is not accurate. Proposed parking garage A will be at grade only at the Macombs Dam Bridge approach - NOT anywhere else. Since nobody lives on a bridge approach, everybody who is going to walk to this park will not approach it from grade level. Rather, the "park" will be elevated, in some places higher than others. NYCDPR has been trying to minimize this through their presentations since they know how upset we are. However, if you look at the renderings carefully, you will see the elevation differences everywhere EXCEPT at the Macombs Dam bridge approach. It is easy to be deceived by their slick presentations.

According to Zimbalist: "...the fields and open space are linked."

This is completely inaccurate, unless you are looking at the parks from an aerial perspective - and even then, perhaps not. First, the proposed stadium will divide up the continuous swath of parkland that we already have, due to the fact that it will be located in the middle and will be 14 stories tall. Second, the waterfront park will be barrier separated by rail tracks from the rest of the community that you will have to walk over a pedestrian bridge (as well as through parking lots surrounded by razor wire fences) to get to. This waterfront park will not be easy to get to since nobody lives near there. Third, since much of the parkland will be grade separated, it's not as "linked" as you imply. What if the elevator is out of service? Or isn't maintained?

The prospect for a new Metro-North platform mentioned by Zimbalist.

It's not part of the project. While the Yankees don't object to it, they are not exactly hustling to get this thing built. In fact, the DEIS states that the goal is to facilitate easier auto trips simply because that's the preferred mode of transportation for Yankees fans. For now, the Yankees have taken it off the table - it is NOT in the proposal.

According to Zimbalist: "...the project will be a major facelift for the area and help gentrify the South Bronx."

The DEIS clearly states that property values would likely decline in the immediate vicinity of the proposed new stadium. How would this help gentrify this neighborhood? If anything gentrifies this neighborhood, it is the fact that real estate values are off-the-charts elsewhere, so more middle class folks start moving in. However, how can you expect buildings to become more valuable when the new stadium location and associated parking will place traffic, crowds and lights directly on the doorsteps of a large number of residential buildings? Look at the plans - the new stadium will be much, much closer to a higher number of residential dwelling units than the current one. The DEIS makes no bones about it - it will cause a decline in quality of life for these unlucky individuals, and thus will cause property values to decrease. Those are the Yankees words, we didn't make that up. If anything, this plan will stop gentrification in our neighborhood.

According to Zimbalist: "Those who want no disruption and the maintenance of the status quo need to think again."

All major investment projects, no matter how positive they may be for a community, disrupt the life of somebody. Undoubtedly, some residents will be made worse off. First of all - we are not saying keep the status quo. Most of us want a revised stadium project as opposed to keeping things the same. We have a right as citizens to ask for a better project. Why are you implying that we should just roll over and play dead and let this thing just move on through? Development should be an iterative process with both project applicants and the community establishing a vision. But the thing is, we were never asked to be a part of that vision. We were handed a project proposal, in near final form, and told "go ahead and react to it". We've been on defense the whole time - and we want a chance to impact the project to make it better. We DON'T want no project at all - just one that will work for all parties involved.

Yankee Scorecard, or the no spin zone

The Developers Claim:
This plan is a good one, because the public will not bear any costs of the new stadium.

The Community Responds:
FieldofSchemes.com reports that the public investment needed to facilitate the development of this “free” stadium is about $450 million.
* $140 million in city funds for replacement parks, et al
* $ 70 million in parking lot construction subsidy
* $ 5 million in state capital reserve funds
* $ 15 million in rent rebates for existing stadium
* $ 55 million in tax exempt bond subsidies
* $ 44 million in Yankees property tax waiver
* $ 22 million on sales-tax breaks on construction materials
* $103 million in forgone stadium rent revenue

The Developers Claim:
The Project will result in huge economic gains for the city.

The Community Responds:
The DEIS and supporting ERA report indicate that total tax benefit of this proposal is approximately $225 million, a net loss of $225 million over 30 years. The Village Voice indicates that the ERA report may be overstating economic benefits and estimates total tax impact to be $150 million, or a loss of $300 million over 30 years.

The Developers Claim:
A New Yankee Stadium will mean thousands and thousands of construction jobs.

The Community Responds:
Construction will yield about 4,500 on site jobs. When construction is over, these jobs will disappear, along with their benefit to the community. The renovation of Fenway Park will actually employ 5,500 construction workers, suggesting that renovating the current structure may be a more effective way to provide temporary construction jobs.

The Developers Claim:
A New Yankee Stadium will mean thousands of good new jobs for Bronx residents.

The Community Reponds:
The DEIS and ERA report indicates that a new stadium would result in only 700 new permanent jobs, most of which would be part-time, low-wage, seasonal jobs. The Croton Facility Monitoring Committee reports that more than half the construction jobs there use labor originating outside of New York City, and 75% of labor originates from outside the Bronx. So perhaps 1,100 temporary construction jobs may go to Bronx residents

The Developers Claim:
A New Yankee Stadium would drive up attendance with new fans bringing new dollars to the area.

The Community Responds:
Yankees home attendance was 4.09 million in 2005, an American League record. In order to bring in the proposed 600,000 new fans indicated in the EIS, the new facility would have to draw 4.7 million people, an average of 58,000 per game. This is impossible in a stadium seating 53,000.

The Developers Claim:
A new Yankee Stadium would be a tourist attraction, including a 300 seat restaurant and Hall of Fame.

The Community Responds:
The existing Yankee Stadium is a tourist attraction and features year round tours and gift shop.
A 300 seat restaurant is the equivalent of an Appleby’s and would serve locals more than tourists.

The Developers Claim:
A Hall of Fame may attract new tourists.

The Community Responds:
A Hall of Fame can be developed now, independent of the new Stadium.

The Developers Claim:
A New Yankee Stadium will bring in new fans and new business, turning this part of the Bronx into a year-round destination.

The Community Responds:
The current facility drew 4.09 million fans in 2005, the highest attendance in American League history. Any significant increase over this attendance in a new stadium is highly unlikely. A new stadium will actually capture existing business with new interior concession space, diverting business from existing local merchants. Baseball stadia rarely have activity more than 100 times a year, and do not bring growth or year round activity to an area.

The Developers Claim:
A New Yankee Stadium will result in new and additional park space.

The Community Responds:
The Parks Department is preparing to spend $110 million to create new parks, when it might only cost $25 million to renovate existing Parks, an overspending of $85 million. Additional park space is contained entirely along the riverfront and can be developed now, independently of the stadium project. Developing the waterfront parcel as park space and renovating existing park space results in a net gain of park space one-half acre greater than that proposed by the Parks Department.

The Developers Claim:
A New Yankee Stadium would result in “Central Park” for this part of the Bronx.

The Community Responds:
This part of the Bronx already has a “Central Park” which would be destroyed to facilitate this project. Park improvements are a primary function of government and should not be tied to a project like this.

The Developers Claim:
The Yankees will help maintain new parks.

The Community Responds:
The Yankees can help maintain existing parks, right now.

The Developers Claim:
Renovation Yankee Stadium would be more expensive than building a new stadium.

The Community Responds:
Fenway Park (1912) is being renovated for $200 million. Angels Stadium (1966) was renovated for about $100 million. The previous Borough President proposed a renovation plan that would cost $189 million ($225 million in current dollars)

The Developers Claim:
Yankee Stadium is too old.

The Community Responds:
Yankee Stadium was completely renovated to “state of the art” status in 1976. On that basis it is younger than the recently renovated Angels Stadium (1966) and the soon to be renovated Dodger Stadium (1962) .

The Developers Claim:
Yankee Stadium is falling apart.

The Community Responds:
In 1998, City Buildings Commissioner Gaston Silva stated, “From a structural perspective, there's no reason why Yankee Stadium can't be around for another 75 years if it's maintained properly”.

The Developers Claim:
Yankee Stadium does not have the amenities to produce the revenues of a modern baseball facility.

The Community Responds:
In 2005, Yankee Stadium generated an estimated $110 million in ticket sales and $70 million in concessions sales or $180 million, more than the player payroll of any other team, except the New York Yankees. This does not include luxury box revenues, stadium advertising or other stadium revenues, or new revenue streams such as name rights, new advertising space or additional luxury boxes. This is $60 million more than the player payroll of the team with the next highest player payroll, the Boston Red Sox.

The Developers Claim:
Yankee Stadium would have to expand onto Ruppert Place, 157th Street and River Avenue if fully reconstructed.

The Community Responds:
All non-game day uses can be removed from Yankee Stadium and located across River Avenue in existing retail space, or new in space constructed across 157th Street or Ruppert Place. New space constructed across West 157th Street or Rupert Place would create new ballpark precinct like that found in Baltimore and San Diego. Offices/kitchens/storage space can be linked to Loge/Luxury Box level by ornamental bridges over Ruppert Place or 157th Street enhancing the urban design of new ballpark precinct.

The Developers Claim:
The politicians all support this plan.

The Community Responds:
The politicians never consulted their constituents and are forging on a head in conflict with their constituents’ wishes. Approval of parkland alienation was based on quid pro quo in the State Assembly Speaker’s District, not needs of Bronx host community.

The Developers Claim:
Much of this plan was proposed by the Borough President, an Urban Planner.

The Community Responds:
Neither the Borough President nor the Chief Planner of the Parks Department are accredited Urban Planners.
* It makes no sense from an urban planning perspective to move a noxious use adjacent to a residential district.
* It makes no sense from an urban planning perspective to move a complimentary use, like a stadium, further from a proposed shopping center and transit connection.
* It makes no sense from a resource allocation perspective to spend $110 million to replicate existing facilities.

The Developers Claim:
This plan would facilitate the development of new amenities such as a health club, skating rink,high school, hotel and Metro North station.

The Community Responds:
None of these amenities are part of this plan. The EDC, the Board of Education and Metro North have not indicated any interest in proposing or funding these amenities. These amenities are all separate from this plan and can be completed at any time, independent of this plan.

The Developers Claim:
The Yankees may move elsewhere if they do not get a new stadium.

The Community Responds:
The Yankees have no place else to go. The West Side Yards are being developed by the MTA, and the Department of City Planning determined that traffic in that location is too big a concern. Access to New Jersey is determined by the New Jersey Turnpike, one of the more congested roadways in the nation. The Devils and Nets, which have had championship, or near championship season are seeking to leave the Meadowlands for more transit friendly locales in Brooklyn and Newark. New Jersey taxpayers will not support subsidies to bring the Yankees to New Jersey. The New Jersey Transportantion Fund is broke and will not be able to pay for infrastructure providing roadway access to a new stadium. The current location is accessible by two subway lines, multiple bus lines, foot, bike, the Major Deegan and the Bruckner. The current location is more easily accessible to fan base in Westchester, Connecticut and Long Island than one in New Jersey

Monday, January 23, 2006

Field of Schemes' take on Zimbalist

Click the title to be taken to Field of Schemes and read what they have to say. But here is a taste:

"It's puzzling to say the least why Zimbalist continues to stump for the Yankees project (the first e-mail I got alerting me to his op-ed was titled "Who's paying off Andy now?"), and equally baffling why the Times turned over some of the world's most exclusive op-ed page real estate to shoddy work like this. Maybe the Robert Woods Chair in Economics comes with a "Get Out of Factchecking Free" card."

Zimbalist now sings a different tune. Why?

We are sure all of you have read Mr. Zimbalist's "endorsement" of the new Yankee Stadium project.

This is the same Mr. Zimbalist who:

* in a 1997 study conducted by he and Roger Noll of Stanford found "no recent facility appears to have earned anything approaching a reasonable return investment."

* on a PBS Newshour on December, 22, 2004 revealed: "Practically every stadium that's come on stream in the last 20 years in the United States has been accompanied by a consulting report - these are hired-out consulting companies- that are working for the promoters of the stadium. They engage in a very, very dubious methodology. They make unrealistic asumptions and they can produce whatever result they want to produce. But the notion that you're rejuvenating the waterfront because you put a baseball stadium there frankly is silly. Yes, there's a quality of life that you're gaining but the idea...look, a baseball stadium is going to be used eighty to ninety days a year. And it's used for four hours a day when it is used. And those four hours have tens of thousands of people inside the stadium. They're not milling around on the streets buying shirts and hot dogs. They're inside spending money on concessions that are managed by the owner of the baseball team, whoever that may be. That doesn't promote development in the area. The greatest icon of the stadium in the United States is Yankee Stadium in the Bronx in New York. Go up there. Take a look at the development that should have been spawned according to these studies."

These are Mr. Zimbalist's words; not ours. Click the title above to see for yourself!

An open letter to the New York Times' ombudsman

January 22, 2006

Dear Mr. Calame,

I am writing to complain about the paper’s coverage of the Yankee Stadium issue and in particular about the op-ed piece by Andrew Zimbalist that ran today.

As I am sure you are aware, the Yankee Stadium proposal is a project that will require hundreds of millions of dollars of public input to come to fruition. As such, the project itself and the claims of its backers should be carefully scrutinized. Unfortunately, the Times has been mostly uninterested in the progress of this plan as it moves through the public review process and has failed to cast a skeptical eye on claims made by anyone from either side. Instead, it has been left to individuals like Mr. Zimbalist, a relatively famous and “sexy” economist to make pronouncements without rebuttal.

But there are numerous issues with this proposal that the Times should be looking into. For one, the alienation of the 22 acres of park land, a process which normally takes between 6 months and a year, took only three weeks in this case. In fact, the legislation was passed with almost no discussion on a day when hundreds of other bills were passed. The public was never consulted on this decision or advised of its impending passage. So when the politicians congratulated themselves for coming up with a plan that had no opposition it was simply because the public didn’t know, with the possible exception of a select group of pre-approved political supporters. It may interest the Times to know that the Borough President is now going through a similar process, working with a pre-selected group of supporters in drafting a Community Benefits Agreement.

Other issues include the fact that the proposal actually seems to result in a net loss for the city. Currently, the city makes a profit off the stadium rental agreement. According to information from the Parks Department’s public affairs office, between 2000 and 2004, the net revenue (not the gross) from the stadium lease, after deduction of maintenance and planning costs was $26.4 million. But under the proposed deal, the city would not receive any rent. The ERA report commissioned to provide economic rationale for the project indicates that over the next 30 years, the city would reap $96 million in taxes from the proposed project…which is not enough to cover the city’s $135 million investment to create new and replacement parks and demolish the existing stadium. Furthermore, according to information from the Parks Department’s own website, restoration costs for park space range between $500,000 and $1 million per acre. On this basis, it would only cost $22 million to renovate the existing park space in the Yankee Stadium neighborhood (and cost $4.5 million to develop the new park space on the waterfront, a figure from the ESDC press release concerning the new stadium). Thus, renovation of the existing park space would result in a potential cost savings of almost $110 million. Why these points have not been brought up by the Times is beyond me; it seems that this is exactly the kind of information that breeds informative discussion of a project as controversial as this one.

Then there is the issue with Mr. Zimbalist himself and his op-ed piece. Shortly after the Yankees proposed this project, the Times ran an editorial in the City Section of the Sunday Times praising the project, despite the fact that details had not yet come to light. It is odd then, that the Times would ask for (or accept) a piece supporting its own editorial position, which I believe is one of the functions of the Op-Ed page. If I could provide a journalist to take the countering view, would the times provide op-ed space for that person? And what’s worse is that in this piece, Mr. Zimbalist gets a number of his facts wrong or makes misleading points. Although he indicates that the state would be reimbursed for it’s $70 million investment with parking fees, this is not the case. He states that Yankee Stadium is not sound, but in 1998 Buildings Commissioner Gaston Silva indicated that the stadium should last another 75 years with proper maintenance. Zimbalist states that the city pays $10 million a year in maintenance on Yankee Stadium, but does not mention that the city currently makes a profit on the rental agreement, and that the city would not receive rent from the new facility. He notes that the Yankees will pay all cost overruns on the stadium, when they are already responsible for building the stadium. He also mentions that the net cost of the project will be lowered by the ability to sell of seats from the existing stadium as memorabilia. Ugh. If there was ever a point that doesn’t help sell an argument, it’s that one.

Furthermore, Mr. Zimbalist’s position has begun to swing away from his hard line against these types of developments. As you may recall, he accepted a commission evaluating Forest City Ratner’s proposed Atlantic Yards project, and not surprisingly, praised it for being different from other stadium developments and a boon to the city because of its composition and location. He now has a vested interest in supporting some of these projects, especially the ones in New York City. So while he has appeared as the dispassionate voice of reason in the past, he is clearly moving away from that position.

In closing, I could not be more disappointed in the Times’ coverage of this issue. While I do not necessarily expect the Times to support or validate my own view, I do expect the Times to take the time and effort to explore the issue. But there has been very little exploration of the issue since the time that the Yankees made their announcement and everyone unanimously pronounced the project as good. There are whole depths to this story that have not been adequately covered, and the city and the decision makers who read this paper are all the poorer for it.


David Gratt
Friends of Yankee Stadium

(click the title to read the Op-Ed at the Times' website.)

Thursday, January 19, 2006

January '06, Gotham Gazette: "Yankee Stadium Without Tears"

Yankee Stadium Without Tears
by Tom Angotti
January, 2006

The City Planning Commission recently spent a whole day listening to testimony on the proposal by the Yankees to build a new stadium in the Bronx. Neighborhood residents came out in droves and the construction unions sent their troops. After a flat no vote by Bronx Community Board 4, a conditional approval by Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, and an upsurge of protest by parks advocates, it remains to be seen whether the Yankee project will meet the fate of the failed Jets stadium in Manhattan that went down to defeat last year. The City Planning Commission will soon cast its vote.

While city planners give the impression they are neutral guardians of the public interest, when it comes to sports stadiums emotions always seem to befog the faculty of reason. Stadium plans bring out the fans and their rivals. Team owners appeal to home-town boosters, and elected officials wear the team T-shirts to prove their loyalty. After the cheering is over, however, planners have to do what they are charged to do by the city charter: look at the costs and benefits, and what makes sense for the health and welfare of city residents.

The Dodgers Are Dead
In the interests of full disclosure, I confess that I’m not just a dispassionate planner. I grew up a Brooklyn Dodgers fan. This branded me for life as an advocate for the underdog and may explain why I wound up specializing in community-based planning. I will never forget the elated feeling when my dad took me to see Peewee Reese and Roy Campanella play in a stadium only a short trolley ride from our apartment.

On the other hand, I’m not at all nostalgic for the Dodgers. They’re gone and will never come back, neither as a minor league team or a basketball franchise. Jackie Robinson Houses now provides needed housing where Ebbets Field used to stand, and so be it. I may never come around to really liking the rich man’s team from the Bronx, but in today’s baseball world is there any team that isn’t managed by and for the pin-striped suits?

Fine. No nostalgia for the Dodgers and no more Yankees-bashing. Now I can just think like a city planner and judge the Yankee proposal in terms of 21st century New York and its needs. The main criterion for judging the proposal should be how it meets the city’s needs for sports and recreation, which are essential elements of public health. Too often planners look at stadiums as commercial facilities and job generators, and fail to connect stadium planning with planning for parks and recreation.

The Yankees and the Parks
To start with, there seem to be some good things about the stadium plan. While the Yankees will take 22 acres of parkland, they and the city will replace it with 28 acres, including several spanking-new ball fields. Their designs make at least some connections with the surrounding neighborhoods, which long have been neglected by Yankee management, and the Yankees are throwing some of their super-profits back into the neighborhoods.

On the other hand, the parks seem to do more for the Yankees than they do for Yankee fans living in the Bronx. Charles V. Bagli and Timothy Williams recently raised these questions in their New York Times article.

New York is buffeted by epidemics of diabetes, obesity and childhood asthma as opportunities have shrunk for kids to play in parks and on streets and sidewalks. As the population grows and new housing gets built, the city has no plans to add significant public spaces and parks. Instead, as the Parks Department budget is continually gutted, commercial uses are welcomed into parks to help pay for maintenance. New “open spaces” are more often private, decorative malls than active places for public gathering. For example, the proposed Brooklyn Bridge Park is now becoming a commercial and residential waterfront enclave. The Jets were encouraged to build a stadium in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. And the alternative locations considered by the Yankees were both in Bronx parks: Van Cortlandt Park and Pelham Bay Park.

In the Bronx, the big parks tend to be in the north, while the largest concentrations of population and chronic asthma and obesity are in the south. City schools have ridiculously few facilities for sports and recreation. Too many New Yorkers find their only relationship to sports is sitting in front of a TV instead of going out for a pick-up game at a local park. Professional sports don’t help, but rather encourage more passive, immobile (albeit noisy) spectators. Ball parks serve high-priced junk food. But when I was a kid I could watch Duke Snyder hammer a home run out onto Bedford Avenue and also play stickball on streets that weren’t flooded with cars.

Oops, I’m lapsing into nostalgia!

Back to planning, the real question is how much will the new Bronx park space encourage active recreation (that actually burns calories) by the people who need it? It’s not just having the open space but making sure it’s accessible and programmed for the people who need it. The old parks are intensively utilized for a variety of active and passive recreational activities and there’s certainly need for improvement. But the new parks seem to be largely for organized team sports serving young athletes, mostly male, from throughout the city and region, leaving the local kids to fend for themselves. For the locals, some of the new parks are going to be hard to get to. One is to be on a waterfront cut off by an expressway. The two proposed rooftop parks could pose access problems.

Another health issue has to do with parking. The Yankees propose 4,500 additional parking spaces. This will lead more people to drive to games and fewer will take mass transit. Since the stadium is surrounded by neighborhoods that have some of the highest childhood asthma rates in the city, shouldn’t dependence on auto use be decreasing? And where is the bicycle network?

Stadium Jobs, Public Subsidies and “Faith-Based Economics”
What about the new jobs that will be created? Here the discussion seems always to go back into the emotional realm. In his recent book, “Job Scam,” Greg LeRoy summed up the results of just about every economic study on stadium economics: “The projections made by team owners and their paid consultants in support of stadium subsidies are little more than vague or arbitrary promises about job creation and economic stimulus. These cost-benefit analyses rest on faith-based economics: proponents ask the public, in essence, to believe that the subsidies will pay off.”

Much has been said about the more than $200,000 million of city and state subsidies backing the Yankee plan, but I’ve not seen any projection of the long-term costs to the city of housing the team. The Yankees will pay no rent, property taxes or taxes on construction. How many billions of dollars of lost revenue will that add up to over a 40-year period? Will Yankee charity and the minimal spinoff for local businesses make up the difference?

Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion wants a written Community Benefits Agreement to seal the deal for local jobs. This is a bit late in the game, and if it does happen, once the construction is done the Bronx may be left with not much more than a handful of seasonal low-paying service jobs, maybe even less than the present level.

No matter. You gotta believe!

Tom Angotti is Professor of Urban Affairs and Planning at Hunter College, City University of NY, editor of Progressive Planning Magazine, and a member of the Task Force on Community-based Planning.

"Yankee Plan Destroys Parks" OpEd in Norwood News

The following is a reprint of the Letter to the Editor in the Norwood News dated January 12-25, 2006:

Yankee Plan Destroys Parks

At some point, Yankee management decided that the cheapest and easiest way to fix up their stadium was to build a new one on the site of 2 community parks: Macomb's Dam & John Mullaly in the Highbridge community of the south Bronx. Their objective is to raise more revenue. The highly negative effects this project would have on the host community played little, if any, role in their calculations. Elected officials and the media, however, who are expected to put the needs of communities first, to protect democratic principles, and who decry public apathy, blatantly discarded their obligations in a shameful parade of pandering to the "Billionaires' Club”!

First in line to genuflect to Yankee management was the Bloomberg Administration. They signed on as advocates of the project which means that all city agencies and their employees have to support not a public works project, but one that will ultimately augment revenue for a private conglomerate! As the project goes in front of the Department of City Planning, it features the spectacle of city employees judging a project backed by their city employers! Who will put their job on the line? Should city planners be placed in such a position? Needless to say, the community's right to a fair and impartial hearing is severely if not fatally compromised.

Forgetting that community parks are vital to children, the elderly and the disabled, especially in a neighborhood where few can afford to go elsewhere, state legislators in an ostentatious display of obsequious behavior, casually and with no dissent, voted to give the parks to the Yankees.

They must have suspected that the community would object and solved this complication by what amounts to a secret vote. There was no meaningful outreach, the impending vote was not announced, and no testimony from the community was taken!

Even though the community won the vote of Bronx Community Board 4, the next parade marcher, Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión, also manifested obeisance.

Aware of the extreme opposition of the community to the project, Carrión locked the doors to a public hearing on Dec. 12 and kept approximately 150 community residents on the street in sub-freezing temperatures, thus preventing people from exercising their right of free speech in an open meeting.

Absolutely shocking is the final marcher in the parade of pandering: the major television and print news media (Gary Axelbank's BronxTalk, the Bronx News, a couple of local papers and AM-NY excepted). They have imposed a virtual blackout on reporting community opposition. They have hardly reported -never mind condemned- the massive violation of democratic rights that the Highbridge community has endured.

These events are a clarion call to all community organizations in all five boroughs to obliterate their self-imposed borough and community boundaries and to unite so that such a flagrant violation of democratic principles and community rights which is taking place in the south Bronx, never happens again there or anywhere else in the city. All communities must realize that precedents which will affect them are being set: if the Yankees takes the Highbridge community parks, their community park will be next to fall to private developers; if the politicians and the media permit democratic rights to be trampled in Highbridge, their rights will be pulverized in the future. All communities must realize that their member of the City Council will vote on the project.

This is our city, it belongs to the hardworking citizens who obey the law and pay the taxes. We cannot allow our lives, our communities to be torn asunder and destroyed for the revenue benefit of billionaires who are increasingly turning the city into a playground for their own benefit. We cannot allow politicians to violate democratic rights and have the media help them to get away with it. We and only we, the concerned citizens of New York City, can stop this dangerous trend, reaffirm democratic rights and restore respect for communities all over New York City. Save Our Parks (SaveBronxParks@yahoogroups.com) asks all NYC communities to condemn the new Yankee Stadium proposal and to stand with us in the City Council!

John Rozankowski, Ph.D.

The writer is a North Fordham resident and member of Save Our Parks and The Ravens: Friends of Poe Park.