Wednesday, August 16, 2006

"Groundbreaking Ceremony For New Yankee Stadium Could Mean End Of Era" NY1 8/16/6

Groundbreaking Ceremony For New Yankee Stadium Could Mean End Of Era

August 16, 2006

The New York Yankees are set to celebrate a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday for their new ballpark after playing in their current home since 1923.

Governor George Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg are among those expected to be there.

The stadium will be built at Macombs Dam Park, right across the street from the current stadium. The city and state will kick in more than $200 million for recreational facilities and improved infrastructure. The Yankees will pay the rest, financed through taxable and tax-exempt bonds.

However, the plan has met with some opposition from residents and parks advocates who tried to get a temporary restraining order. But a State Supreme Court judge ruled Tuesday the team was never required to consider practical alternatives to the taking of parkland.

Parts of the park will be closed during construction, including the running track and tennis courts.

"It's a tremendous loss for the community and there is so many of us that work in the area that live in the area that have been using this track for years and years and years," said one area reasident. "And we knew this day was coming and I came out here today and I'm just devastated."

"Yeah, I'll miss it," added another. "There should be some place where they compensate the people who live in the neighborhood, you know?"

The new stadium will have the same dimensions as the current one. It will have fewer seats, but more luxury boxes. The design also borrows some features from the current stadium. It's scheduled to open in time for the 2009 season.

Without a doubt, Yankee Stadium is one the most historic places in New York. It was built on ten acres of Bronx farmland, purchased for $675,000 in 1921 and opening in 1923. It has played host to the most World Series – 37.

In addition to the Yankees, the Giants called the Stadium home until the early ‘70s, playing in the famed '58 championship game there against the Colts.

The old Stadium also hosted a number of other events, ncluding the Joe Louis/Max Schmeling rematch in front of 70,000 fans in 1938. It was closed following the '73 baseball season for a city-funded renovation, reopening in '76 just as the Yanks had once-again become one of the top teams in baseball.

For many fans, the Stadium is hallowed ground, but with the groundbreaking on the new site Wednesday, its days are numbered.


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