Thursday, August 27, 2009

"Broken Promises At Yankee Stadium" BronxTalk with Gary Axelbank 8/24/9

This week, BronxTalk featured an expose about the broken promises that were made in the building of the new Yankee Stadium. Two representatives from the 4DSbx coalition spoke with host Gary Axelbank about the stipulations in the Community Benefits Agreement that have not been followed. There was also a presentation about how the original plans for parking garages have not been followed.

Click the title above to watch the segment over at Bronx News Network.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"Macombs Park Turf Too Hot For Them To Handle! Critics Thermometer Hits 150 Degrees" NY Daily News 8/8/9

Click the title above to read the article at the Daily News site. It includes an admission by Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe that this is a problem, which is a switch from downplaying the issue which seems to have been Parks policy up to this point.

"Yankee Stadium Death Watch: Day 331" Village Voice 8/17/9

Yankee Stadium Death Watch: Day 331
By Neil deMause in Baseball, Bricks and Mortar, Featured, Politics, Stadium DevelopmentMonday, Aug. 17 2009 @ 1:34PM

​As anyone who's been to a game at Fake Yankee Stadium lately can attest, the old home of the Bronx Bombers across the street remains relatively intact, nearly a year after its final game. The last of the seats were sliced out in early June (taking care to preserve them for sale to any collectors willing to cough up $750 apiece), and demolition scaffolding went up later that month. Since then, though, all has been mostly quiet: Despite reports that the centerfield "black" seats would be carted off to Reggie Jackson's estate by now, they were still intact as of Friday, as were the foul poles; even the bat-shaped weathervane atop the flagpole is still in operation.

The seemingly placid state of affairs has led to some angry protests by neighborhood residents impatient for the new ballfields that are slated to replace the House That Ruth Built once the wrecking ball has finally finished its work. The latest came yesterday, when the newly organized For The South Bronx Coalition marched around the stadium (note: Español required, or at least Google Translate) to call for speedier demolition, among other promises they say the Yanks have broken.

"Shea Stadium was demolished in a couple of months, while Yankee Stadium is going to take a year and a half because they're selling it off brick by brick by brick," says coalition leader Ramon Jimenez.

While one new temporary park, atop a Yankees parking garage, opened this spring, another that had opened in 2007 north of the Macombs Dam Bridge approach was razed recently to prepare for construction of yet another garage. And according to Jimenez, the artificial surface at the garage-top park has proven less than ideal: "The kids start to play football there, and the temperatures reach 150 degrees."

David Lombino, a spokesperson for the NYC Economic Development Corporation, which is overseeing the demolition of the old stadium, says everything is proceeding according to schedule, with the grandstand to be completely razed by next June, and the new parks opening sometime in 2011. Current work is focused on "soft demolition," he says, such as removal of sheetrock and drop ceilings, with major demolition work starting "within two months" — conveniently or not, just in time to avoid forcing fans to walk by a half-gutted ballpark on their way to postseason games. (As for the report that work was being delayed so that Robby Benson can shoot a movie about Lou Gehrig, Thurman Munson, and a magic storeroom, Lombino says the filming has had no effect on the schedule.)

Jimenez, however, insists that according to his source within the Yankees organization, the slow pace has another cause: "The main thing is they're figuring out how to sell every little part in it."

The other demands put forward by the For The South Bronx Coalition include that the Yankees release figures showing whether the team has employed local residents as promised in the Community Benefits Agreement it signed in 2006; and the replacement of the scandal-plagued chief of the Yanks' community benefits fund, which the coalition claims has distributed only about $600,000 of the promised $2.4 million in community aid, much of it in other parts of the Bronx.

"Where I live, my community's not inconvenienced by the new stadium," says Jimenez, a Throgs Neck resident who runs a law office on 149th Street in the South Bronx. "I went to the last grant ceremony, and the Throgs Neck Little Leagues would get $7,500; the few South Bronx Little Leagues they got $1,000 or $1,500. The discrepancy was amazing."

Meanwhile, the push is on from another group of Yankee fans and historic preservationists to preserve Gate 2, the section of the original stadium that survived the 1970s renovations the most intact. While they have Bronx borough historian Lloyd Ultan on their side ("If you go to Rome, you can get some idea of what the Forum was like from the ruins"), the Parks Department insists there are "no current plans" to preserve the gate, something EDC has estimated would cost $10 million. And Jimenez says he wouldn't want to delaying the parks still further just to retain a symbolic piece of the old stadium: "We don't think it has that great significance." At least, not compared to a ballfield that won't cause second-degree burns.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Protest at Yankee Stadium

Bronx News Network has a report, with slide show, of a protest at Yankee Stadium. Click the title above to be taken to their site.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

"Yanks Don't Need to Give More Stadium Documents" NY Times 7/31/9

Yanks Don’t Need to Give More Stadium Documents

Published: July 31, 2009

An Albany judge has quashed a subpoena demanding that the Yankees provide two Assembly committees with far more documents about the financing of the new Yankee Stadium than the team has provided.

The subpoena was a central part of the contentious exchanges between Assemblyman Richard L. Brodsky and Randy Levine, the Yankees’ president, over more than $1 billion in city-issued, tax-exempt financing for the stadium, and new jobs creation, ticket prices and the appraised value of the stadium’s real estate.

State Supreme Court Justice John C. Egan Jr. rejected the Yankees’ argument that Brodsky lacked the legislative authority to issue the subpoena. But in an opinion dated Wednesday, he wrote, “I do believe the Yankees have made a good-faith effort to comply with the subpoena, culling through and producing a great deal of documents for inspection by the Corporations Committee,” which Brodsky chairs.

Egan called it “unreasonable” for the Yankees to go through more than 2,000 boxes of documents and more than one million e-mails to comply with the “overly broad” subpoena.

“Subpoenas should not be used as fishing expeditions,” he wrote. He added that the more appropriate target of Brodsky’s investigation into public financing of stadiums for privately-owned businesses like the Yankees should be the city and not the team.

Jonathan D. Schiller, of Boies, Schiller & Flexner, who represented the Yankees, said: “Brodsky lost big time. His subpoena was quashed after an evidentiary hearing.”

“It would have been better had we gotten the documents,” Brodsky said from Montana.