clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Battle for the Bronx

Sandwiched in between Jerome Ave. and the Grand Concourse lies one of the few strips of green in the South Bronx. This five block by one block patch stands in the shadows of 'The House that Ruth Built'. If the Yankees and the city has their way, the New Yankee Stadium will be built on top of McCombs Dam and Mullaly parks. When Steinbrenner unveiled his plans for a glorius new ballpark he thought it would be an easy ride. Never did he expect such an outcry from the locals. A city council meeting was so overwhelmed with oppositon that it had to be extended and rescheduled to accomadate all those who want to voice their opinions.

The plan for an $800 million stadium has drawn intense opposition from Bronx residents who say it will take away essential parkland in an area with high rates of asthma. Opponents say that replacement parks that the city would build for more than $100 million would be too scattered. They also say that proposed artificial turf fields built atop parking garages will be inadequate.

Some opponents have advocated that the Yankees build a new ballpark at team's current location and play at Shea Stadium during construction, as they did in the mid-1970s when the Bronx stadium was renovated. But the mayor called that idea impratical yesterday.
Sensing the potentially tough fight ahead, and knowing the past bad blood between him and the residents of the Bronx, Steinbrenner drafted a heavy hitter to help him with his pitch: Reggie Jackson. He did his best to placate those with concerns and sell this enormous project.

"The Yankees weren't always a good partner in the Bronx," admitted Jackson, who said community members now had a chance to "create a new template" to "get what you want" and "share in the revenue."

Jackson claimed George Steinbrenner was now trying to make amends. "There is some embarrassment in the Yankees," he said. "The Steinbrenner family has financial wherewithal to make things happen. I see an opportunity now to get engaged, and to ask the Yankees to help you."
When all is said and done, no matter what the protesters say, or do, this Stadium is being built. The infusion of cash and job creation won't be able to turn the tide to save what basically has become an overflow parking lot. As a kid I was lucky, my dad being a fireman, we were able to drive right into the rock star parking and bypass the whole mess. They just lifted the police blockades and let us through. Most people had to either MTA it or squeeze into whatever lot they could find.

Leaving the area is a disater as well, and Yankee management hope that this new setup will actually make the area a place to stay and enjoy oneself after...and before the games; a Disney-fication of the South Bronx if you will. Having experienced first hand the rebirth of Times Square and now Hollywood, I have to tell you I don't pine for the days of the seedy porn frenzy of the old 42nd Street or the crack-ho populated Hollywood Boulevard (although it isn't completely cleaned up yet).

Hopefully a deal can be worked out to where a solid block of park can be built. Mullaly and McCombs Dam did add character to the landscape dominated by a giant courthouse, and The Stadium, but not enough to warrant playing at Shea Stadium for a year. I understand the asthma thing, but grass and trees set off my allergies, which gave me asthma. In the end Yankee Stadium 2 "The House That George Built" will revitalize and area that needs it. It will give jobs to those who want it, and be the crown jewel of MLB stadiums...and unfortunatley McCombs and Mullaly might be unfortunate sacrifices to progress.