Daily News reporter and frequent critic of YS3 Juan Gonzalez asks a question that many of us have been wondering, why is the old Yankee Stadium taking so long to come down and where are all the promised ballfields in the surrounding areas? He writes:
Three and a half years after Mayor Bloomberg closed huge portions of Mullaly and Macombs Dam parks to make way for the Yankees new $1.5 billion stadium, the replacement ballfields the city promised are nowhere to be seen.
It has been nearly 18 months since the last game was played in the old stadium. Yet its concrete hulk still looms like a gray ghost across the street from the Yankees new palace.
Shea Stadium, in case anyone has forgotten, came tumbling down in fewer than eight months. It was leveled quickly because the Mets needed the land for parking.
But when it comes to the old Yankee Stadium, the demolition crews have taken their sweet time. Until the old stadium is razed, the city can’t even begin construction of Heritage Field, a complex of three replacement ballfields for the community.
No one in authority seems to care about this huge delay. Not the bureaucrats in City Hall. Not the Parks Department. Not the Yankees. Not the local politicians.
A few things here. Comparing Shea Stadium and the old Yankee Stadium is apples and oranges. Shea was located on the edge of Flushing Meadows Corona Park and the only populated area nearby was the favela of local Auto Parts shops a few hundred feet away on the eastern side of the building. The old Yankee Stadium, however, is surrounded by a residential neighborhood. In New York City, old buildings have to be dismantled piece by piece by law. It’s too densely populated and there’s too much danger in taking a wrecking ball to an aging facility, many of which often contain asbestos, lead paint and other environmental hazards. Because Shea was surrounded by parkland, they were able to pull down huge sections of the building on weekends when the local auto shops were closed. That’s not possible in the Bronx neighborhood where old Yankee Stadium is located. It’s going to be a much slower, painstaking process.
That being said, the article goes on to quote an official saying that the old building should be completely down by June of this year. With the complexities of dealing with New York City, construction delays shouldn’t surprise anyone. It would be a PR nightmare if the Yanks were to re neg on their promise to build a new ballpark where the old facility is located, and a huge blight on their brand. I have no doubt that facility will be built, but anyone familiar with the local laws should understand it wasn’t going to happen overnight.
(pic courtesy of NJ.com)
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