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SubwayGuy

ALL of the old Yankee stadium will be GONE - unless these guys have a say - help 'em!

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Where all my Yankee fans?

 

Fans desperate to save old Yankee Stadium's Gate 2 before demolition crew arrives

by Steve Politi/The Star-Ledger

Saturday May 23, 2009, 6:37 PM

 

NEW YORK -- She still looms across the street from her replacement like a reassuring old friend. But not for long.

 

The blue plywood construction walls are going up, and once they are in place, the original Yankee Stadium will begin to come down. The process will take months, and few of the fans streaming into the new ballpark realize what will remain of the old one when the demolition teams are done.

 

Nothing.

 

Not one foul pole. Not one bleacher seat. Yankee Stadium is about to become a ghost under the current plan, but before it does, several concerned fans are fighting to preserve something.

 

They want to save Gate 2, the most complete piece of the pre-renovated stadium that still exists, and turn it into an entrance to the parks and ballfields that will soon occupy the land.

 

Gate 2 would become a monument to the old ballpark, a spot where sentimental Yankee fans can take their grandchildren and tell them about seeing Reggie Jackson hit three home runs in a World Series game or Mickey Mantle run down a fly ball in center field.

 

It is a plan that makes too much sense to fail, because if it does, the city will lose one of its most famous landmarks. If it does, we'll only be left with photos, videos and memories.

 

"There is a perception out there that a lot of the old stadium is going to be saved," said Mark Costello, a Long Island resident who is spearheading the effort. "Well, that's not the plan anymore.

 

"Maybe it's too late. But maybe it's not."

 

No city has a greater baseball history than New York. And no city has done less to preserve it.

 

Ebbets Field was razed in 1960, with only a plaque marking where the Dodgers' old home once stood. The Polo Grounds came down four years later, and again, just a plaque remains. Even poor old Shea Stadium, with all its flaws, was gone without a trace in a few months.

 

Yankee Stadium is on deck.

 

If replacing the original ballpark was a mistake -- and plenty of fans still believe it was -- then completely demolishing it is the final injustice. It seems unthinkable that the city would tear down one of its landmarks without leaving behind some sign of its existence.

 

But that is the current plan. The city was originally going to preserve most of the original stadium, with plans for a hotel, convention center, a high school for sports medicine and sports management, a museum and other offices in and around the historic ballpark.

 

Those lofty plans were quickly abandoned, but the city was supposed to leave part of the stadium seating area and the original field in place at the new 10-acre Heritage Field, along with two new baseball and softball fields that would be constructed on top of a parking garage.

 

The idea of leaving something behind made it easier for diehard fans to accept the new park. But that plan has been reconfigured this spring to answer valid community complaints about the configuration of the park, and the result is this: There will be no real evidence that Yankee Stadium ever existed.

 

"What is the draw for the tourists to come here when there's no game? Zero," John Trush said. "If there's something here, somebody from St. Louis might come up here to show their grandson. Why not?"

 

Trush was standing in front of Gate 2 last week, pointing to the Yankees emblem etched in the concrete. The gate is in need of serious restoration -- gone, for example, are the distinctive terra cotta medallions of eagles, as are the two flag poles that once rose from the top. But, unlike the modern copy with the steakhouses and the $1,250 seats across the street, this is the real deal.

 

Trush is a Washington, N.J., resident. He tried to organize a movement to save the stadium four years ago, starting a website, yankeesstayhome.com, and reaching out to politicians. He could not get enough support.

 

He has now joined the group trying to save Gate 2 but worries the effort might also be too late. He pointed to the metal poles that have been drilled into the concrete, now covered with yellow caution tape, but which will soon be supports for the construction walls.

 

This is the first priority.

 

"We need to keep it from getting torn down," Costello said, and nobody can be sure how much time they have before that happens, or who exactly in the city is willing to help them.

 

They have reached out to Frank McCue, the stadia project manager for the city's Parks and Recreation department, with their proposal. McCue did not return a phone call seeking comment this week, but his office issued a statement that said the current design for Heritage Field did not include Gate 2 but would incorporate "existing elements into the park design to commemorate the old Yankee Stadium."

 

"The plan includes orienting the southern ballfield in the same alignment as the old Yankee Stadium ballfield, creating a tree-lined walking trail that outlines the perimeter of the old Yankee Stadium, and incorporating historical plaques and markers," the statement reads.

 

In other words, another ballpark will be torn to the ground, another stinkin' plaque will be put in its place.

 

The idea was born on an internet message board. The discussion topic was the demolition of Yankee Stadium.

 

When Richard Lillard, a 24-year-old college student at Arizona State, saw the photos of the famous ballpark with a giant hole in the wall for construction vehicles, he was stunned into action.

 

He started sharing ideas with Matt Visco, a 49-year-old computer software designer from Hamilton Township, and Costello, who is 56 and a safety consultant in Amityville, N.Y. They kept coming back to the same concept: The new Heritage Field would need an entranceway.

 

And it was already there.

 

"We all shared a desire to make sure something meaningful and tangible from the stadium was preserved," Visco said. "People can see the gate. They can take pictures of it. It's real."

 

Gate 2 sits directly across 161st Street from the new stadium, so fans would see it when they attended games. Plus, it could be preserved without losing any of the space earmarked for the much-needed parks.

 

They created an artist's rendering of what the renovated gate might look like, launched the website savetheyankeegate2.com and started attending community meetings.

 

They have been at it for just over a month now, doing their best to make inroads with local politicians and city officials. They have reached out to the Yankees and have gotten no response.

 

The group cannot answer the biggest questions: How much will it cost and who will pay for it? But the list of people who should help pay for it is long.

 

How about Brandon Steiner? He is the one who, for $80 for five square inches of freeze-dried turf and $1,499.99 for a pair of seats, is selling off every last piece of the old stadium.

 

Or the team? Yankees COO Lonn Trost did not return a phone call last week, but this franchise would not have become a billion-dollar business without calling that stadium home.

 

Or Derek Jeter? He became a star there. Or Rudy Giuliani? He loved his front-row seats. Or Mayor Bloomberg? He should consider the value of another potential tourist destination in the Bronx.

 

Or the fans? If they are willing to pay $10 for a beer in the new place, they should be willing to help save part of the old one. Especially once they consider what they're about to lose.

 

"People really need to start thinking about this now," Lillard said, "or it's going to be too late."

 

"It's one of the most historical sports venues in the country," Tom Linn said, and he wasn't talking about Yankee Stadium. He was talking about Tiger Stadium, which will get a second lease on life if a group of activists in Detroit is successful.

 

Preserving part of an old ballpark is not unprecedented. They did it in Cleveland, where one of the walls to League Park was saved. They did it in Pittsburgh, where the original center field wall from Forbes Field was salvaged.

 

Now in Detroit, Linn and others are in the process of turning part of Tiger Stadium into an asset to the city, complete with restaurants, offices, museum exhibits and -- most importantly -- baseball fields.

 

The project will cost $27 million and is close to receiving final approval, which means construction could begin in the spring.

 

"You use every bit of political wiliness that you can muster," Linn said when asked how his group stopped the wrecking balls, "and try to get yourself as much support from politicians as possible."

 

If Detroit can save its ballpark, then New York can do the same for one small part of its stadium. The plan for restoring Gate 2 as an entrance to Heritage Field is less ambitious but no less important.

 

The old Yankee Stadium cannot disappear entirely. Those blue plywood construction walls are going up, and soon, an important part of our baseball history will go down.

 

Once it does, there is no bringing it back.

 

GET ACTIVE. If you don't act now to save it, no one will. This is New York history, our old stadium, and our shared past. If you like me want to see it be more than rubble and a plaque and a bunch of good memories, now is the time to act.

 

Go to http://www.savetheyankeegate2.com/index.php NOW and write letters. Tell your friends, and spread the word. The only way this will happen is if the word gets out. A lot of numbers will be needed to make this happen, so start recruiting. There is no second chance or "it doesn't matter" about this. Remember, if we don't act to save this now, NOTHING will remain of our beloved Yankee stadium and our children and families yet unborn will never see a single living trace of the ballpark we all grew up and watched our first games...where Babe Ruth played, Mickey Mantle, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Guidry, Jeter, and Rivera. FIGHT to SAVE it.

 

Even Mets fans can appreciate the historical significance of the old Yankee Stadium and the importance of preserving something from it. Do not allow what happened to Shea (and should not have) to repeat itself with the place once known as the "cathedral of baseball"

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I am shocked that at least not part of the 'old' stadium is being kept. Bad job by NYC government.:tdown::mad:

 

I sign the pention gradly provided also that the kids in the neighborhood also have access to playground/ballfields to play on as well.

 

Let me be off topic and make a radical suggestion related to the Bronx? I think the Baseball Hall of Fame should relocate from Cooperstown NY. The best places are site of the oringal Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park area, Camden Yards in Baltimore or in St Louis near Busch Stadium.

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It's just a stadium. They need to demo it to make the new park space promised under the permit for the new stadium.

 

Funny how no one came to the rescue of Ebbet's or polo grounds, both of which were older than yankee stadium. Heck, what about roosevelt field? You gotta put it in perspective.

 

Also, the renovation basically removed anything that would have kept the stadium original. They are essentially 2 different buildings. Babe ruth never saw the yankee stadium of today.

 

- A

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It's just a stadium. They need to demo it to make the new park space promised under the permit for the new stadium.

 

Funny how no one came to the rescue of Ebbet's or polo grounds, both of which were older than yankee stadium. Heck, what about roosevelt field? You gotta put it in perspective.

 

Also, the renovation basically removed anything that would have kept the stadium original. They are essentially 2 different buildings. Babe ruth never saw the yankee stadium of today.

 

- A

 

That's actually the whole point of this movement. 1- they're going to demo it to allow public park space to be built. 2- this group wants to continue that plan except it wants to save Gate 2 as an "entry way" to the new public park space. 3- Gate 2 was specifically chosen because it is one of the few places that was left largely unchanged during the renovation, if you go to the site with the proposal you can clearly see that comparing the photo from the 1960's to one more recent. Saving Gate 2 will NOT impact or reduce the amount of park space available.

 

As for Ebbetts and Polo grounds its a damn shame nothing was saved from those. So should we just continue repeating the mistakes of history? People in New York City then did not have the information tools we have today and spreading the word on an idea like this back then was not as easy or possible. So believe me it's very much in perspective. This idea makes a TON of sense because it is relatively inexpensive, meets all the criteria of the current plan, and saves a small but key piece of history that will look nice, so I don't get why you are so dead set against it aside from maybe the fact you're a mets fan

 

I bet if someone suggested the SMEE cars just all get thrown in the ocean and NONE get saved you'd all be panicking...

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That's actually the whole point of this movement. 1- they're going to demo it to allow public park space to be built. 2- this group wants to continue that plan except it wants to save Gate 2 as an "entry way" to the new public park space. 3- Gate 2 was specifically chosen because it is one of the few places that was left largely unchanged during the renovation, if you go to the site with the proposal you can clearly see that comparing the photo from the 1960's to one more recent. Saving Gate 2 will NOT impact or reduce the amount of park space available.

 

As for Ebbetts and Polo grounds its a damn shame nothing was saved from those. So should we just continue repeating the mistakes of history? People in New York City then did not have the information tools we have today and spreading the word on an idea like this back then was not as easy or possible. So believe me it's very much in perspective. This idea makes a TON of sense because it is relatively inexpensive, meets all the criteria of the current plan, and saves a small but key piece of history that will look nice, so I don't get why you are so dead set against it aside from maybe the fact you're a mets fan

 

I bet if someone suggested the SMEE cars just all get thrown in the ocean and NONE get saved you'd all be panicking...

 

Well said Subway Guy. One of the big negatives of NYC is that many 'historic sites' in last 40-50 years *cough(the oringal New York-Penn Station)Cough* has been torn down.

 

If this plan was to tear this or Grand Central Metsfan would be the first in line to save the demolition balls from starting.

 

Yes the oringal YS stadium is only a ballpark but is not the colseium in Rome, or Webley stadium in London? B)

 

Yankee Stadium is world famous, America's answer to Webley and the Roman Colseium.

Metsfan according to reading this propsal this part would be blended into the new ballpark for 'kids of all ages' at the old stadium site. So i think it should be added in.

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From (anonymous):

 

If Anonymous supports it, it must be good. B)

 

In all seriousness though, Hudson River and Subwayguy got it right. Sure, the needs of the community must be met, but you gotta balance that with historical values.

 

It's just a stadium.

 

You're just saying that because Shea Stadium was torn down in a week. :) jkjk

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This is interesting....but I rase wonder why this isn't a landmark in the first place?O well...

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This is interesting....but I rase wonder why this isn't a landmark in the first place?O well...

 

Here's the official reason:

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/21/sports/baseball/21landmark.html

 

Landmark in Hearts and Minds, Not in Fact

By RICHARD SANDOMIR

Published: September 20, 2008

 

If historical significance is a measure of a landmark, why has Yankee Stadium never been designated one by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission?

 

There was plenty of architectural significance in the original version.

 

More than enough history was made in the Stadium before and after its renovation.

 

And if the commission was willing to make the old Milk-Bone dog treat factory on the Lower East Side a landmark, as it did last week, what has kept it from seriously considering the House that Ruth Built all these years?

 

The first request to landmark the renovated Stadium came in 1998 from Jeffrey D. Klein, then a state assemblyman from the Bronx.

 

“You can just feel the history there,” Klein, a Democrat who is now a state senator, said on Friday. “It certainly has tremendous significance.”

 

Klein’s pursuit of landmark status for the Stadium was part of a campaign to keep the team from moving to Manhattan, although George Steinbrenner could have left an empty building behind and relocated to the West Side.

 

But Klein learned, as did 16 others who have filed landmark requests since 2001, that the commission believed the Stadium was no longer worthy of the designation.

 

“The renovation stripped it of all its historic features,” said Elisabeth de Bourbon, the director of communications for the commission. The rooftop frieze and columns were gone, the playing field had been lowered, the seating configuration changed.

 

She said the requests to landmark the Stadium never reached a hearing before the 11 commissioners; they were rejected by the agency’s staff.

 

“The substantial changes made to it had rendered it ineligible,” she said.

 

Kent Barwick, the commission’s chairman from 1978 to 1983, recalled long-ago discussions about how much of the Stadium had been preserved after the renovation.

 

“I don’t believe it ever got to a public hearing,” he said.

 

(It could not be determined Friday if there was ever a serious campaign to turn the Stadium in its original design into a landmark between 1965, when the commission was created, and the end of the 1973 season, when the renovation began.)

 

Klein said that after his request to the commission was turned down, he tried to have the Stadium’s Monument Park listed on the New York State Register of Historic Places.

 

“The Pataki Administration didn’t want do to it,” he said.

 

Klein said that if Monument Park had been listed on the state register, it alone might have survived if the team had made the move to Manhattan. But the team will be transplanting the monuments and plaques to a similar site at the new $1.3 billion stadium.

 

Alice McGillion, a spokeswoman for the Yankees, said that the design of the new stadium was meant to revive some of the signature characteristics of the original 1923 version “in recognition of some of the special things that were gone from the renovation.”

 

The Yankees have never asked for the city-owned stadium to be named a landmark, de Bourbon said. The new stadium will not be eligible for the status until 2039.

 

Anyone can nominate a building for landmark status if it is at least 30 years old, de Bourbon said, and it can receive the designation over an owner’s objections. A building named a landmark must get commission approval for alterations, which explains why some owners would not seek the designation.

 

“Some property owners want their buildings to be landmarked, and some don’t,” she said. Con Edison, for example, has raised no objections to a proposal to have its 80-year-old limestone tower on Irving Place in Manhattan designated a landmark.

 

McGillion said the Yankees would not discuss whether a landmark designation of the Stadium in the past would have had any effect on their plans.

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It's just a stadium. They need to demo it to make the new park space promised under the permit for the new stadium.

 

Funny how no one came to the rescue of Ebbet's or polo grounds, both of which were older than yankee stadium. Heck, what about roosevelt field? You gotta put it in perspective.

 

Also, the renovation basically removed anything that would have kept the stadium original. They are essentially 2 different buildings. Babe ruth never saw the yankee stadium of today.

 

- A

That was because there was no organization that established for buildings to be preserved. People wanted places like Ebbets Field and Polo Grounds to be saved, but they did not. Also, Remember that people wanted to save the old Penn Station, but it still got demolished. This is what lead to the creation of a Landmarks Preservation organization.

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usually a "bleacher bum", Gate 2 was the last gate i entered the stadium in the last time i stepped foot into the old Cathedral. I miss the old stadium so much. As a Bronx native and life long Yankees fan, i fully support the preservation fo Gate 2!

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As a one time NYC resident and long standing Yankee fan, it saddened me to see the ole stadium in the pre demo condition when I went to the recent Yankee/ Phillies series. The new stadium was very nice but it will never replace the House that Ruth Built. No ghosts of heros past haunt those hall across 161 St. Something of the Stadium should be preserved and Gate 2 is as good a candidate as anything. I have many fond memories of witnessing sports history being made at the ole place and cannot fathom NYC without Yankee Stadium. The powers that be have decreed a death sentence to another ediface that defines NYC. Old Pennsylvania Station, Ebbetts Field,Polo Ground,and even Shea all met the wrecking ball without a wimper of resistance. Where does it end? It took celebrity status and backroom dealings by Jackie O to save Grand Central from the real estate barons and politicos and TG she prevailed. We need the same motivation by everyone to try to save some of the history that will be gone forever if the complete demo happens. I want something more that a plaque to look at when I go to future Yankee games. I am trying to keep this in perpective and realize the argument for landmark status is valid, but what price can you put on sentimentality? YS Stadium IS sonominous with NYC. :cry:

(NJT) :nec: :septa:

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As a one time NYC resident and long standing Yankee fan, it saddened me to see the ole stadium in the pre demo condition when I went to the recent Yankee/ Phillies series. The new stadium was very nice but it will never replace the House that Ruth Built. No ghosts of heros past haunt those hall across 161 St. Something of the Stadium should be preserved and Gate 2 is as good a candidate as anything. I have many fond memories of witnessing sports history being made at the ole place and cannot fathom NYC without Yankee Stadium. The powers that be have decreed a death sentence to another ediface that defines NYC. Old Pennsylvania Station, Ebbetts Field,Polo Ground,and even Shea all met the wrecking ball without a wimper of resistance. Where does it end? It took celebrity status and backroom dealings by Jackie O to save Grand Central from the real estate barons and politicos and TG she prevailed. We need the same motivation by everyone to try to save some of the history that will be gone forever if the complete demo happens. I want something more that a plaque to look at when I go to future Yankee games. I am trying to keep this in perpective and realize the argument for landmark status is valid, but what price can you put on sentimentality? YS Stadium IS sonominous with NYC. :cry:

(NJT) :nec: :septa:

 

 

Perfectly said bro. Off topic but related. Look at what happened at Tiger Stadium in Detroit? Instead of making it a historic landmark(Tiger stadium was bulit in 1912 same year as Fenway)it now tore down. A Tiger/Mich state sports hall of fame musuem could have been bulit along with parts of the ballpark.

 

I am sure Red Sox nation, when the Red Sox move to new ballpark in near future will make damn sure Fenway will never see the day of light of a bulldozer.:confused:

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Some part of Tiger Stadium is gone,but the people save part of the stadium behind home plate...So I don't know what they going to do with that property now.

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Perfectly said bro. Off topic but related. Look at what happened at Tiger Stadium in Detroit? Instead of making it a historic landmark(Tiger stadium was bulit in 1912 same year as Fenway)it now tore down. A Tiger/Mich state sports hall of fame musuem could have been bulit along with parts of the ballpark.

 

I am sure Red Sox nation, when the Red Sox move to new ballpark in near future will make damn sure Fenway will never see the day of light of a bulldozer.:confused:

 

I hope Fenway gets the wrecking ball with the exception of the area directly behind home plate. as much as everyone is complaining about the new yankee stadium playing like a pinball machine, fenway park has been playing like that for years. there's a reason the red sox hit .300 at home in that clown car ballpark and .250 on the road...and a lot of it has to do with that stupid wall that turns pop ups into doubles.

Edited by SubwayGuy

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You got to love the Green Monster...that what make that ball park unique.

 

Agreed. When people visit Fenway, that by far the most popular and requested part of the historic ball park.

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