Monday, February 09, 2009

Tear It Down!

The ongoing controversy over the construction and deconstruction of the Yankee Stadium and surrounding neighborhood continues-with Bronxites wondering why the old stadium is still standing and the promised parkland is as yet unavailable to this asthma-ridden community. The Norwood News leads the charge:

"The list of injustices emanating from the deals surrounding the construction of the new Yankee stadium is long and depressing. But the greatest civic offense is the theft of invaluable public green space and the broken promises to provide replacement parkland to the community in a timely fashion...perhaps the grandest monument to the city’s unforgivable heist of green space in a community struggling with asthma and other public health problems, is the old Yankee Stadium, which still stands despite city promises it would be razed to make way for new baseball fields, so local kids can start running the bases again."

It seems, hold your hats, that the old ball park needed to stay because the Yankees needed the office space! The Norwood folks, citing the Times' Harvey Araton, ridicule this: "The city says the Yankees needed their old offices while constructing the new stadium. Araton, a New York Times sports columnist, points out that it’s somehow acceptable that kids all over the city can learn in trailers hogging schoolyards in perpetuity. But the Yanks can’t spend a few months in similar quarters? And the city says tearing down the old Yankee Stadium “requires a complicated public procurement process.” So, how is it that the city had no problem getting a wrecking ball at Shea Stadium in October?"

Mike Bloomberg, you last remember him as the caped crusader for clean air, has a lot to answer for on this-but so do Bronx pols who have gotten lockjaw after ceding their responsibiliities to the Yankees with no oversight: "We have one more question: Why is it that only reporters are making noise about this? Is there not one elected official who considers this important enough to at least issue a press release, especially since every elected official save one supported the project? Our fax machine hums with elected officials’ press releases on issues they have little if any control over, but when it comes to a situation where taking a stand might accomplish something? Nada."

The Bronx is ill served by its local and city wide officials on this bad deal, Certainly the new Yankee Stadium could have gotten built, and local residents could have also received equal value for the parkland that was stolen. Instead we saw the denuding of the community's green space and the accompanying frenzy by the city's lead economic agency to score a luxury box at the new ball park. What a disgrace on Mike Bloomberg and the local electeds!