Do you know that the ‘new’ Yankee Stadium is ninety years old? As early as 1921, plans to purchase and construct a stadium that would change the watching of baseball were made. A 10 acre piece of land was purchased from William Waldorf Astor estates for only $675,000. It is located in the west of Bronx directly opposite the Harlem River when viewed from Yankees’ Manhattan home. The contract for the construction of the Yankee Stadium was given to New York’s White Construction Co.
In the month of May 1922, the construction commenced (MLB Advanced Media, 2010). It was estimated that the Stadium would cost $2.5 million to put up. The Yankee stadium took a shorter period than expected. It only took 284 days of work to complete and in April 1923, the stadium was ready for use. The inaugural game of Yankee versus Boston Red sox was hosted in the newly built stadium on April 18, 1923. Surprisingly 74,200 baseball fans were packed in the stadium for the first time.
Thousands more were outside after the gates were closed following an order from fire department. The American and Yankee flags were raised high on the flag post at the deep center of the field before the struggle of the two teams began. John Phillip led the band. The Yankee stadium would later host countless base ball games (MLB Advanced Media, 2010). This essay seeks to trail through the issues involved in the construction of the Yankee Stadium in New York.
Building of the New Yankee Stadium
The condition of the Yankees’ stadium was deteriorating by the years 1960’s and 70’s.
There was an urgent need for its renovation and rebuild. Conservatives would have had no problem with the old stadium but the Yankees’ team wanted it new to fetch them some additional income and additionally give their fans more luxuries and facilities. After several years of discussions, the plans for the reconstruction were made public in the month of June 2005. The actual rebuilding commenced on August 2006. Would the Yankees be in a position to finance the project that required $1.6 billion? (Ballparks of Baseball, 2010).
It is the New Jersey that drafted the plan for a New Yankee baseball stadium for New York City. Its carrying capacity would be approximately 50,000 people and would cost 50% less than Manhattan’s multipurpose sports stadium (Munsey & Suppes, 2010).
The stadium would have exterior façade replicating the one of the old stadium. The inside section of the Yankee Stadium would stand out as a separate structure. It would rise above the exterior top. Looking from the outside, one cannot tell the difference between the old and the reconstructed Yankee Stadium. The outside of the new stadium has similar structures with the old stadium. Between interior structure and exterior wall there would be a square footage that will be five or six times larger than that of the current stadium. The rim around the roof of the new stadium would be of original copper and not copper frieze or lattice as in the old stadium. Inside the stadium would be the field with its dimensions. The soil in the new Yankee stadium will be drawn from the outfield (Munsey & Suppes 2010).
The stadium was intended to hold approximately 50,000 fans. The main grandstand has a total of four rows extending from one foul pole to another. The first and the second levels have approximately 30,000 seats. Third level has 56 luxurious suites. Level four forms the upper deck The New Yankee ballpark has retained the old stadium’s dimensions. The outfield has a video scoreboard measuring 56 by 10 feet. There are other auxiliary hand operated scoreboards at the right and left center of the fences (Ballparks of Baseball, 2010).
The new Yankee is highly luxurious with areas isolated for picnics, party suites, a steakhouse, martini bar and club seats. There is also a museum with past records of champion Yankee teams with their players. As one enters the Grand Hall, a Hard Rock Café greets you. All these facilities are part of what makes the New Yankee Stadium famous all around the world. To share in its fame also is the championship of the Yankee baseball teams. The New York Yankees have managed to maintain the Word Series championship that their earlier teams won (Ballparks of Baseball, 2010).
Financing of the New Yankee Stadium
The old Yankee stadium had to be reconstructed to give it a new face. It is now referred to as the New Yankee Stadium. The reconstruction of a new Yankee stadium started in the summer of the year 2006. It was scheduled to be complete by the year 2009 after a period of three years reconstruction. The redevelopment would not only be for the field but also for a conference center, a hotel and a high school offering careers related to sports (Munsey & Suppes 2010). The project would however cost the New York state a hell of a fortune. An estimate of $1.01 billion would be consumed by the project. The Yankees were the greatest contributors as with $756 million they would pay 75% of the total cost. $44 million will be tax exemptions. The remainder would be provided by public sector; city and the state. It would be used to put up the infrastructural facilities in the stadium. The Yankees went one step ahead in their agreement to contribute 75% of the project’s funds (Zimbalist, 2006).
Before he left the office in 2001, the former mayor; Rudy Giuliani had promised to get 100% from the public for the reconstruction of the New Yankee Stadium which amounted to $800 million then. His promises were never met when a new mayor, Michael Bloomberg declared that there were other priorities to be met before the stadium plan (Munsey & Suppes 2010). The state is also supposed to give a contribution of $70 million for the construction of parking garages. This is like a loan given to the Yankees as the state will get its money back by collecting parking charges (Zimbalist, 2006). The city will have to support the redevelopments by contributing $1.6 billion in the form of bonds. The teams will repay the city afterwards from their income (Munsey & Suppes, 2010).
A newspaper report of 2004 said that the Yankees wanted to forego the expensive roof of the stadium and in its place increase more seats to a capacity of approximately 56,000. However, by 2005, the Yankees had not said anything about the issue (Munsey & Suppes, 2010).
In 2005, New York City, as reports said, had plans to spend $1.1 billion. This money was to be divided between three sports stadiums. $300 million was to go to the new Yankees ballpark. The New York City’s contribution will be used to set up infrastructure alongside other improvements (Munsey & Suppes 2010).
In the year 2009, a new dawn for the Yankees in New York began. The reconstruction had been completed. The New Yankee Stadium became one of the world’s historic and famous stadiums. It still holds its original name “Yankee Stadium.’ In the same year, the Yankees had won 2009 World Serial in their new stadium. It was their 27th baseball World’s Championship (Ballparks of Baseball, 2010).
Scandals surrounding the Project
The New Yankee Stadium construction has been involved in a number of corruption scandals. A company that tested the concrete used for the construction schemes in the New York City was involved in the scandal. New Yankee Stadium and Freedom Tower are some of the projects that Testwell company was accused of not been honest about. Testwell Company’s president, V. Reddy Kancharla and a number of other officials were also involved in this scandal. They have been charged with enterprise corruption (Westfeldt, 2008). The concrete strength might not have been up to the standards. Investigations by the Manhattan prosecutors have been going on. They are to find out whether Testwell did falsify the test results or billed the companies on the tests that were never made. The Yankees and owners of Freedom Tower reported that the concrete which was used in their projects had passed the strength tests according to Testwell. However, some Yankee monitors had found fault in the Testwell’s failure to do simple tests; pouring concrete into some bucket and turning it over to test whether it maintained its steadiness. Yankees reported this to the prosecutors. The New York City has started retesting the concrete but has not given any results yet. The company is however going to defend its grounds (Westfeldt, 2008).
Yankees Threat to leave NYC
The Yankees baseball team is a great sports’ enterprise that earns the New York City (NYC) and in general the United States of America a lot of profit. At one time, the Yankees threatened to leave Bronx and NYC. The team wanted the City’s Agency to put on sale bonds worth $350 million. If this money was not raised from the sale of the bonds, then the Yankees would not have their stadium project completed (Gralla, 2008)
After many decades of consultations, it was agreed that a New Yankee stadium be constructed. For the proposal of the New Yankee Stadium to get approval, it had to relocate Parkland hotel. The Parkland hotel that was at the site of the reconstruction of the New Yankee Stadium was to be relocated to give enough space for the new stadium. The Yankees, out of the desire to have a new stadium, were ready to do anything Blum, 2009). They moved the Parkland to a 32 acre land that cost them $ 10 million. It was a great improvement from the 22 acre piece of land that John Mullay and Macomb’s Dam parks occupied. The costs had gone high as the budget Office reported later, up to $195 million. This rise was due to the increase in the size of the land and other costs incurred to clear toxic wastes that had been buried together with oil barrels. The relocated parks were scheduled to start their operations in the year 2011. Because of the influences that the New Yankee Stadium has caused, a number of community concerns have been raised (Blum, 2009).
The members of the community in which the New Yankee Stadium is located have pointed out some issues on the effects that have been caused by the whole exercise. For example, the community has raised eye brows on environmental issues. The traffic would be affected as a result of the reconstruction of the stadium. Though the scheme is planned to reduce traffic, the community claim that it is likely to increase the traffic problem. The increased traffic is a blow to the community that is high rated in Asthma cases (Blum, 2009).
To add salt to the injury, the community claims that the project has taken great amounts of their taxes. They feel that the baseball team is the beneficially and they do not stand a chance to gain. Their taxes therefore should not be used in the project and the beneficiaries should contribute. In support of the community, Good Jobs New York says that the project was an instrument to bulldoze taxpayers by the use of insular undemocratic negotiations through the city officials. However, The Community Benefits Agreement failed to represent the views of the community. Their proposals remain unexecuted (Blum, 2009).
Despite the fact that the community raises eyebrows towards the reconstruction of the Yankee Stadium, there are proponents of this project. They point a list of benefits that would accrue from the scheme (Blum, 2009). Statistics from the Industrial Developmental Agency show that $ 60 million has been raised by the project. Further more it has created about 6000 jobs during the construction period to the neighboring community (Blum, 2009).
There are plans that have been put across to rezone the New York Yankee stadium. It has been realized that a mistake had been done in its zoning. No one doubts the fact that the stadium has been strategically located. Nevertheless, its zoning has been found out to be outdated; a development discouragement. Sites have been underutilized as a result despite the mass transit presence. The office and retail spaces that stimulated clients will negatively be affected (Blum, 2009).
On the other hand, the redevelopment will provide more jobs. Though New York City will provide economic opportunities to the people of New York, the rezoning of the Yankee Stadium is important to align up to the standards of development (Blum, 2009).
The New Yankee stadium is one of the world’s most famous baseball parks. It derives its fame from the unique and expensive way in which it is constructed. Its size is also overwhelming. Many fans will converge in the stadium not only to watch a game but also enjoy the luxurious amenities provided by the New Yankee Stadium. It is an admirable site. The Yankees have also given the stadium a name in maintaining the World Series Championship in baseball. However, the New Yankee stadium has gone through many upheavals ranging from funding, scandals and the opposition from the community around which it is built. Despite all the odds, it has been possible to reconstruct the New Yankee Stadium for the New York City. Making it what it has been today has not been easy.