Grassroots group wants to save Gate 2

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gate2heritagepark

Renderings of a proposed plan to save Yankee Stadium’s Gate 2. (Via Save the Yankee Gate 2)

In a little over a year, Yankee Stadium, the original House that Ruth Built, will be just a memory in the Bronx. Already, fans can see the dismantling of the stadium as they head on up to the new park in the Bronx, and in 2011, Heritage Park will bring greenery to the Bronx.

While the Yankees and the City have not shed many tears over the impending destruction of a baseball icon, a good number of fans are upset that the team has been so willing to discard such an important part of its past. To that end, a group of fans and baseball buffs have started a grassroots movement to Save Gate 2 and use it as a symbolic entrance to Heritage Park.

Last week, I spoke with Mark Costello, one of the leaders of the movement, and he walked me through the plans. In essence, the Yankees and the City would be saving a piece of the old stadium as well as the original ticket booths along 161st St. as a nod to history. Gate 2 is the old entrance to the left field area, and as the group’s website shows, it would not take much work to restore a part of the old stadium to the grandeur it once had. “It’s probably the coolest thing left from the old Stadium,” Costello said.

The group is drawing its inspiration from successful preservation projects around the nation. In Detroit, advocates saved a good portion of old Tiger Stadium. In Pittsburgh, parts of the original wall of Forbes Field remain in place. With a new park planned for the space, Costello believes the old gate would make for an appropriate and magnificent entrance.

gate2renderingssmall

Recently, Costello presented his plan to the Bronx’s Community Board 4 and the Parks Department. He said that board members seemed favorable to the proposal but recognizes the uphill battle he faces. “Time is of the essence,” he said to me when I noted the ongoing destruction of the old stadium.

Despite the time crunch, Costello and his supporters feel that Gate 2 could be left up with relative ease. One of the supporting walls is still in place, and the other could be easily constructed. Furthermore, since construction crews have yet to reach that side of the stadium, it’s certainly not too late to begin a preservation campaign.

For now, the group is focusing on grassroots efforts. “We’re trying to get out the word as best we can,” Costello said, “and we’re hoping to get the attention of the city government.”

Costello has yet to approach the Yankees. He fears the team will view this effort as taking away from the new stadium but will try to get the team on board when the time is right. ‘We’re not trying to have something that will compete with what they built,” he said, “but will enhance the experience.”

In the end, the group of fans who want to remember the past fear for the future. In a city that does a bad job of retaining and remember its past, the Yankees should go down the same path. “Future fans,” Costello said, “will regret that they missed the opportunity to do something meaningful.”

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Extra ticket for tonight's game
Game 27: Forget the last two
  • http://eastrutherfordrant.com donttradecano

    I think its a great idea.

    • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

      Me too. I was 100% for building the new park and disagreed with Ben about his stance, but I think we can both agree on this. It would be a nice way to commemorate the old facility an would beautify the neighborhood, along with the new parkland.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Agreed.

        I wonder what the actual construction and upkeep costs would be of leaving the gate up.

  • http://liberalmusings.wordpress.com Pablo Zevallos

    This plan gives the kids in the South Bronx parkland while also preserving a part of Yankee Stadium. I love it!

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Technically, this plan gives the kids in the South Bronx a tiny bit less parkland.

      Because the current proposal of tearing the whole thing down always included turning the whole thing into a park. Leaving this gate up decreases that ever so slightly.

      /nitpick

  • Cam

    One of the coolest ideas I’ve seen in this whole thing. That literally looks amazing and it would be awesome to take my kids and grandkids there someday.

  • http://eastrutherfordrant.com donttradecano

    This plan should not be rejected, im going to mail the letter they have under downloads to bloomburg.

  • GG

    so. f-ing. awesome.

    • thurdonpaul

      agreed

  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Aunt Becca-Optimist Prime

    So, how can we help out?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      Spread the word. Send this letter to Bloomberg and the Parks Dept.

      • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Aunt Becca-Optimist Prime

        Awesome. Will do once I am in distance of a printer.

      • thurdonpaul

        ive printed the letter and will mail it tomorrow, i think its a terrific idea, something has to be saved, and if its anything close to those pics it will be incredible

    • http://eastrutherfordrant.com donttradecano

      by mailing letters i guess. thats the only thing i found on the site.

  • thesultanofswat

    THIS. IS. AMAZING. WITH THE BAD PRESS FROM THIS WEEKEND…SOMEONE NEEDS TO GET THIS IN FRONT OF A STEINBRENNER…IMMEDIATELY. PETITION TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN. THEY ARE ALREADY DISMANTLING PARTS OF THE STADIUM JUST YARDS FROM GATE 2.

    • hamburger helper

      Caps lock aside, I’m with you. Would be a big PR boost for the Yanks (“never mind the kittens being slaughtered over there…come look at THIS!!”).

      This is a great idea.

  • Texeiramvp (JobaCyYoung)/Letsgoyankees-It depends on the blog

    Grat idea!

  • Texeiramvp (JobaCyYoung)/Letsgoyankees-It depends on the blog

    Grat is great.

  • jsbrendog

    genius.

  • pounder

    This idea is so right-on that I am sure some tinhorn politician will try to bollix it up.A really great idea.

  • neverest

    Great idea. Can we drum up more publicity by having some of the ESPN blogs link to it?

    • hamburger helper

      Why would Red Sox fans link to it?

      • neverest

        Heh, touche. Like it or not, though, ESPN is an easy way to get the idea publicized. I think most people would be on board with the idea of saving a portion of baseball history, since even the most flagrant Red Sox fans (I know a couple, I live in Boston) I know recognize that the old Stadium is a baseball shrine.

        • hamburger helper

          Agree. Minor points deducted, though, because that stadium held many demons for the Sox. However, you’d think they would have been exorcised in October 2004.

          I have the same respect for Fenway. During a business trip back in March ’03, I powerwalked from one of the big downtown hotels over to the park on my getaway day just to do a lap around it. I then went into one of the souvenir shops and bought a coffee mug…just a Fenway Park mug with NO mention of the Red Sox on it. :)

          • jsbrendog

            pre new yankee stadium anyone who loved baseball absolutely HAD to go to wrigley, fenway, yankee stadium.

            alas, that has been cut down to 2. personally i want to go to camden yards and owuld now make that the 3rd one since it is historically relevant becaiuse it ushered in the era of the “theme park” focusing on aesthetic beauty and integrating mroe non baseball stuff. it went

            yankee stadium (old)

            small gap

            Fenway

            small gap

            Wrigley

            huge gap

            Camden Yards.

            • http://poughkeepsiepinstripes.blogspot.com Amol

              I’d add Dodger Stadium to the list of places a baseball lover has to visit. Say what you will about Walter O’Malley (and there’s certainly plenty to say), he did manage to build a fantastic ballpark.

          • neverest

            I go from time to time and always enjoy the experience – I put it right up there with the old YS (I haven’t yet warmed to the new park yet), Camden Yards, and Wrigley.

            Good for you for insisting no Sawx logos on the mug! So does anyone know how a story would get ESPN’s attention?

        • jsbrendog

          email all the blog guys, olney, klaw, kirkjian.

          kirkjian will prob jizz…in hiss….pants over this

  • Drive 4-5

    Fantastic idea! Best of luck with it!

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

    Ok. So it sounds like people really like this idea. I’ll get back in touch with Mark about throwing some of our weight behind it. Time is really an issue though. That’s for sure.

    • hamburger helper

      How about PAbe? He’s gotten cozier with Bob Lorenz and Kim Jones via the blogosphere. Wouldn’t be bad to get them to acknowledge it and give it some air time.

    • http://newstadiuminsider.com Ross

      All the people I have told about this idea love it. I don’t see why anyone wouldn’t. This has to be done.

  • Captain Bawls

    That looks amazing, preserves a part of history, benefits the community, and would help the Yankees current image of supreme douchebaggery as far as treating the fans goes.

    Is there any reason NOT to do this?

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Is there any reason NOT to do this?

      Yes.

      Cost.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

        I would think that the costs could be covered through private donations. I’d like to think that if this plan had enough support, the Yankees might even chip in. That could be a bit naïve of me though.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Actually, trying to start a small charitable organization/trust to fund the small cost of not tearing it down, retrofitting the Gate to be freestanding, and paying for it’s annual maintenance (which really shouldn’t be all that much) is probably the best way to get this thing saved.

          If you come with money (or people willing to give money), you’ll double your chances of the Parks department listening. Because, right now, everybody’s flat broke and looking to cut every single unnecessary penny.

          Saving Gate 2 may not cost much, but it may cost one administrative job (like, say, 30k a year). It’s a drop in the bucket… but it’s also someone’s secretary they don’t want to lose.

  • Tony

    How does tacking time and costs on to an already neglected public works project benefit the community or the Yankees’ image?

    It’d be cool, yeah… but I don’t think it’s realistic.

    • jsbrendog

      hank and hal make arod pay for it haha. itll help his image!

  • http://newstadiuminsider.com Ross

    Well written, Ben.

    I’m loving the go get ‘em attitude of RAB lately, doing the first-hand reporting that the more serious Yankee blogs have the ability to do!

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      We had talked about the ability to do more original reporting in addition to the analysis. Your post on the topic gave us a good push.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      I’m loving the go get ‘em attitude of RAB lately, doing the first-hand reporting that the more serious Yankee blogs have the ability to do!

      I hope this doesn’t mean a corresponding reduction in the snarky, juvenile pooping on the shoddy first-hand reporting of others that we’ve all come to know and love.

      Because, if RAB starts publishing more reasonable, informed, professionally detached journalistic content and less making fun of Sucka Got No Juice for being short and Bitch Tits for being Bitch Tits, it will only further tarnish the already damaged credibility of this socialist blog.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    I love it.

    It’s not gonna happen.

    • jsbrendog

      unfortunately, i agree with your reasonable assessment. but that won’t nor shouldn’t stop any one from trying

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Oh, never that. The impossibility of convincing morons that they’re dumb has never stopped me from trying.

        Rage against the machine, mi amigo.

  • jsbrendog

    so wait, print out the letter and mail it to all 5 addresses and people? or just to bloomberg?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      All. It’s a word doc so you can customize the address. I’d recommend sending it to CB 4 and the Bronx Borough President and City Council members as well.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Make sure you address it to Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and not former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión.

        Nothing gets you ignored quicker than making the mistake of not noticing that you’re addressing your letter to the guy who left office a month ago and not the guy who just got inaugurated last week.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Also, Yankee Stadium relevant electeds (in the district and next to the district)

          City Council Reps: Maria del Carmen Arroyo (17th) and Helen Diane Foster (16th)
          State Senate Reps: Jose M. Serrano (28th) and Ruth Hassell-Thompson (36th)
          State Assembly Reps: Carmen Arroyo (84th) and vacant (77th)

          You’re welcome.

          • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

            Thanks.

            I have a visceral reaction to Ruth Hassell-Thompson based upon her irrational hatred of transit, but I guess in this case, she’s one to which we should write.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              She’s much nicer than you think.

              And she doesn’t hate transit, she’s just tasked with one of the most impossible districts in the state senate: it stretches from the South Bronx by the stadium up to the more affluent commuters in Westchester. Some of her constituents love mass transit, some of them love highways and byways. Tough to please all of them.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Oh, and:

            NYC Parks Commissioner Adrian Benape
            Bronx Borough Parks Commissioner Hector Aponte

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    Anything that preserves a bit of that stadium is a wonderful idea. I’m already trying to separate and get more used to the new stadium, but it would be a crime to not leave a trace of the old stadium there. Just a crime.

  • Cory

    This is phenomenal. If I were a kid living in the Bronx I would feel chills walking to my little league games through gate 2

  • zack

    I think its a great idea to honor and preserve part of the stadium as opposed to what has become of, say, the Polo Grounds, but those renderings just look awkward and forced.

    Hopefully its just that, renderings, but the gate looks monstrous and unsightly. I’m sure everyone will respond with how amazing it looks simply because its part of Yankee Stadium 2.0, but whatever…

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      That Gate’s actually part of the original Yankee Stadium from 1923 and not just Yankee Stadium II.

  • Derby

    It would be in the yankees best interest to read websites like this and really get a chance to read what is on the fans’ minds. The corporate part of the yankees have seemed very unattached to the fans of the yankees a.k.a. The ones that pay their salaries. If my name was Matt Steinbrenner I would have fought tooth and nail to keep the ENTIRE park. It’s a shame it is being torn down, but iw would be great to keep atleast part of the old stadium there.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      If my name was Matt Steinbrenner I would have fought tooth and nail to keep the ENTIRE park.

      Why? Then you’d have a huge stadium with little public use. Not the best way to use the city’s resources. Moreover, if the Steins wanted the old stadium to remain, they would have needed to secure some additional acres of parkland to replace what they built on.

      People do like and use city parks, you know.

  • Bronx Jeers

    This is just a fantastic idea. I really hope it succeeds. Best of luck.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      That was not a jeer at all.

  • Brendan

    Great idea and thank you RAB for spreeading the idea. Mark if your reading this,mabee you can contact the daliy news and the New York Post about mabe doing an artical about this idea. I’m planing on going to the Stadium and putting up flyers about SAVE GATE 2 around the stadium befor a game and then leave eraly t hand out flyers i made about the website to fan’s leaving the stadium. any body else out there can join me. Copy this sheet and make as many copies as posibal, then if you have the time after or befor a game hand them out outside the stadium.
    ( make this on microsoft word )

    SAVE THE GATE !!!!
    ( insert picture above/on homepage of save the gate here )
    Help Save The Original Gate 2 Of The Old Yankee Stadium By Visting:
    http://savetheyankeegate2.com/

  • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

    Not being an engineer or an expert on demolition, I will venture a guess that this will cost more (probably lots more)than simply dismantling and/or knocking the structure will cost.

    That part of the building will need to be buttressed, isolated from the rest of the demolition and reinforced and fixed up after the rest of the building comes down. You probably need to build a whole new wall behind the old one just to keep that from falling down.

    Pass the hats, folks. I doubt Hal wants to pay for this as he’s looking at half empty seats between the bases.

  • Joshua Hernandez

    I totally agree with this i would love to have my kids someday and let them play on the field that many historic greats played on. I’m behind this 100%

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  • Eric S

    I just passed the link to this page to one of the editorial folks at MLB.com. Maybe they’ll pick it up and run a story – will post again when I hear back. (I used to work for MLBAM).

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  • steve rolston

    The Yankees should have agreed to play in Shea for two years while their new stadium was built. Instead some greedy people built the unwanted stadium next door. This new stadium destroyed functional (the McCombs Dam Park track) and beautiful (the Mullaley Park trees) parkland to accomodate Steinbrenner and Bloomberg.

    Already the money-hungry Yankees have turned off the water fountains in the new upper deck where I have tickets for the Friday night games. I purchase beer and food..can I please have a free sip of water?

    It is embarrassing that my Yankees are charging $1,250 a game after cutting the prices in half. This is just baseball! No ticket, even in a spoiled society, should cost more than $500. And I would not pay that much.

    Look at the retro scoreboard in right and left fields. They are shrunken to fit ads over both. They would be truly retro and legible if they were given the full size of the walls in which they are imbedded.

    The bleacher wall ads are one ad too high, taking away the view of the surrounding neighborhood. It takes away from the pleasure of the game.

    Recently they installed barriers on River Ave. so fans cannot spill across the street in happiness after a Bernie Williams, excuse me, Nick Swisher, home run.

    So my long answer is that the Yankees have not earned an extra monument to themselves. They forfeited that when they hastily built the greed-based monument next door and took away some of the simple pleasures of going to a Yankee game.

    Regarding the footprint of the old stadium, it’s over. Give the parkland to the neighborhood people who lost substantial parkland to the new stadium. Keep it simple and just give them a nice park with benches and lots of trees, not baseball fields. If they wanted baseball fields there, they should have rebuilt the stadium there and preserved the older parks where they were.

  • JVB

    Anyone who thinks maintaining the refurbished gate would cost too much, it would probably be cheaper than landscaping costs for the new parkland. Also, we shouldn’t expect to get any publicity from the YES network but calling in to Michael Kay’s radio show might force the issue.

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