Saving Yankee Stadium history but at what cost?By
According to critics, the plan to save Gate 2 comes with a hefty price tag.
As the Yankee Stadium demolition continues apace, the effort to save Gate 2 is gaining traction. Yet, despite the increased publicity and focus on the preservation effort, critics contend that it is far too late and far too costly to save this bit of Bronx baseball history.
The latest development in this fight over parkland and the historic parts of Yankee Stadium comes to us via the Daily News. Today’s article sums up the current state of the movement, and it doesn’t sound as though things are falling into place for those of us who wish to see a part of Yankee Stadium incorporated into Heritage Park.
Eitan Gavis and Larry McShane talked to a few unnamed critics of the plan, and these naysayers point to the price and historical modifications of Gate 2. According to those who oppose the effort, it could cost up to $10 million to restore Gate 2 to its historical image and stabilize the gate so that it stands without the help of the existing stadium. These critics also contend that the gate was “significantly changed” during the renovations to the stadium in the 1970s.
According to the Daily News and previous reports, the Parks Department plans to leave the giant bat in place. There is, however, a functional aspect to it as it serves as a vent from the physical plant located below ground. The department will also incorporate some of the frieze into plans for Heritage Park.
Proponents of the plan though hit upon the real reasons for saving Gate 2. For too many years, we have simply destroyed baseball history, leaving plaques in out-of-the-way locations or home plates buried under parking lots. “We visit some of these places where the original field is gone, and all we have is a brass plaque saying, ‘This is where home plate was,’” Bill Turner, a supporter of the movement, said.
Lloyd Ultan, Bronx borough president, compared Yankee Stadium to some of the world’s more famous architectural and archeological ruins. “If you go to Rome, you can get some idea of what the Forum was like from the ruins,” Ultan said to the News. “If it’s feasible, it’s worthy to save that part.”
As I said last week when I wrote about the plans for the park, the Yankees and the City should figure out a way to better incorporate the old stadium into plans for Heritage Park. The team could front some of the money for preservation, and Save the Gate 2 could fundraise for it as well. Too late will we realize what is missing if the stadium is demolished with no eye toward both the future and the past.