Sep
28

Gate 2 movement coming to a resolution

By

For the better part of 2009, I’ve covered the grassroots movement by a group of preservationists and Yankee fans to save Gate 2 and incorporate it into the plans for Heritage Field. While the city officials say the plan is cost-prohibitive, the group claims Gate 2 could be saved for around $1 million. Now, with the Parks Department set to gain preliminary approval for its Heritage Field plans, the Gate 2 movement may be nearing a conclusion, but early reports indicate that Gate 2 will not be a part of the Heritage Field plans.

Benjamin Peim, writing for the Daily News, has more on this development:

The city Parks Department plans to seek preliminary approval next week for plans to commemorate the stadium at Heritage Field – the future park after the House That Ruth Built meets the wrecking ball. Gate 2 is not in the plans. “If it gets approved, I think we’re through,” said John Trush, one of the fans fighting to save the gate.

The Parks Department presented its plans last May to the Design Commission, which approves all permanent works of art, architecture and landscape architecture proposed on or over city property. It granted preliminary approval, with the caveat they make revisions to better incorporate the stadium’s history.

At next week’s meeting, with Gate 2 crusaders making their pitch, the commission will decide the department’s revised plans for the old Yankee Stadium. A Parks spokesman said the revised design will have some of the old stadium’s frieze, historical plaques and markers, and one of the baseball diamonds will follow the same alignment as the old infield.

At the heart of this debate is the city’s tendency to disregard its history. As I wrote in August, early Heritage Field plans basically ignored Yankee Stadium. Although a few plaques would commemorate the spot, no aspect of Yankee Stadium would have remained, and even the replacement fields would not align with the old Yankee Stadium infield.

For the city, this disregard for history is nothing new. Lower Manhattan contains few remnants of its 400-year-old history, and even newer landmarks — Ebbets Field, the Polo Grounds — are nothing but memories we recognize from sepia-toned photographs. The Save the Gate 2 movement wanted to preserve an original part of old Yankee Stadium before it was too late. As Bronx borough historian Lloyd Ultan has repeated said, the preserved gate “would serve the same function for future generations as the Roman forums serve in Rome today.”

Now though, it is the proverbial bottom of the ninth. I’ll reserve judgment on the Parks Department’s final plans until they are released. The early word is somewhat promising but also a bit hypocritical. Although the Deparment claims that saving Gate 2 would be futile because the substantial parts of the gate date only to the 1970s renovation, most of the new plans seem to preserve Yankee Stadium II memories while glossing over the original stadium configuration. “The [Parks Department] argument falls down when you take a look at the [revised] plans for the site,” Ultan said. “Most of what they’re saving is from the 1970s structure.”

We might have to eulogize Gate 2 next week and tip our caps to those trying to save it. If the effort fails, it was a valiant one. Hopefully, the city won’t come to rue a mistake if it tears down the entire stadium while just giving a perfunctory nod to history. The House that Ruth Built deserves better.

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

    As Bronx borough historian Lloyd Ultan has repeatedly said, the preserved gate “would serve the same function for future generations as the Roman forums serve in Rome today.”

    Easy on the hyperbole, there, killer.

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      +1

    • JMK aka The Overshare

      Castigat ridendo mores.

  • Esteban

    A big meh. Sure people have good memories of the old YS, but as a stadium, not as some architectural masterpiece. How many people would actually visit a gate from a torn-down stadium instead of visiting the much newer, cleaner, and nicer stadium right next door? Not many.

  • sal

    Thinking of a Million other ways to spend that money on the rest of the bronx and family’s that live in the bronx.

    Now if you can save it and sell it for 5 million and put the money back into the bronx hood. you’d get the best of both worlds.

  • wilcymoore

    Preserving architecture is about preserving history. It doesn’t matter whether Gate 2 (or any part of Yankee Stadium, for that matter) is an “architectural masterpiece.” Yankee Stadium is undeniably historic, as the home of the most successful and famous sports franchise in the United States.

    If the Stadium is not historic, then baseball, the Yankees, and the place of both in this nation’s history is unimportant.

    New York makes a big point of protecting its architectural history – or at least it has purported to since at least the 1970′s. I admit I’m not all that excited about NYC architecture; I’d rather protect a farm field somewhere, personally. But if the City is going to treat preservation as a valuable civic objective, it cannot allow ALL of Yankee Stadium to be obliterated without saving anything. To do so would be particularly cynical, since the City itself actually owns the structure. If Yankee Stadium’s Gate 2 is demolished, then let’s scrap this whole silly idea of architectural and historical preservation. Tear down everything, ignore history, and let’s move on and forget our past.

    • http://and-that-happened.blogspot.com Evan

      Well said, Wilcy.

  • Beej

    This is a who cares issue

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

      If you’re an obnoxious anonymous blog commenter, it’s a “who cares” issue. Plenty of other people have cared in the various threads on this topic. If you don’t care, ignore it.

  • http://www.bronxbaseballdaily.com Rob A from BBD

    This was a great try and if they have any effect on the outcome of the park in any way, shape, or form I’ll be happy. I have supported this Gate 2 movement since the first day I heard about it. It’ll be really sad if they fail though. Good luck to them.

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