A preliminary look at Heritage Field Park

Open Thread: A letter from Safe At Home
Instead of talking about A-Rod talking, let's just talk about A-Rod

Last night, we discussed briefly how the city’s Public Design Commission had given preliminary approval to the Parks Department’s plans to commemorate Yankee Stadium at the new Heritage Field Park. No aspect of the old stadium — not Gate 2 or any part of the frieze — will be incorporated into the park, but according to Jesslyn Moser, a spokesperson for the department, the design of the field “will allow patrons to visit the past.”

She sent me the renderings seen above and below as well as a statement on the design: “The proposed commemorative design elements, which received preliminary approval from the Public Design Commission [this week], include signage, benches, engraved plaques with historical narrative, viewfinders that allow participants to glimpse past events and an audio tour.”

The Parks Department website on the Yankee Stadium redevelopment plans has more info about the makeup of the various parks. Old Yankee Stadium and its surroundings will feature the following:

Three championship-quality grass ballfields, an all-weather soccer and football field surrounded by a 400-meter competition-quality track, four basketball courts, eight handball courts, a skate park, a playground, fitness equipment and a waterfront esplanade linking a picnic area, play area, tennis center and sixteen tennis courts along the Harlem River.

This diverse array of sporting venues will replace Macombs Dam Park, formerly home to baseball fields, basketball courts and football and soccer fields. When the park opens next year, the neighborhood will finally enjoy greenspaces taken from it four years ago when the Yanks started construction on the new stadium.

Keep in mind that these images are simply preliminary plans. The Department will release more detailed renderings after the Public Design Commission gives it its final approval. It’s a shame that old Yankee Stadium, renovated in the early 1970s or not, isn’t a bigger part of this park. That stadium witnessed decades of baseball history and deserves to live on in more than just video clips, viewfinders and an audio tour.

Open Thread: A letter from Safe At Home
Instead of talking about A-Rod talking, let's just talk about A-Rod
  • http://www.theyankeeu.com/ Nostra-Artist

    Is the walkway the footprint of the old building?

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

      Hard to say. The third base side looks like it mirrors where the road and walkway around the old stadium were.

      • http://www.theyankeeu.com/ Nostra-Artist

        Would be a nice touch if it was the footprint.

  • http://www.theyankeeu.com/ Nostra-Artist

    Tennis courts? In the Bronx?

    That just shows how out of touch NYC pols are with their constituents. Trying to make themselves look good by putting a so-called “elite” sport in a poor area of the city. Meanwhile, the local area kids don’t care about Tennis or their silly class warfare world view. That surrounding area is largely Black and Latino immigrants, a Soccer field or Basketball court would have gone over much better.

    • SteveD Fla

      Thats a very good point. Have to agree.

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

        Really? Completely disagree. Two points:

        1. It’s a preliminary design, and I think you’re looking at some soccer fields and some basketball courts that are shown in green for the sake of the rendering.

        2. Stereotyping Black and Latino children into some anti-tennis sports world seems strange to me. The fields there seem to represent a mix of sports, but that also could change before the final designs are released.

        • http://www.theyankeeu.com/ Nostra-Artist

          Maybe what I’m looking at are Basketball courts. If they are Bravo, and I’m glad to be wrong.

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

            They’re both.

        • Sparky

          It’s more than a rendering. The soccer field has been completed for quite a while and the rest of the facilities surrounding it are in the final stages of construction.

          The facilities on the old Stadium site still need to be built.

      • http://www.theyankeeu.com/ Nostra-Artist

        Maybe the Yankee execs will use a tennis court, but I don’t think the local kids will be interested. I thought these parks were for the kids.

    • Hughesus Christo

      Where do you see a tennis court? Ignoring the fact that your comment was pretty out there, those are basketball courts.

      • http://www.theyankeeu.com/ Nostra-Artist

        Are you sure? I’m talking about the top pic, north side. Not the big one with the track, the smaller ones on the side. Ben didn’t say and they looked like Tennis courts to me.

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

          I’ve updated the post with more information on the parks. They do include tennis courts, but the courts are not in the renderings above. What you’re seeing — according to a more detailed map — are basketball courts and handball courts.

    • Lanny

      Because they dont play tennis in the inner city and should never have access to the sport?

      Go tell that to the Williams sisters.

      God forbid these kids be given access to a sport they’d never play.

      • http://www.theyankeeu.com/ Nostra-Artist

        “they’d never play.”

        Glad we agree.

        • http://i.cdn.turner.com/si/multimedia/photo_gallery/0902/mlb.alex.rodriguez.through.the.years/images/1993.alex-rodriguez.jpg Drew

          Free courts will be put to use. To act like it’s a waste of space isn’t very progressive. Perhaps we shouldn’t even make a baseball field. Just give them basketball courts.

    • Beamish

      The largest Tennis-only stadium in the United States was built by NYC’s only black Mayor and named after a heralded black athlete.

      I really don’t think sport has to be about color.

    • http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bring-Melvin-To-America/193013541601?ref=sgm Andy In Sunny Daytona

      I’m sure the Williams sisters are glad that Compton didn’t share your viewpoint.

      • http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bring-Melvin-To-America/193013541601?ref=sgm Andy In Sunny Daytona

        Sorry Bo, didn’t mean to step on your toes.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

      YS3 was built over the top of the old Mullaly Park footprint. Lost in that footprint was Mullaly Park’s 14 tennis courts, which have been used by the New York Junior Tennis League year round (they put a bubble up over the winter months) for the past 40 years in one of the South Bronx’s strongest and most vibrant/successful youth tennis programs.

      Hundreds of those black and Latino kids from the Highbridge and Morrisania neighborhoods participate in that NYJTL program. It’s universally praised as a successful nonprofit community initiative. Working in government in the YS2/YS3 neighborhood, I’ve personally watched said actual hundreds of kids on these courts myself.

      The South Bronx has tons of basketball courts. The tennis courts were a unique and important part of this neighborhood, and those “out of touch NYC pols” fought hard to have them retained in all the project writeups because they knew their constituents wanted and needed them. Again, I’m speaking from personal experience actually being in the room with these elected officials, community board members, and residents of these neighborhoods talking about how great and important the NYJTL program and the Mullaly Park Tennis Center is (or, rather, was) and how important it is to replace it.

      Your criticism is inaccurate.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

        BTW, to satisfy your curiosity, go look at the satellite view on Google Maps of the area. It hasn’t been updated in several years; YS3 doesn’t yet exist and YS2 is still fully intact.

        You’ll see the tennis courts quite prominently.

        Community residents never asked for anything they didn’t already have, they just wanted what they had to be retained. Part of it was retained; much of it was not. The total amount of parkland and recreational facilities is DECREASING in this project, not increasing.

        Take my word, though; the South Bronx community was way more interested in the YS3 project building tennis courts than they were in any single other sports/recreational facility.

      • http://forums.projectcovo.com/images/smilies/e6omir.gif Do Not Feed The Trolls!

        I worked for NYJTL a few years back. We have kids from all kinds of backgrounds and they all enjoyed playing tennis. Sure it might not be the go to sport but to dismiss a sport due to some stereotypes is asinine.

        Thats probably the first comment on RAB that made me angry.

    • Raf

      the tennis courts at Van Cortland park in the Bronx are full on the weekends all spring and summer. and not just full of kids of local executives. thats one of the most ridiculous statements ive ever heard.

    • Sparky

      The tennis courts are located in a section of park along the Harlem River.

      I attended a meeting in the Bronx last Tuesday where the Parks Dept presented the latest plans to the Community.

      First, while they still need final approval, these plans are pretty darn firm. Community people asked that over and over: “is this what we are going to get” and the answer was “yes.” So we should not expect a significant deviation from this plan.

      The second point is there was a lot of concern with the fact that the tennis courts are so far away now and the kids have to cross very busy streets by the new Gateway Center to get to them. So yes, the kids do use the courts a lot.

    • Eff

      I don’t know about pols trying to make themselves look good or anything, but having grown up in the area by the stadium, tennis courts occupied the spot where the VIP parking garage now sits along the third base side (for years), and the Stadium Racquet Club was across the street from that; so there were at least a dozen courts that were always occupied before the new stadium took the space. Regardless of who lives in the neighborhood, how could anyone somehow know if a kid is interested in a particular sport without any exposure.

      And there is a an artificial soccer field in Mullaly Park (1 block from the stadium) along with a brand new basketball facility that was built last year when the park was refurbished. Not to mention the roofop park with the new turf soccer field.

    • al

      Tennis courts were already at the old site but were knocked down these will just replace what already existed

  • whyjwhy

    If I’m not mistaken the new stadium was built where there were tennis courts which had a program for inner city youth. So it shouldn’t be such a shock that there would be tennis courts. Also, with that logic I guess it would be a waste to have basketball courts in the suburbs.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bring-Melvin-To-America/193013541601?ref=sgm Andy In Sunny Daytona

    Jesus will be the first one to hit it out of LCF from the second picture.

  • OldYanksFan

    Do Jews play tennis?

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

    June 2007
    Progress on parks uneven
    By Heather Appel
    Reporter, Highbridge Horizon Newspaper

    After some delays, Highbridge residents now have access to an interim track and field facility until the new Yankee Stadium and replacement parks are completed. Progress has been slower on the promised tennis courts and esplanade slated for the area just west of the Bronx Terminal Market development along the Harlem River…


    Tennis League Displaced

    One issue still outstanding is the loss of 14 tennis courts in Mullaly Park last August. Every summer, hundreds of Bronx children participate in the New York Junior Tennis League, and about 100 of them had grown accustomed to playing at Mullaly Park each day. With the arrival of another summer, representatives of the league say they’re still searching for a replacement for the Mullaly Park courts.

    The tennis courts will eventually be relocated to a new park on the waterfront between 151st and 163rd Streets, but that park won’t be completed until at least 2009.

    “We’ve had a program in Mullaly Park since 1970 — it’s one of our original programs,” said Allan Shweky, Director of Recreational Tennis at the New York Junior Tennis League. “We’ve run free programs for kids through the Parks Department,” he added.
    “We don’t have that many parks in our program, but that was a key site, and we had a lot of community response.”

    Shweky was hoping to find a location near Mullaly Park so the league can continue to serve the community and said there were possibilities for tennis courts at some local schoolyards, but nothing certain.”


  • V

    I still can’t get over this:

    Signage. Benches. Plaques. Viewfinders.

    That’s what will be left of YS2.

    Viewfinders. Really? Viewfinders?

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

      If it makes you feel any better:

      There’s a 1.2 BILLION dollar stadium right across the street. I hear it’s not too shabby, perhaps you should check it out.

      The residents of the Highbridge, Melrose, and Morrisania neighborhoods

      • http://iheartrerun.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/rerun.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        It doesn’t make me feel any better, because as far as I’m concerned it’s unrelated. What V is saying (V, correct me if I’m wrong) is that he/she is disappointed with the lack of attention paid to preserving any part of YS2, and having a spiffy YS3 next door doesn’t do anything to ameliorate that disappointment. Good for YS3, I’m glad it’s so nice. It also would have been important to me to have some part of YS2 preserved, whether it was the field and some seating areas (per the original plans) or just Gate 2 or, really, anything along those lines. To have YS2 disappear is just… Less than ideal, to a lot of us. In my mind, having a nice YS3 next door doesn’t change those feelings.

        (Before anyone jumps down my throat, I don’t think anybody’s going to cry about this or discontinue purchasing their tickets or anything. It’s just something some people are unhappy about – especially, in my opinion, because it easily could have been different, not to mention that we were told it would be different so to have that taken away creates disappointment.)

        • Slu

          The people who are unhappy are the people who’s opinions matter least – the non-residents of the South Bronx.

          The people of the South Bronx are entitled to get their park land back. If they cared enough about preserving Gate 2 or whatever, they would have fought for it. Fact is, they don’t care.

          There is literally millions of hours of video from YS2 and if it bothers you that much, I am sure Steiner Collectibles has something that will interest you.

          Seriously, it was just a baseball stadium – not the Lincoln Memorial.

  • Bart

    Anyway, about 75-100 years from now, this park will likely be the site of the next Yankee Stadium.

    • tommydee2000


    • K

      Bart, that is a good one! To those who are sad to loose the old YS: where where you when this was proposed by the YANKEES? They quietly shoved this project into our pockets, and no one objected because they were getting a new stadium. Did you care when they took the parkland? Did you care when they took city funds to build the new stadium? Enough of this — that was FOUR years aog. Deal with it.

  • Matt

    I think it looks great. The real Yankee stadium was gone a long time ago; the spirit of it will best be maintained by allowing children to play baseball there in the future.

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  • john

    “The proposed commemorative design elements, which received preliminary approval from the Public Design Commission [this week], include signage, benches, engraved plaques with historical narrative, viewfinders that allow participants to glimpse past events and an audio tour.”

    THIS is EXACTLY the kind of GIMMICKY garbage everyone wanted to avoid being left with to remember the original stadium by. Surprise, surprise.. Thank you Bloomberg, commission, and everyone else in charge.. Soon NYC will be nothing more than a DRAB suburban-mall-culture after Bloomberg and his cronies are done.

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  • Rob W

    The entire plan is a mistake. The Yankees should have been moved into the West Side Rail yards where Manhattanites (the only people who can even afford seats) could easily walk to games like in cities such as Boston and Baltimore. No fields should have been taken from the community. The old stadium could have been turned into a museum with part of the structure maintained and the field used for local or state level competitions. The revenue from frequent visits (imagine standing at home plate while the park service takes pictures, etc… could have been funneled back into maintenance and/or the community). The Old Yankee Stadium is a NATIONAL landmark!

    Even better, the stadium could have potentially have been used for the college world series currently held in a brand new facility in Omaha (Really?).

    Instead, a featureless, characterless, homage to brutalism has been erected where all but the ground level seating has been shifted to the periphery pushing most fans even further from the action. And a potential monument to the 20th century has been reduced to an intramural field.

    Somehow, other cities find the collective will to preserve their history, Boston, Philadelphia, Charleston, San Francisco, but not New York.

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