Bronx parks opening, but residents want more

The new and improved Jon Albaladejo
Open Thread: It's hot, baby

Heritage Field finally has an opening date. With old Yankee Stadium now fully demolished, the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation says the replacement park at the old stadium site will open in the fall of 2011, more than five years after the city shuttered Macombs Dam Park. Meanwhile, other green spaces — a skate park and a track and field area with initial completion dates of 2007 and 2009 respectively — are going to be feted with ribbon-cutting ceremonies in the coming weeks.

While South Bronx residents are thrilled to be getting some of the park land that was lost to the stadium back, many community activists still feel shortchanged. The new stadium shanghaied 25 acres of the old Macombs Dam Park, and the new green areas amount to just 22 acres of replacement parks. “It’s a dog and pony show, and they basically shrug their shoulders and act like everything is okay,” Geoffrey Croft of the NYC Park Advocates said to the Daily News. “The thing is a mess. It’s just a mess.” For more on Heritage Field and the city’s plan for this new park across the street from Yankee Stadium, check out our coverage from February.

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The new and improved Jon Albaladejo
Open Thread: It's hot, baby
  • Tom Swift

    So the delta is just 3 acres? That makes this a big deal?

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

      To a neighborhood with precious few green spaces as it is, yes.

      And some of that 22 acre figure includes fake grass FieldTurf green concrete. On top of a parking garage, no less.

      • http://www.theyankeeu.com/author/steve-s/ Nostra-Artist

        ..and it’s jammed with people every time I go to the Stadium, which is a lot.

        • NY Yankee Fan

          The complaints are crap. That area of the Bronx has tons of parks all over the place – unless walking a couple of blocks is too much. The people who should really complain are located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Very few parks and now the City is going to put a giant garbage recycling plant next to the only one on the east river side. So forgive me if I do not cry and tears for the local Bronx communinity living near Yankee stadium.

          • Gwen

            The complaints aren’t crap. Before you start shooting down people’s completely valid opinions, you should do some research. I live in the South Bronx, only seven blocks away from the stadium, and this area of the Bronx does not have that many parks. We have that one park. The rest are much farther and not within walking distance. Macombs is always packed but what the stadium mostly took the place of was a giant track field. I really don’t hear that much complaining from Bronx residents in the area, but the stadium took a bunch of space out of a park that is always crammed with people. We’ll get it back eventually, but you shouldn’t shoot down people’s valid complaints if you’ve never lived in the area. I lived in Manhattan for a few years as well, and I remember there being a bunch of parks in the area, including the biggest park in the city, so your tears for Manhattan residents are just as useless.

            • Gwen

              I completely forgot about Joyce Kilmer park, which is not as big or busy as Macombs and not as close to me as the latter, but my point still stands. Mullayly is also nearby, but that park, like Macombs, is constantly crowded. It would be nice to have more space so that there is more room for the Bronx residents who like to get out of their apartments during the spring/summer.

    • Mike HC

      To be fair, it is also the amount of time it has taken to get all the parks set up. I can see how that would have a direct negative impact on many peoples lives in the neighborhood.

      • Gwen

        It’s really not that bad. The sad thing is that the old stadium site is basically just rubble and dirt. The construction machines they have in the place are loud and run most of the day, so an already busy/loud area becomes louder with the addition of the machines over crowds of people and the underground and overground subways. I don’t want to say the old stadium area is an eye sore, but that’s what it is. We have this beautiful new ballpark in the area and across it is…dirt. It would be nice to see them build the park quickly and open it to make the area a slight bit more attractive.

  • Kiersten

    Nice to see it will be open just in time for the first blizzard of the season.

  • Mike HC

    I think that is a fair tradeoff to keep the Yanks playing in the Bronx. Imagine what would happen to the neighborhood without the Yanks in town.

    I do think having parks and greenery in the city is a big deal though. So I understand the communities frustration 100%.

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

      I think that is a fair tradeoff to keep the Yanks playing in the Bronx.

      What were the real chances of the Yankees leaving the Bronx, though?

      0.5%?

      • Mike HC

        Right, but the potential loss on that .5% chance would be catastrophic. So, in my opinion, 3 acres of parkland is a fair tradeoff for having the Yanks build their new stadium in the Bronx.

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

          It wasn’t going to happen. Realistically, where were they going to? Not New Jersey. Not Manhattan. Not out of the New York area.

          • Mike HC

            I agree that realistically it was not going to happen, but the Bronx does not have some predetermined right to have the Yanks play there.

            While losing 3 acres of parkland is not optimal, I still personally believe it is fair.

  • A.D.

    Was the plan to lose 3 acres from the start, or was this unexpected?

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

      The city promised that every acre of lost parkland would be replaced.

  • http://www.theyankeeu.com/author/steve-s/ Nostra-Artist

    Saying community activists are unhappy with something the city is doing is like saying water is wet. Living in this city my whole life, you learn to tune them out at some point. I’d be much more interested in seeing a poll of local residents, and whether or not they’re happy or unhappy with the project as a whole. Not the opinion of people who claim to speak for them, and much of the time actually don’t.

    I know one thing, those new shopping centers are jammed year-round and wouldn’t be there if not part of a larger development plan. The new parks may be smaller, but are far more diverse in terms of activities offered than the bigger Macombs Dam Park. The new Stadium is gorgeous, employs more people than the old facility, and is a international landmark in an otherwise economically depressed area. On balance, the plus’s outweigh the minus’s by so much that you have to conclude the city did the right thing, even if it isn’t perfect, which nothing ever is.

    • NY Yankee Fan

      Sentiment among area residents polled recently concerning the efforts at parkland redevelopment was mixed.

      “They took away a lot,” said Joseph Texeira, 39, of Jerome Ave. as he walked his dog through Macombs Dam Park. “The old jogging field was much better. The new one is all artificial turf and it feels fake. There’s no trees. It’s just not natural.”

      Michael Smith, 35, of 149th St., disagreed as he wrapped up a run around the new track, Joseph Yancy Track and Field, while a number of others jogged around it on a recent morning.

      The facility also includes four basketball courts, eight handball courts and fitness equipment.

      “This is beautiful,” said Smith. “It’s just beautiful. When I called my mother and told her about this, she was shocked because she remembered what the Bronx used to be like.

      “I mean, this is a full-fledged field. They may have taken some away when they built the new stadium, but look at what they gave back.”

      Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_.....z0rimSyIkM

      • http://www.theyankeeu.com/author/steve-s/ Nostra-Artist

        Thanks for that, but all the parks aren’t opened yet so the final tally is yet to be taken. Let folks see the finished product and then we can see what they think, pro or con.

    • Mooks

      I really don’t see how they can complain about losing a park for 5 years. Parks are nice but the thousands of jobs created by the construction of the new Stadium, as well as all those now permanently employed there, are a lot nicer.

      • http://www.theyankeeu.com/author/steve-s/ Nostra-Artist

        That’s not fair. I’m all for economic development but the locals have every right to bitch about losing parkland, even temporarily. It’s a densely populated area and even despite the fact that there are other parks nearby, every bit of green space in that neighborhood is needed. My only point is that the project as a whole was clearly an upgrade to the old Baseball and park facilities.