The former site of Macombs Dam Park. (Courtesy of Ariel Goldman/Yankees.com)
For me, Yankee Stadium is a hallowed spot in this city. It’s a baseball temple, a mecca to the game and to the team, and soon it will be gone. With little opposition from Yankee fans, the Boss is going to tear it down so he can have his luxury boxes. Four million fans can’t be wrong, but someone in the Bronx thinks they are.
Now, I won’t wax philosophical on Yankee Stadium here. If you want my baseball writings, you can find them at River Ave. Blues. But if Yankee Stadium — or at the least the new Yankee Stadium — makes its appearances on these pages, you can bet the Metropolitan Transit Authority is in on the act somehow, some way. And if you guessed “real estate cost increases,” well, step right up because it’s your turn to play The Price is Wrong.
As part of the new Yankee Stadium and all of the trappings that a fancy new stadium brings to an old neighborhood, the MTA had planned to build a Metro-North Transportation Center. Suburban fans — or should I say, “fans” — would be able to ride in style to the House that George’s Money Built.
But like everything the MTA touches these days, the real estate values of the land needed for this Yankee Stadium hub have turned to gold. Matthew Schuerman at the The New York Observer Real Estate blog notes that the MTA doesn’t have enough money to construct this Metro-North hub.
It always seemed like a funny trick to get support for the new Yankee Stadium: build a new Metro North station nearby, not with the Yankees’ money, mind you, but with the public’s. Unfortunately, the $45 million that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority had set aside for the project, which was supposed to start this spring, is not nearly enough.
Try $80 million instead.
Gosh, this all sounds quiet familiar. Maybe it’s because just three days ago, costs for the Second Ave. subway rose due to real estate values. Maybe it’s because Bronx borough president and Yankee buddy Adolfo Carrion woefully underestimated the construction costs for the new hub.
In the end, it doesn’t matter; the Metro-North stop at Yankee Stadium simply won’t be built if the funds aren’t there. Luckily for the rest of the city, the MTA will spend this money on infrastructure maintenance and other, more pressing capital construction projects. As for that new Yankee Stadium, it sure does look inevitable. It will be a sad day for the city when the House that Ruth Built goes the way of Ebbets Field and the Polo Grounds.
A good tip o’ the hat to Steve Lombardi for this story.