Friday, November 27, 2009

Volunteer brigade fighting time to save Yankee Stadium Gate 2

BEACH: Volunteer brigade fighting time to save Yankee Stadium Gate 2
Friday, November 27, 2009

By Randall Beach

A call has gone out for volunteers who want to help save the endangered gate at the original Yankee Stadium.

There is precious little time to make this happen and overcome the New York City bureaucrats as well as the uncooperative Yankees ownership.

Since I wrote about the effort in this space last June, citizens from many states have joined in the Committee to Commemorate Old Yankee Stadium. Although virtually all of the old stadium is doomed to be demolished, these activists still hope to preserve the original Gate 2.

Their plan is to maintain the gate as part of Heritage Field, which will replace the stadium with three ballfields. Those fields are needed because the new Yankee Stadium was built on existing baseball diamonds and other park land.

New York City Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe said the city intends to knock down the entire old stadium. “Preserving the facade would make it difficult to maximize the park space,” he said.

Moreover, a spokesman for New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has repeated other city officials’ claims that restoring the gate would cost $15 million.

But the Save the Gate brigade, including Tim Reid and Mark Costello, believe it can be done for $1 million or less, especially with all of the volunteers stepping up to the plate. They also proposed raising funds through a commemorative brick drive that would place bricks at plazas around the stadium.

Reid recently e-mailed me the announcement of a “Save the Gate volunteer worker program.” It’s designed to eliminate all labor costs associated with saving Gate 2.

“Join with other architects, engineers, construction foremen and laborers, iron workers, cost estimators, lawyers, historians, preservationists, painters, masons, waterproofers, safety and security professionals, insurance and contracts experts, among others, all helping to save this irreplaceable treasure,” said the announcement.

“The more volunteers, the better!” it added.

Anybody who wants to help is asked to contact the Committee to Commemorate Old Yankee Stadium by going to If you do this, state your skill or trade and the number of days you can volunteer.

One of those volunteers is historic architect Jeffrey Bianco of Middletown.

Although Bianco told me this week that he has sometimes felt like “a voice crying out in the wilderness,” he now thinks the gate-savers are making solid progress.

“The New York City landmarks officials (the Design Commission) have heard us and agreed they’d like to see a new Parks and Recreation plan that we hope incorporates what we’ve proposed,” Bianco said.

“Knocking it all down is disturbing,” Bianco told me, and I certainly didn’t give him any argument about that. “It cuts against my grain as a Yankee fan and a Bronx native.”

Indeed, Bianco’s first job was selling peanuts at the Stadium “in the (Mickey) Mantle era.”

He said saving the gate “makes complete sense. It’s there already; it’s tremendously important culturally as a landmark.”

Bianco concluded, “The dream is for kids to walk through this gate and feel like Yankees.”

But ideas that make sense don’t always get acted upon by city officials. When the gate savers proposed their volunteer program, Benepe wouldn’t let Bianco and another architect make an on-site visit to evaluate the gate project.

In a follow-up letter to Benepe and other officials, Reid noted the volunteers would “save the city huge time and money.”

Reid has called the original Yankee Stadium “the most historic sports site in American history” and it’s tough to argue with that assessment. Reid wonders why Benepe is “dead-set on destroying all of the old Stadium, no matter what evidence and opportunities compel its preservation and commemoration.”

Reid noted Gate 2 is not scheduled for demolition for more than a month, so there is still time for the on-site visit and putting into gear the volunteer program.

But let’s face it, a month or so isn’t much breathing room when you’re dealing with bureaucrats.

That’s why Reid concluded in his appeal letter: “Time is of the essence.”

Randall Beach can be reached at, or 203-789-5766 203-789-5766.


© 2009, a Journal Register Property

Sunday, November 22, 2009

SAVE THE GATE - Volunteer Worker Program

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, November 20, 2009

Committee to Commemorate
Old Yankee Stadium

Volunteer Worker Program

The Committee to Commemorate Old Yankee Stadium has created, developed, and proposed to the City of New York the "SAVE THE GATE Volunteer Worker Program", designed to eliminate all labor costs potentially associated with the saving of Gate 2 at Old Yankee Stadium, and other improvements to the new park design for the
Old Yankee Stadium site.

Join with other architects, engineers, construction foremen and laborers, iron workers, cost estimators, lawyers, historians, preservationists, painters, masons, water proofers, safety and security professionals, insurance and contracts experts, among others - all helping to save this irreplaceable treasure.

Help SAVE THE GATE and otherwise transform the Old Yankee Stadium site into the preeminent park its majestic history compels.

The more volunteers the better!!!

All interested parties should contact the Committee to Commemorate Old Yankee Stadium; providing your name, applicable skill, trade or profession - as well as a brief description of the services and number of days you would like to volunteer.

Help make the Old Yankee Stadium site a park worthy of its unparalleled history!!!


Please Contact the Committee to Commemorate Old Yankee Stadium:

Public Design Commission Hearing - 10/26/09

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, October 26, 2009


The Hearing was a GREAT success, resulting in official disapproval of the severely flawed preliminary plan for the old Yankee Stadium Site!!!

The Parks Department has been firmly directed to overhaul the park design - either saving the Gate - or proving why they can not!

Below is the Committee's very well received presentation

As presented by Cindy Jones

Committee to Commemorate

Old Yankee Stadium

Public Design Commission Hearing

New York City Hall

October 26, 2009


Thank you so very much for this great honor & opportunity to speak on behalf of people around the country, who so passionately want to pay tribute to the greatest Stadium in the American history….America’s Coliseum…Old Yankee Stadium.

As Mayor Bloomberg reported only last year, in the "Official Yankee Stadium Retrospective" Old Yankee Stadium is one of New York's three most asked-about New York City international icons, along with Empire State Building, and the Empire State Building. Wherever he travels around the world, he said, people always ask about [Old] Yankee Stadium.

Dozens of international luminaries, including presidents, governors, and celebrities of every type - joined the Mayor in this book - one of many hundreds written on the history of the Stadium - voicing how very highly regarded the Stadium is around the world.

Indeed, it is Old Yankee Stadium's unmatched prominence, that compelled me to fly in this morning from my home state of Virginia, to encourage and plead to the great City of New York to "properly preserve and celebrate" this national landmark and treasure.

Commissioners, the Committee to Commemorate Old Yankee Stadium request that you please Save Gate 2,

The exciting reality is that Gate 2 IS overwhelmingly original - as the two photos of Gate 2 before you make unmistakably clear - one from the 1930's and the other taken just this year. The City's original belief that Gate 2 was NOT original was wrong.

And, moreover, Gate 2 is PERFECTLY located between New and Old Yankee Stadiums -- providing a magnificent architectural, and even spiritual, Gateway, connecting our past to our future.

As Bronx County Historian, Dr. Lloyd Ultan, observed in Paul Goldberger's recent article in the New Yorker citing authoritative criticisms of preliminary park design:

“What’s missing from the park plan is the architecture of the Stadium itself.”

- later stating that a large, tangible part of the original stadium is needed to effectively communicate the original Stadium's majesty & size, like ruins of antiquity so powerfully do.

Architectural experts Rick Bell, Jeff Bianco, Phil Reina - along with so many others - the preliminary design as "lacking authenticity".

In fact, neither Babe, nor Lou, saw ANYTHING included in the current proposal!

BUT, they saw Gate 2!!


Yankee Stadium historians across the country - including Bill Jenkinson and the City's own Dr. Ultan - emphatically agree, adding that a meaningful tangible memory from the Stadium's most glorious days is needed to properly record its irreplaceable preeminence.

As Paul Doherty, a leading authority on Yankee Stadium, put it:

"Gate 2 will serve as a cultural lamp post to the great eras of New York City's sporting dominance - second only to the Roman Coliseum in its importance to the overall history of world sports."

The essential point we all must remember is that:

If Gate 2 is not saved, nothing of the Stadium's most glorious era and architecture will be!

We also respectfully request, Commissioners, that the Old Yankee Stadium Site be called "Old Yankee Stadium Park", rather than the overly common and nondescript "Heritage Field", or "Park" of which there are so very many across the country - including one at the Cleveland Indians' Stadium right up the road in the Yankees' own AL East!

"Old Yankee Stadium Park" is clearly a far better name - one that truly "celebrates the site's rich history", as is the charter and goal of the Commission. Paul Goldberger, the renowned New York historic architect - and the City's Board Member for the National Trust for Historic Preservation - also disapproves of the name. Dr. Ultan emphatically joins him, along with preeminent historians and Baseball fans of the Stadium across the City, and country.

For similarly compelling reasons, we request the baseball area of the new park be called "Babe Ruth Memorial Field" - to both tribute New York's greatest and beloved sports hero, and to replace the original "Babe Ruth Memorial Baseball Filed" - recently destroyed to make way for New Yankee Stadium. Your very distinguished Art Commission predecessor, Williams Adams Delano, was a leading participant in the creation of Babe Ruth Memorial Field, created sixty years ago, as a "permanent" tribute to New York's (still) most beloved and immortal sports figure - New York's great Babe Ruth.

In closing Commissioners, I quote another New York great, Jackie Kennedy, who did so very much for preserving this great City's cultural treasures, and whose statement forty years ago so perfectly addresses why we must save Gate 2:

"Is it not cruel to let New York die by degrees, stripped of all her proudest moments, until there will be nothing left of history and beauty to inspire our children? If they are not inspired by the past of our City, where will they find the strength to fight for her future? Americans care about their past, but, for short term gain, they ignore it and tear down everything that matters. This is the time to take a stand and reverse the tide."

Please, Commissioners, save Gate 2, at "Old Yankee Stadium Park" - not only for Babe & Lou … but, most of all, for all our children and loved ones - and all those who follow us - so they can see and even touch "The House That Ruth Built" - the greatest Stadium in our nation's history- "Old Yankee Stadium.".



"The Official Yankee Stadium Retrospective", Published 2008.


New Haven Register: "There Still May be Time to Save "The House That Ruth Built", September 7, 2008.

New Haven Register: "Yankee Fans Need to Move Quick to Save the Gate That Ruth Built", June 17, 2009.

New York Daily News: "Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe Confirms Plans to Level Yankee Stadium", June 23, 2009.

New Yorker: by Paul Goldberger, "The Future of Old Yankee Stadium", August 10, 2009

New York Daily News: "Old Yankee Stadium's Gate 2 Focus of Debate as Part of New Heritage Park", ["The Gate Debate"] August 17, 2009.

Daily News: "Last Pitch to Save Gate 2" September 28, 2009.

Written Expert Endorsements:

Paul Doherty, Yankee Stadium Historian, September 28, 2009 [Attached]

Brad Turnow, New York Yankees Historian, September 28, 2009 [Attached]

Jeff Wattrick, Historic Preservationist, September 28, 2009 [Attached]

Peter Comstock Riley, Historic Preservationist, September 30, 2009 [Attached]

George Mole', Captain NYPD, Bronx Urban Affairs Commentator, October 1, 2009 [Attached]

Phillip J. Reina, Architect, October 1, 2009 [Attached]

Jeffrey Dale Bianco, Historic Architect, Past President of Connecticut AIA,
October 2, 2009 [Attached]

Expert Endorsements on Archived Radio Shows:

Baseball Digest LIVE, with Mark Healy: "SAVE THE GATE" June 30, 2009

[Expert Opinions of Baseball Historians Bill Jenkinson, Linda Ruth Tosetti, Mark Healy & Tim Reid. Historic Preservation Architect Jeff Bianco]

Baseball Digest LIVE, with Mark Healy: "Preserving the Past" October 5, 2009

[Expert Opinions of Baseball Historians Bill Jenkinson, Paul Doherty, Mark Healy & Tim Reid. Historic Preservation Architect Jeff Bianco. Historical Preservationists Jeff Wattrick & Peter Comstock Riley]

Visual Evidence

Side-by-Side Photographic Comparison of 1930's Gate, and Spring 2009 Gate: Produced by Joe Staluppi, Graphic Designer

Model of Proposed Gate 2 Monument at Old Yankee Stadium Site, Yankee Stadium Modeler, Mike Hagan


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, October 19, 2009



Proposed by Citizens and Groups
from Around the Country to Help
at the
"The House That Ruth Built"

For the purpose of saving historic Gate 2 at Old Yankee Stadium, baseball groups, the Committee to Commemorate Old Yankee Stadium & the Committee to Commemorate Babe Ruth - speaking for and acting on behalf of Baseball fans, historians, architects, historic preservationists, and other concerned citizens, groups, and relevant experts from New York and around the nation, has voluntarily researched and developed a
public fundraising campaign to the City of New York, entitled the "SAVE THE GATE" Commemorative Brick Drive.

This Commemorative Brick Drive will be similar to ones throughout Major League Ballparks and other leading sports venues throughout the world, such as the highly successful programs employed by the Mets at Citi Field (Fanwalk), the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium, the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, and the Cleveland Indians' "Heritage Park."

Based on Committee studies and expert estimates, commemorative bricks at plazas & walkways encompassing the new parkland and ball fields scheduled to replace the historic site of Old Yankee Stadium could generate well over 5 Million dollars (as other MLB "legacy" brick memorials have) - depending on exact design. This would provide the City of New York millions of dollars more than is needed to save historic Gate 2!!

Legacy brick plazas & walkways would also dramatically increase YEAR-ROUND tourism and visitation to the much-in-need Old Yankee Stadium neighborhood - where residents and businesses have lost critical revenues with the Stadium's closure and destruction. Saving Gate 2 will make the new park one of the most respected and profitable in the country. These brick plazas & walkways would also simultaneously enhance the currently poor aesthetics of the preliminary "Heritage Field" plan, exponentially improving the historic and cultural "disconnect" decried by historic design experts. (Adding extra elegance and attraction, the commemorative bricks can be made in magnificent blue, white and gray combinations, in unique tribute to the Stadium's unparalleled place in history.)

The Parks Department's preliminary plan for the historic Old Yankee Stadium is the highly controversial and criticized "Heritage Field", which retains absolutely NOTHING from Old Yankee Stadium. This as yet unapproved plan has been emphatically objected to by officials, experts, and fans, who regard it as historically, architecturally, and aesthetically "bland" and "inauthentic". It's MOST tragic failure is that it omits saving anything from original Yankee Stadium - a fatal flaw easily corrected with the saving of the 1920's era Gate 2. (The Parks Department abruptly withdrew from their October 5 appearance before the NYC Design Commission, where they were scheduled to defend against these widespread and well-informed criticisms in a Public Hearing before New York City Design Commission, which oversees the aesthetic and architectural suitability of all public projects in New York City.)

Parks Department has told the media (without providing any evidence whatsoever ) that the cost of saving Gate 2 - the original Stadium's most glorious remaining element - is too prohibitive, claiming (again without providing any evidence) it would cost "10 Million dollars". Architectural and structural engineering experts assess the cost at only 1 Million dollars, less than the cost of demolishing and removing the Gate. In other words, experts believe it will cost less to save Gate 2 than to destroy it!!!

In any case, the "SAVE THE GATE" Commemorative Brick Drive would eliminate any cost concern - providing up to 10 Million dollars - thereby saving a majestic part of America's greatest and most historically important stadium, thereby assuring that the historic site of Old Yankee Stadium be more properly preserved, protected & commemorated - making it one of the premier urban parks in America - rather than the unnecessary mediocre and uninspired architectural, aesthetic, cultural, and historical flop that's now proposed by the Parks' Department.

For further information, please call or write the contacts below - who can also put you in touch with historians, preservationists, architects, and other relevant experts, helping to save the gate.

SAVE THE GATE videos prepared by Committee to Commemorate Old Yankee Stadium members can be seen at: See, for example: "TOP 9 REASONS TO SAVE THE GATE", a musical summary of why the Gate should be saved (to Four of a Kind's "Take Me Out to the Ballgame"), which includes a brief depiction and description of the proposed SAVE THE GATE Commemorative Brick Drive (at "Reason No. 7", 1:04 - 1:14)


Information provided above was derived from consultation with top authorities in the fields of Baseball, architecture, New York history & historic preservation, as well as with top "legacy brick" fundraising experts.

For Further Information, Please contact:

Tim Reid
Committee to Commemorate Old Yankee Stadium


Welcome to the official blog spot for The Committee to Commemorate Old Yankee Stadium. This blog will be used to share press releases, concepts, thoughts, ideas, plans, etc. all pertaining to old Yankee Stadium and Gate 2.

We welcome input and ideas from everyone.

Start following us today and help get involved in commemorating old Yankee Stadium and helping to save gate 2!

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The Committee to Commemorate Old Yankee Stadium - CCOYS