Sunday, November 22, 2009

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

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