Yankees' Free Lunch Gets Pricier

Ka-ching! The public cost of the proposed Yankees stadium just went up. Turns out the four new parking garages the Bombers want will cost not $70 million in state funds, as early reports had it, but rather $234.8 million, with the rest coming from an as-yet-to-be-picked private developer. And all parking fees will go not to the state, but to the developer—leaving the $70 million as a "capital subsidy," which is city bean counters' demure term for "money pit." Add that to the $374 million in tax and rent breaks discussed in this week's Voice, and Bloomberg's "no public subsidies" stadium would cost the public $444 million.

Hidden costs were among the issues not addressed at last night's stadium "town meeting" called by Bronx Borough President (and stadium backer) Adolfo Carrion. The event was scheduled as a two-hour airing of neighborhood grievances about the plan to drop a stadium down atop Macombs Dam and Mullaly Parks, but the first 90 minutes were soaked up by speechifying and Powerpoint presentations from Yankees execs and city planners, leaving the 300-odd attendees who'd packed a South Bronx gym cooling their heels—and, eventually, jeering, heckling, and chanting, "Let the community talk!"

When the audience questions finally came, they were no friendlier, running from skepticism about the promise of community jobs to calls for the city to renovate the Yankees' existing ballpark or choose another site. When Greg Bell of Bronx Voices for Equal Inclusion declared about the new stadium, "Put it south and west, as recommended by your community board," he was met by a standing ovation.

Carrion, meanwhile, played the role of increasingly peevish school principal, at one point shushing the peanut gallery with the admonition, "The purpose of a public hearing is for people to ask questions!" Not long after, he called the proceedings to a close and fled the podium, clutching the sign-in sheets of at least twenty community members who had yet to speak.


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