While the World Champion Yankees are fighting their way through lower Manhattan traffic this morning, a more somber ceremony is taking place in the Bronx, where the demolition of old Yankee Stadium has now begun in earnest. WCBS Radio helicopter pilot Tom Kaminski snapped a photo of a backhoe tearing into the left-field bleachers on Wednesday, and another yesterday that shows the center-field bleachers (aka “the black”) partly collapsed into debris.
David Lombino, a spokesperson for the city Economic Development Corporation, which is handling the demolition, confirms that “the dismantling work began this week,” and indicates that those of you without news choppers will be able to see for yourselves shortly: “Major pieces of the stadium, which will be visible from outside the stadium, will begin to be dismantled next month.”
Though the images are likely to be a punch in the gut to many Yankee fans, Bronx residents are mostly wondering why this has taken so long. Shea Stadium, after all, was completely razed over the offseason last winter (demolition porn here), and locals are waiting impatiently for the new “Heritage Field” park that will finally enable schoolkids to stop playing their home baseball games in New Rochelle. (The “heritage” part will come in the form of one field aligned with the old Yankee Stadium infield, plus, according to Lombino, a walking path that “will outline the perimeter of the old Yankee Stadium with plaques and markers that commemorate its place in New York City baseball history.”) What happened? Let’s follow the bouncing wrecking ball:
The current plan, according to the Parks Department’s official timetable, is for “deconstruction” to be complete by next summer, with Heritage Field complete by fall of 2011. Lombino, however, now says that the new park will take “a year and a half” to build, while still maintaining that it will open “on schedule.” Of course, there’s opening, and then there’s opening. Photo (cc) Shelley Panzarella.