When the Yankees opened their new stadium and pinstriped stars like Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera ran onto the field for the first time, the cheers of delirious New York fans echoed for miles. But to environmentalists and residents in surrounding neighborhoods, a Bronx cheer seems a more appropriate response to the new Yankee Stadium project, which they say isn’t nearly green enough, grass notwithstanding.
A baseball’s throw from the storied old yard that housed the Bronx Bombers from 1923-2008, the new Yankee Stadium opened to fanfare this spring. While the park accommodates fewer spectators (52,325, including standing room), it boasts more concessionaires, restrooms and nearly double the retail space of the old haunts. There are also more luxury suites: 56 instead of 19, plus 410 “party suites.”
The high-rolling Yankees have long led the major leagues in financial clout, and New York’s new $1.3 billion home looks like a license to print money. Front-row seats sell for $2,500 each and some fans are committing to season ticket plans for as long as 10 years.
But don’t expect to see parks advocates lined up at the turnstiles. They and some of the stadium’s Bronx neighbors are furious at the Yankees and the city for building over more than 25 acres of public parkland and cutting down 377 mature trees, 70% of the local tree population in a poor area that already had a sky-high asthma rate.