Mar 17, 2009, 10:26AM

Baseball's Cathedrals

The Mets and the Yankees are getting some new digs. How will they hold up?

Architecture as urban vocabulary:

At the old Yankee Stadium, that place was from the elevated tracks of the Lexington Avenue subway, and one nice feature of the new stadium is that that, too, has been re-created. There is a break between the right-field stands and the scoreboard, and you can see the trains sliding by. The new stadium feels more tightly woven into the fabric of the city than the old one did. (It will feel even more so once a Metro-North station opens there, later this year, and once the city finally makes good on its obligation to replace the Macombs Dam Park facilities lost in construction of the new stadium with parkland on and around the site of the previous one.) If you approach it by driving along Jerome Avenue, you see a couple of the Bronx’s finest Art Deco apartment houses across the street from the west façade, and you get a hint of the subtle counterpoint that once existed between a baseball park and an urban setting. The stadium is bigger and more imposing than everything around it, of course, but it seems to grow out of its surroundings, and this somehow rescues the building from its own pomposity. In a way, the apartment houses on Jerome Avenue, the jumble of storefronts and bars under the elevated tracks on River Avenue, and the constant presence of street life shape the stadium as much as its designers have.

  • Yankee hagiography in The New Yorker. One point Goldberger gets completely wrong is that Yankee Stadium is in the midst of a thriving urban neighborhood. Sure, thriving with criminals. The only time it's safe there, and not always then, is when there's a game on. Walk two blocks from the stadium and it's very dicey.

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  • True, the baseball world revolves around the Yankees. I wish they'd finish in last one year, and we'd get a break from ESPN's bowing down to Derek Jeter and all those other Yanks "who leave it all on the field."

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