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July 19, 2005
Rumbles in the Bronx
Any notion that the New York Yankees stadium plan could sail through without local opposition was exploded last night, as nearly 200 people packed a meeting room at the Bronx Museum for a hearing on the city's environmental impact review of the project.
After a few words of cautious optimism from local elected officials, residents of the South Bronx neighborhood unleashed a barrage of criticism of the stadium plan, ranging from the loss of parkland for up to five years ("I'm concerned with our youngsters not having to wait until the Yankee stadium is up before they can play in these parks") to the increased traffic from new parking garages ("it's absurd to bring more cars to this neighborhood when all the kids are sick with asthma") to the effect of years of construction on residents of apartment buildings across from the proposed stadium site on Jerome Avenue ("I feel like I'm being forced out of this neighborhood, and I've lived here 35 years... I don't know what the plan is, but I don't think the plan is for a lot of us to remain"). The city's lack of notice to the community board or to local residents and businesses that the project was coming - "we heard nothing," said Louis Gonzalez, one of the proprietors of the family-owned Stan's Sports World across the street from Yankee Stadium - was a common refrain, and a popular one, to judge from the bursts of applause that greeted each remark.
The final speaker, Daniel Tavares, a resident of the Jerome Avenue apartments, pointed to his tank top as evidence of his frequent use of the Macombs Dam running track, which would be obliterated by the new stadium. "This is not a stadium that's for the Bronx," he thundered, noting that most local residents can't afford high-priced tickets. "If this is not a done deal, we have to march around that stadium 50,000 times" - and the rest of his remarks were drowned out by thunderous applause.