The Yankees Opens Its New Doors

Friday, April 03, 2009

Yesterday, nearly 20,000 people toured the new Yankee Stadium during an Open House. Most were in awe of the grandiose billion-dollar structure, but others remained ambivalent about what the facility can do for people in the Bronx. WNYC's Elaine Rivera reports.

Slideshow: The New Yankee Stadium

REPORTER: From children to seniors, fans and residents and the just plain curious, thousands waited in line to get a chance to see the new home for the world's most recognizable sports franchise - the Yankees. Students from nearby schools got some time off to come visit the new stadium.

STUDENT: We are the first people to get in Yankee Stadium it's awesome spectacular...

STUDENT: Like they have classy restaurants and gift shops and the view is so beautiful - I love it

STUDENT: The first thing I came for was the baseball players and the second thing is the food...I love it

STUDENT: I'm very excited because I've never been to any Yankee stadium and I'm just happy...

REPORTER: That's Bronx resident Jaysuliz Alfred from P.S. 46. Like Alfred, senior citizen Audrey Lightner attended the open house because she never went to the old stadium in the more than six decades of living in the Bronx.

LIGHTNER: I'm very impressed and I'd like to see all of this and it's so much to see - I'm overwhelmed - I haven't seen the old but I'd like to see the new...

REPORTER: The day began with the christening of the new Hard Rock Cafe, one of several restaurants featured at the new stadium. VIPS smashed Fender guitars on the floor and former Yankee star Bernie Williams did a rendition of Take Me Out to the Ballgame for the local school kids. Among the guitar-smashing VIPS was Yankees president, Randy Levine. He tipped his hat to the "COMMUNITY" during his remarks.

LEVINE: We made sure that the first people to come into this stadium were residents, the kids, the people in the Bronx, because without their help, without their input without their cooperation and participation this building would never have happened - we owe it to them...

REPORTER: But Levine's generous words may not be enough. A protest is scheduled today and after opening day by an ad hoc coalition of groups that feel the Yankees have offered too LITTLE to the community, and have not yet replaced the 22 acres of parkland they took away to build the stadium.

Bronx resident Jose Galarza brought his six-year-old son Jordan to the event. He captures the ambivalence that many nearby Bronx residents feel about the new stadium.

While he was in awe and excited about the new venue, he says it's been difficult for the kids without their parks.

GALARZA: Well are these kids are going to play ball at now we got to share parks for the kids they don't have a place to play...

REPORTER: But Galarza says hopefully: I'll assume they'll work something out...

The official opening day for the Yankees in the new stadium is April 16th. Tickets range from $5 bleacher seats with an obstructed view, to $2,000 front row seats. For WNYC, I'm Elaine Rivera.


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