The Yankees and the city Parks Department broke ground on the replacement Yankee Stadium in Summer, 2006. Bulldozers scooped the brown dirt clods of the former Macombs Dam Park and piled it into large metal dump trucks, making way for the new ballpark.
Now the Bronx Bombers are playing in a new $1.5 billion stadium. Meanwhile, All Hallows Catholic High School, long a fixture of the diamonds in Macombs Dam Park, is still searching for a new place to call home.
“When they built Citi Field in Flushing, they knocked Shea Stadium down before they threw the first pitch in Citi Field,” the Bronx school’s principal and baseball coach Sean Sullivan said. “It’s very frustrating. But we have to adapt, adjust and improvise.”
All Hallows used Macombs Dam Park as a home field for its baseball, soccer and track teams until the start of the stadium construction. Now All Hallows’ baseball players are reluctant road warriors, playing their home games on opponents’ fields and holding practices in the school’s basement cafeteria.
Sullivan – and many other in the Bronx – want the city and the Yankees to make good on a promise to build a replacement park on the old stadium site. “Shame on you,” he said. “You took from my kids. You haven’t backed your word as to what you were going to do to help the situation here.”
Delay of Game
Work on the new park was supposed to start last year. It’s been put off until 2010, angering many Bronx residents, who rallied on April 18 amid the Yankees’ Opening Weekend.
A group of nearly 30 parked themselves in front of the old stadium, chanting “Broken promises!” as they shook their fists at the new ballpark.
“You know, we see a new palace here,” said Ramon Jimenez, a local Bronx activist and attorney. “But the contrast of the palace and the way people live here is quite evident.”
“We got a raw deal,” said Bronx resident Manuel Rodriguez. “And [the Yankees] need to make this right.”
Yankee officials did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
– Maya Pope-Chappell, Lois DeSocio, Alex Green IV, Nicholas C. Martinez and Rachel Senatore