10 acres, river view

Wondering about that picture in the banner up there?  (Of course you are.)  It’s the subway station at the Yankee Stadium stop.

I was born less than three miles from the Big Ballyard: Union Hospital, 188th St. and Valentine Ave.  Both of my parents grew up just two miles further uptown from there, 205th St. and Perry Ave.

Yankee Stadium is in my family history:

my dad, a teenager working there for concessionaire Harry M. Stevens, on the day he planned to dip into the till to fund his running away from home, popping his head up from behind the counter, cigarette hanging from the corner of his mouth, and coming face to face with his own father, who talked him into coming home (and prevented the crime!)

my mom, the single working woman who got free tickets behind the dugout from her employer, on the day she was appalled that the visiting team player who she’d been fixed up with got into a fight on the field with Billy Martin (no second date for you, Clint Courtney!)

I became a Yankees fan in adulthood but the Stadium and its history fascinated me long before that.  So I’m sad to see it being torn down, although I understand all the good reasons why that has to happen.

A thoughtful piece in today’s New York Times brought me to the destruction site; then I took myself on a trip—to my first adult visit to the park in the 1980s, to the team’s glory days of the 50s, to my family’s history in the 40s and 30s, back to the first Opening Day (1923, Yanks beat the Sawks 4-1), back to ten acres of farmland overlooking the Harlem River with a view to the Polo Grounds.

Oh well…I also found a story in the Daily News that offers some explanation of why this is taking so long, and another site photo-documenting the  demolition.  Which also fascinates me.

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