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Mark Lamster | Essays

Bronx Cheer


To say that I've been disappointed by coverage of the new Yankee Stadium by the design press would be an understatement, as noted in this "rant" column for ID magazine. The piece was written before the most recent spate of reviews, which only confirm my thesis that critics are far too concerned with formal criteria and not nearly enough with the many factors that truly define good design (and are most critical to fans). Take, for example, the response by Times critic Nicolai Ourossouff, who does not mention any of the controversy surrounding the stadium's financing, its appropriation of public land, or the fact that the average ticket is 76 percent more expensive than last year, according to a recent study.

There's no suggestion that the stadium reframes the very idea of what it means to go to a ballgame. Instead he focusses on aesthetics, and ends with this condescending remark, inexplicably posed in the second person: "For us, the buildings [he is also talking about the new park for the Mets] are just another reminder of the enormous gap that remains between high design and popular taste." It's worth noting that Paul Goldberger's review in the New Yorker, though not nearly so snide, similarly fails to address any of the controversies about the new Bronx park. For a contrast, I recommend Alex Belth's far more insightful take, the most personal and most lyrical of the three. (PS: Special props to Annemieke Beemster Leverenz for the pitch-perfect illustration that went along with my piece, reproduced above.)

Posted in: Architecture, Arts + Culture

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