Mark Lamster | Essays

The Old Ballpark in the Bronx


The new Yankee Stadium is heading toward the close of its second season, and though I can't say I love it, I think I've come to terms with its existence. The abandoned old ballpark next door is now gone, having given way to construction fencing, so there's no longer a specter looming ominously over the new joint. But that Yankee Stadium, the rough-and-ugly, 1970s-era edition of the House that Ruth Built, will always be my Yankee Stadium. It was a great public space — to walk up one of its tunnels to see the emerald field revealed below (stirring every time) was a lesson in what Philip Johnson called "procession." It was an electric place when packed for a big game.

Baseball, of course, lives on the memories it inspires, and that place has left more that its share. As a tribute to it, last year Alex Belth published a series of the reminiscences of the old park on his indispensable blog, Bronx Banter. My contribution, about life in the bleachers in the 1980s is here. Now, Alex has collected all the pieces he commissioned, and added many more for a new book, Lasting Yankee Stadium Memories, out next month. It's got an intro by Yogi Berra (who else?), and pieces by Richard Ben Cramer, Jane Leavy, Kevin Baker and countless others. A great project and a worthy memorial to a great New York place.

Posted in: Architecture

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