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Yankee Stadium overhead 2010
Yankee Stadium is a baseball stadium in The Bronx. It is the current home of the New York Yankees, replacing the team's previous home, the original Yankee Stadium which opened in 1923. Construction began in 2006 and ended in 2009. Its address is One East 161st Street.

History

Planning

New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner began campaigning for a new stadium in the early 1980s, just a few years after the remodeled Yankee Stadium opened. Steinbrenner at the time was reportedly considering a move to the Meadowlands Sports Complex in New Jersey. New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean in 1984 authorized the use of land for a new baseball stadium in the Meadowlands, but the state legislature did not provide financing for the stadium.[25] In a statewide referendum in 1987, New Jersey taxpayers rejected $185 million in public financing for a baseball stadium for the Yankees.[26] Despite the rejection from New Jersey, Steinbrenner frequently used a threatened move there as leverage in negotiations with New York City.

In 1988, Mayor Ed Koch agreed to have city taxpayers spend $90 million on a second renovation of Yankee Stadium that included luxury boxes and restaurants inside the stadium and parking garages and traffic improvements outside. Steinbrenner agreed in principle, but then backed out of the deal. In 1993, Mayor David Dinkins expanded on Koch's proposal by offering his Bronx Center vision for the neighborhood, including new housing, a new courthouse, and relocating the Police Academy nearby.[27]

In 1993, New York Governor Mario Cuomo proposed using the West Side Yard, a 30-acre rail yard along the West Side of Manhattan and owned by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, as the location for a new stadium for the Yankees. However, Cuomo lost his re-election bid a few months later. By 1995, Steinbrenner had rejected 13 proposals to keep the Yankees in the Bronx.[28]

In 1998, Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer proposed spending $600 million in public money to add dozens of luxury boxes to the stadium, to improve highway and public transportation access, and to create a Yankee Village, with shops, restaurants, and a museum. Steinbrenner rejected this as well. That same year, Mayor Rudy Giuliani unveiled a plan to relocate the Yankees to the West Side Yard for a $1 billion stadium. However, with most of the funding coming from taxpayers, Giuliani tabled the proposal, fearing rejection in a citywide referendum. The West Side Stadium plan resurfaced in December 2001, and by January 2002, months after the September 11 attacks, Giuliani announced "tentative agreements" for both the New York Yankees and New York Mets to build new stadiums. He estimated that both stadiums would cost $2 billion, with city and state taxpayers contributing $1.2 billion.[29]

Michael Bloomberg, who succeeded Giuliani as mayor in 2002, called the former mayor's agreements "corporate welfare" and exercised the escape clause in the agreements to back out of both deals, saying that the city could not afford to build new stadiums for the Yankees and Mets. Bloomberg said that Giuliani had inserted a clause in this deal which loosened the teams' leases with the city and would allow the Yankees and Mets to leave the city on 60 days' notice to find a new home elsewhere if the city backed out of the agreement. At the time, Bloomberg said that publicly funded stadiums were a poor investment. Bloomberg's blueprint for the stadium was unveiled in 2004, at the same time as the plan for the Mets' new stadium, Citi Field. The final cost for the two stadiums was more than $3.1 billion; taxpayer subsidies accounted for $1.8 billion.[20]

Construction

Groundbreaking ceremonies for the stadium took place on August 16, 2006, the 58th anniversary of Babe Ruth's death, with Steinbrenner, Bloomberg, and then-Governor of New York George Pataki among the notables donning Yankees hard hats and wielding ceremonial shovels to mark the occasion.[30][31] The Yankees continued to play in the previous Yankee Stadium during the 2007 and 2008 seasons while their new home stadium was built across the street. The community was left without parkland for five years.

During construction of the new stadium, a construction worker and avid Boston Red Sox fan buried a replica jersey of Red Sox player David Ortiz underneath the visitors' dugout with the objective of placing a "hex" on the Yankees, much like the "Curse of the Bambino" that had allegedly plagued the Red Sox long after trading Ruth to the Yankees. After the worker was exposed by co-workers, he was forced to help exhume the jersey.[32] The Yankees organization then donated the retrieved jersey to the Jimmy Fund, a charity started in 1948 by the Red Sox' National League rivals, the Boston Braves, but long championed by the Red Sox and particularly associated with Ted Williams.[33][34] The worker has since claimed to have buried a 2004 American League Championship Series program/scorecard, but has not said where he placed it.[35] These attempts didn't have much effect upon the home team, though: the Yankees went on to win the 2009 World Series at the end of their first MLB season in the new stadium.[36]