You’re probably familiar with the big attractions in the Bronx: Yankee Stadium, the New York Botanical Garden, and the Bronx Zoo. But the borough has a lot more going on, from historic and cultural treats and treasures to new breweries and restaurants and acres of beaches, parks, trails, and gardens. Read on for a collection of destinations in the city’s northernmost, greenest, and most diverse borough that are worth the trip, wherever you’re coming from.
Yankee Stadium. Image: pingnews.com via Flickr
New York City Football Club, the Major League Soccer franchise owned by the Yankees and an investment group led by Abu Dhabi billionaire royal Sheik Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahayan, who also owns Manchester City Football Club, may have found a site for its own home stadium after a five-year search. The focus is on a site in the Bronx near Yankee Stadium, which is where the team’s owners had wanted to build the stadium in 2013, as 6sqft previously reported. This time around, the stadium would be part of a multibillion-dollar 20-acre development along East 153rd Street and River Avenue between Yankee Stadium and the Bronx Terminal Market and would also include a park, a hotel and soccer and sports-focused conference center, shops, office space, a school and as many as 3,000 affordable apartments, according to the New York Times.
Photo via Clean Sweep Auctions
On September 30, 1973, during the last home game at Yankee Stadium before the historic arena underwent two years of renovations, diehard baseball fans came wielding screwdrivers and hammers. Not to fight fans from the opposing team of that night’s game, the Detroit Tigers, but to dismantle any memorabilia from “The House That Ruth Built.” One fan somehow got his hands on a right field sign wall that designates the 296-foot distance from home plate (h/t Forbes). A family member of the brazen fan put up the sign for auction last month and on Wednesday, after 18 bids, the 1960s era sign sold for a final sale price of $55,344.
The Highlanders play a game at Hilltop Park in 1912, photo via NYPL
Not unlike their current power-house lineup, the most dominant team in American sports got off to quite a rocky start. Not only did the New York Highlanders, now known as the Yankees, have a losing record for many years, but the team’s first home field was also a mess: it was located near a swamp, the outfield had no grass, and the ballpark sat mostly unfinished. In just six weeks, 500 men hastily built the stadium on Broadway and 168th Street in Washington Heights, known as Hilltop Park, in time for the Highlanders’ first home game on April 30, 1903. Due to the unsavory, rock-filled conditions, the last big league game at Hilltop Park was played in October of 1912. Following its closure, the Highlanders changed their name to the Yankees in 1913, moved to the Bronx, and went on to become one of the most successful sports teams in the world.
Applications are currently being accepted for 133 newly constructed, affordable units at 810 River Avenue in the Bronx, across from the old Yankee Stadium and just steps away from the team’s new playing field. The building includes approximately 26,000 square-feet of commercial and community facility space and a 61-space garage. Designed by SLCE Architects, the 17-story steel and plank tower features high-performance windows, Energy Star dishwashers, laundry rooms and hardwood floors. New Yorkers earning 40, 60, 90 and 130 percent of the area median income can apply for available units ranging from a $538 per month studio to $2,113 per month three-bedroom.
Photo via Wikipedia
The city’s Economic Development Corp. has announced its support for plans to build up to 1,045 units of market-rate and affordable housing and commercial space on a vacant four-acre stretch of East 149th Street in The Bronx, the New York Post reports. The city had promised a decade ago to replace the more than 25 acres of parkland that was lost when the new Yankee Stadium was greenlighted in 2005; the vacant space was to be the last leg of the Mill Pond Park, off the Harlem River. Geoffrey Croft of NYC Park Advocates, a watchdog group, said the “sleazy switcheroo” “screams of Brooklyn Bridge Park all over again,” referring to promised waterfront parkland that that became high-rise housing instead.
Yesterday, 6sqft took a look at a Brookings institute study that showed three New York City sports stadiums–Yankee Stadium (the most expensive of all in the country), Citi Field, and the Barclays Center–have received $867 million in direct and indirect federal subsidies. This resulted in the loss of $3.7 billion in government revenues since 2000, due to “lost tax revenue from issuing exempt bonds and the indirect proceeds high-income bond holders receive.”
Because of this drain, the authors of the study advocate that stadiums should not be eligible to receive tax-exempt bonds, especially since they claim “there is little evidence that stadiums provide even local economic benefits.” But not everyone agrees, likening stadiums to other public enterprises like parks. And, at least as pertains to the stadiums in New York, these venues host other community events aside from ticketed sports games. Which side are you on?
A recent Brookings institute study shows that federal government subsidies of big-ticket sports stadium construction are essentially money down the drain, The Real Deal reports. Three New York City stadiums–Yankee Stadium, Citi Field (both completed in 2009) and the Barclays Center–have accounted for a significant portion of these subsidies in the form of tax-exempt bonds, which have resulted in the loss of $3.7 billion in federal government revenues since 2000.
Google Earth images courtesy of CityRealty
Brooklyn and Queens have been flush with new condos and rental developments lately, now it’s time for the Bronx to get in on the action. Local developer M. Melnick & Co. has begun construction of a mixed-income, 17-story residential and commercial high rise at 810 River Avenue that will be the area’s first since it was rezoned in 2009. The company dates back to 1934 and has proven to be reliable builders of multi-family, senior, supportive and mixed-use housing developments around the city. Find out more right here