The New York City Council Parks & Recreation Committee called the NYC Parks Department forward to ask a few questions yesterday about the delays (2 years) and skyrocketing costs (from budgeted $99.5 million to now $174 million) of replacing parkland in the South Bronx taken away to create the new Yankee Stadium. Remember how NYC government took away 40 acres from 2 parks (destroyed one entirely) in their quest to give the Yankees Corporation whatever they wanted for their expensive, high tech building? The Parks Committee decided it was time to offer some oversight.
City Council Parks & Recreation Committee Chair Helen Foster asked about the largely increased costs, ““Is there a possibility the numbers were watered down or made less to make the package more appealing?” (Was it ever appealing?)
Mr. Kavanagh responded, “I can assure you there was no attempt to underplay the cost of the replacement program.” (Would they admit that?)
Finally, Parks representative Kavanagh explained the real problem was the “unusual locations” chosen for the replacement parks, “including one atop a stadium parking garage.” “It is not something we are fully familiar with,” he commented.
Imagine that they decide to take over some of the parkland at Central Park for, say, a new DisneyLand and, by way of explanation, the Parks Department says, “You know that public space you ran on, where you rode your bike, and walked your dog? We’re going to replace it and it’ll be even better. Trust us. We’ll be cutting down 400 mature trees but … we’ll plant more! And, yes, your new space will be on top of a parking garage blocks away and you’ll have to cross the West Side Highway to get there. But, don’t worry, you’ll adapt.”
That is the equivalent of what happened to the people in the South Bronx who watched their parks destroyed all in the interest of privatization for Mayors Bloomberg & Guiliani‘s “vision” for our city.