PART 3 OF AN OCCASIONAL GREENSPORTSBLOG SERIES ON THE GREENNESS (OR LACK THEROF) OF THE MAJOR NEW YORK-NEW JERSEY SPORTS STADIA-ARENAS
After a drought in new stadium/arena construction in the New York City area from 1981 to 2007, an explosion in the construction of new ballparks took place from 2007-2012. While none of the 6 stadiums/arenas built in the NYC-NJ area since 2007 were built to LEED standards, I thought it would be interesting to look at each to see how green they are (or aren’t). Today’s column looks at the 3rd of the 6, the New Yankee Stadium. Click here for Part 1, which examined Newark’s Prudential Center, home of the NHL’s Devils and here for Part 2, which took a look at Citi Field, home of the Mets.
The New Yankee Stadium, which was built on what was Macombs Dam Park, adjacent to the old stadium, opened in 2009, as did Citi Field. Since the two opened within days of each other and due to the natural, if one-sided on field rivalry between the Yanks and Mets, a comparison of the relative greenness of the two is a natural. Can you tell I’m a Yankee fan??
As a Yanks lover, I hate to say it but the Mets beat the Yankees decisively in terms of greenness, especially in the construction phase. Most Yankee fans, if they even knew about the “green loss” to the Mets, would be much more upset (by about 1,000,000x) over the Subway Series drubbing the Yanks endured earlier this season (I admit, it was “mildly annoying”) but this green thing stings me.
In researching this piece, as well as another one I wrote on this topic around the time the new Stadium opened, I looked far and wide to learn about how sustainability/green/energy efficiency factored into the construction. I called the Yankees. Was referred to Howard Rubenstein, their PR agency. Got shut out, basically. I was unable to find anything that showed the Yankees factored sustainability into the construction of the new stadium (i.e. use of recycled steel, green roof, porous pavement, etc.). The PR agency provided neither information nor insight. Now, it’s possible the Yanks did employ green building elements and are just being quiet about it. But every other sports team I’ve heard of trumpets their sustainable stadium construction chops. It’s hard to believe the Yankees are the lone exception. So my assumption is the Yanks get a big goose egg on the green construction front.
In terms of stadium operations, the Yankees pretty much match the Mets (and, my guess most US/Canadian pro teams in all sports) in terms of energy efficiency and sustainability. The club has a Green Initiatives section on yankees.com that provides the details. Highlights include:
- Purchase of Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) and carbon offsets
- Energy efficient lighting
- Recycling and composting
- Waterless hand soap
Finally, regarding the aforementioned Macombs Dam Park, one of the Yankees’ commitments to the local community when getting approval from the city government to build the new ball park, was that they’d replace all of the acreage of parkland that would be lost due to the stadium’s construction and it would be done in a “timely manner”. The new Macombs Dam Park opened in 2012, 3 years after the Stadium, and with 3 less acres of green space which means 2 less ballfields (how ironic). Additional green space was opened in separate swatches of the Bronx, near the Harlem River, that almost make up for the 3 acres lost. And, it must be noted, the new Macombs Dam Park is state of the art and thus is in much, much better condition than the old one. And since much of it is built on top of a parking garage, the Yanks get points for smart land use. Overall, I call the Macombs Dam Park issue a slight green loss for the community (A much better park – 2 ball fields – 3 years without a park at all.
As the Yankees’ legendary Hall of Fame shortstop, former announcer, and poet laureate, the late Phil Rizzuto might have said, the Yankees were real “huckleberries” when it came to green construction of the new Yankee Stadium. And, despite operating the ballpark in a green fashion, it was the failure to integrate sustainable practices into the planning and building of the new stadium (while the Mets did) that makes Citi Field the greener ballpark. Hey, I have to call it like I see it!