South Bronx, NY: There is a saying under the Heritage Park façade across from Yankee stadium that reads, “Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose and sometimes it rains.” Yesterday it rained but there were only winners who attended a rally in front of Yankee stadium Gate 2 to express their concerns with the present relationship between the Yankees and the immediate South Bronx community.
The rally was organized by the 161St. Business Improvement District and several neighbors who believe the Yankees can do much more to help the community during this Covid-19 Pandemic that has made conditions much worse than they already were in the poorest urban congressional district in the country.
The topic on whether the Yankees do enough in the immediate community where they are located has been an issue for decades, however this pandemic has heighten that argument to a new level. Several of those in attendance were wearing Yankee apparel indicating and as it was stated by more than one speaker that no one was “anti-Yankee”, but against the fact they feel that Yankees are not good neighbors.
The fact is that the Yankees are one of the richest sports franchises. According to Forbes ranking of the 50 Most Valuable Sports Teams the Yankees are #2 worth $5 billion, barely behind the Dallas Cowboys $5,5 billion. It is a further fact that they are located in the middle of the poorest urban congressional district in the country. That reality creates a major gap that screams for attention on both sides.
I attended the rally as a community resident who has been living in the community for sixty- four years. In those
years growing up poor I have had some of my greatest memories because of the Yankees and as a resident always-living walking distance to the stadium I have had some of my worst experiences. The reason is simple. We are neighbors and aside from all of the rhetoric on both sides the message is clear, all that is asked that neighbors have to have a better relationship.
Suggestions form a community resident:
- The Yankees should have a method to hear directly from the community. Perhaps a monthly, or quarterly open forum with the community where they can come to hear direct from the people who live and, or work near the stadium.
- The Yankees need to hear about the Bronx community from more than their top consultant, Mr. Stanley K. Schlein who some call, “the Bronx Attorney who is the power behind many thrones.” (BTW, he did a cameo appearance walking by the rally).
- The Yankees need to understand that there are differences within the borough of the Bronx. They need to understand that the immediate community surrounding the stadium, those that are walking distance is not the same as communities that need to take a train, bus, or drive to the stadium. As a community resident I can attest that this is the Yankees Achilles Heal. They need to understand the immediate community betters than they presently do.
- The Yankees should invite the local marching band, the Cobras who have asked many times to perform at the stadium and been denied. They should also reach out to the abundant talent throughout our borough.
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