One City, Two New Stadia

Paul Goldberger looks at the two new baseball stadia opening in New York this Spring.

"There is nothing so revolutionary in Yankee Stadium's replacement, which opens just to the north, across 161st Street, on April 3rd, when the Yankees host the Chicago Cubs for an exhibition game. (The first regular-season game is on April 16th, against the Cleveland Indians.) The new Yankee Stadium, designed by the architectural firm HOK Sport, is effectively an attempt to atone for the brutal 1973 renovation of Ruppert's building, which removed the historic ambience without adding much in the way of modern amenities. HOK has reincarnated the old stadium, but with clearer sight lines, luxury suites, plenty of places to eat, and, finally, sufficient bathroom facilities. It has tried hard, very hard, to make us think of its predecessor, with sumptuous architectural effects that have the self-important air of a new courthouse built to look as if it had been there since William Howard Taft was President."

"Also about to open is the New York Mets' new home-the first time that two major-league stadiums have opened in the same city at the same time. Citi Field, which people are already calling TARP Field, or Bailout Park, opens on March 29th, with a college game. (The Mets play an exhibition game there on April 3rd and their first regular-season game on April 13th.) Like the new Yankee Stadium, Citi Field is right next door to its predecessor and was designed by HOK Sport. The firm has pretty much cornered the market in sports facilities in recent years; in 1992, it designed the most influential ballpark of modern times, Baltimore's Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Orioles insisted that the new park have the ambience of an old-fashioned one and feel connected to the city, and HOK, scrapping an earlier design, obliged. Camden Yards launched a generation of so-called retro-classic ballparks, a style to which both of New York's new stadiums conform, even though they look vastly different from each other."

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