Friday, April 27, 2012

The New York Times reviews Marlins Park

New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman reviews the new Marlins Park. The review appeared on page one of Saturday's Times.

His introduction:
A Ballpark That May Be Louder Than the Fans


MIAMI — After 20 years of retro-style ballparks since the opening of Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, nearly all decked out with brick facades and calculated quirks that came to seem as predictable and interchangeable as the old doughnut-shaped arenas, Major League Baseball has its first unapologetic 21st-century stadium.
On the economic benefits:
Economic development is supposed to follow — that was the rationale for the public financing that covered most of the $634 million project ($515 million for the park itself) and contributed to the recall of Miami-Dade County’s mayor. Cities are always building new stadiums with the justification that they’ll catalyze the local economy. They rarely do.
On attendance:
The challenge now will be filling the park’s seats. With a capacity of 37,442, this is one of the smallest arenas in the big leagues, but Miamians in droves have notoriously stayed away from Marlins games. Mr. Loria and the city are banking, as so many other owners and cities have, that a new stadium can change a team’s and a neighborhood’s fortunes.

Can it? The Miami Marlins, until this year the Florida Marlins, have labored since their inaugural season in 1993 in a 75,000-seat suburban football arena, where the Dolphins play, which can be as much as an hour’s drive from downtown, with lousy sightlines, crippling summertime humidity and no roof. The Miami Herald’s Marlins beat reporter, Clark Spencer, told me on a recent night that he used to pass the time with colleagues in the press booth, counting attendance.

“Once we counted 80-something people,” he said, “and that included some confused foreign tourists.”
The consensus:
“A lot of us weren’t expecting something this nice,” said Adam Brownstein, a 38-year-old native Miamian, who spoke for what seemed like every resident I met.
Read the complete review by clicking here.

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