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Yankee Stadium – Bronx, New York

Yankee Stadium, “the Bat”, built in 1923, is a 138 foot high boiler exhaust stack standing outside the main entrance, Gate 4, at Yankee Stadium. When Joe Garagiola noticed that the stack would look like an inverted baseball bat if a knob was affixed to the top, he called Louisville Slugger. They slapped a logo and Babe Ruth's signature on the monolith and "the Bat" was born, serving as a rendezvous point for fans.

 

The original Yankee Stadium, located at East 161st Street and River Avenue, served as the home baseball park of Major League Baseball's New York Yankees from 1923 to 1973 and, after extensive renovations, from 1976 to 2008. Nicknamed "The House that Ruth Built", it was the first three-tiered sports facility in the United States and one of the first baseball parks to be given the lasting title of stadium. Yankee Stadium hosted 6,581 Yankees regular season home games and 37 World Series during its 85-year history.

 

In 2006, the Yankees began construction on a new $1.8 billion stadium in adjacent public parkland, which opened with the 2009 season, however, “the Bat” continues to stand outside the Metro North Station with a 450-foot long pedestrian walkway, its staircase meet at “the Bat".

 

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Figure 1. Built in 1923, “the Bat” continues to stand outside the main entrance, Gate 4, at Yankee Stadium. This Historic Landmark continues to serve as a rendezvous point for fans and compliments the new stadium which opened with the 2009 season.

 

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Figure 2 Installed in 1923, “The Bat” is a 138 foot high boiler exhaust stack that would look like an inverted baseball bat when a knob was affixed to the top. Two cranes were used to upright this enormous icon onto its well anchored pedestal, the lattice boom crane had over 150 foot of boom, and had a maximum capacity over two hundred tons.

 

Challenge

During 2011, after 88 years of routine maintenance painting, this enormous icon needed repairs that prompted an extensive renovation. The first 50 ft. from the base was most challenging, the base or top of “the Bat” had been painted numerous times within a season because of the high traffic; resulted a challenging combination of coatings to be removed that ranged between 15 to 50 plus coats depending on the elevation and weather exposure, areas were failing or had scares of past paint failures. The existing coatings included lead based coatings that needed to be completely removed for safety, weld repairs, aesthetics, and to achieve a sound substrate. The metal substrates needed properly prepared for painting using water based systems. This continues to be a high traffic area; the restoration process could not expose pedestrians to harmful lead dust and debris.

 

Application

After conducting numerous “Test Patches” on various metal substrates and elevations, it was determined that Smart Strip™ PRO was the optimal paint removal product for this unique and challenging project. Do to the vast range of coating combinations and the number of coats, Smart Strip™ PRO was brush applied ¼” thick and used in conjunction with the Peel Away® Paper to achieve a longer dwell time and prohibit “tenting” or wrinkling of the latex coatings that were applied during the 1980’s and 90’s. After the paper, paste, and coatings were removed with metal scrapers, a second application of Smart Strip™ PRO was applied at the same thickness; this time without the use of the Peel Away® Paper to remove all of the remaining paint and residue. The second application was removed using metal scrappers and the surface was immediately wiped clean with a minimal amount of water as Smart Strip™ PRO does not require neutralization. Dwell times varied between 6-24 hours because of the coating combinations and number of coats, particularly weld joints where past coatings had puddled or ponded.

 

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Figure 3. “Test Patches” were applied of various Peel Away Products to determine the optimal Paint Removal System to safely restore this enormous metal icon.

 

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Figure 4. ”Test Patches” were applied ¼” thick and used in conjunction with the Peel Away® Paper to achieve a longer dwell time and prohibit “tenting” or wrinkling of the latex coatings that were applied during the 1980’s and 90’s.

 

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Figure 5. “Test Patches” determined that Smart Strip™ PRO was the optimal Paint Removal Product for this unique and challenging project. Other Peel Away Products softened the coatings; however, Smart Strip™ PRO was most effective.

 

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Figure 6. Illustrates the softened coatings, amount of coats needed to be safely removed; results of Smart Strip™ PRO after the paper, paste, and coatings were removed with metal scrapers.

 

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Figure 7. Illustrates the challenging Dry Film Thickness Smart Strip™ PRO effectively removed after the paper, paste, and coatings were removed with metal scrapers.

 

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Figure 8. Illustrates results after the first application of Smart Strip™ PRO was applied to the base or top of “the Bat”, the first 50 ft. from the base was most challenging because it had been painted numerous times within a season, a high traffic area; resulted a challenging combination of coatings to be removed that ranged between 15 to 50 plus coats.

 

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Figure 9. Illustrates the results after the second application of Smart Strip™ PRO was applied at the same thickness; this time without the use of the Peel Away® Paper, all of the remaining paint and residue was easily removed. The second application was removed using metal scrappers and the surface was immediately wiped clean with a minimal amount of water as Smart Strip™ PRO does not require neutralization.

 

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Figure 10. This Historic Landmark continues to serve as a rendezvous point for fans and compliments the new stadium which opened in 2009. Built in 1923, “the Bat” continues to stand outside the main entrance, Gate 4, at Yankee Stadium. During 2009, Metro North Station was built with a 450-foot long pedestrian walkway, its staircase meet at “the Bat". This metal icon has been preserved and protected for future generations.

 

 

 

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