Play ball -- just find somewhere else to do it

New York governor George Pataki may have done something right -- for once -- Wednesday when he postponed the vote on the West Side Stadium in New York City.

According to an Associated Press report from Albany, N.Y., the proposal was removed from the state Public Authorities Control Board agenda Tuesday night at the request of Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno and is likely to be rescheduled. A vote was to have taken place Wednesday.

Bruno said he didn't have enough information on the massive project that would require $300 million in state spending. Also, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Manhattan Democrat, also wanted to delay the vote because of pending lawsuits against the plan, the report said.

Pataki, Bruno and Silver can control the board, and a vote against the project by either leaders' representative would kill the proposal. Pataki strongly supports the $2 billion stadium as an economic development tool for New York City and a revenue maker for the state. Bruno, an upstate Republican, and Silver haven't yet said if they will support or oppose the project, the report said.

The Sept. 11 (Sorry -- I can never call it 9/11) tragedy that brought down the World Trade Center was no question a turning point in the city's history, perhaps the biggest understatement ever written. Mohammed Atta and his gang did more than orchestrate the murder of some 3,000 people that day. They also did their best to make their mark on the world's most successful country.

The key word is success: It seems our enemies do not like America because of its success, but when our help is needed or offered, more often than not, it is accepted.

So, what does all this have to do with the West Side Stadium? Being from the City and visiting there often, I have seen and heard many radio and television commercials touting both the good and the bad of the project. Supporters say the project will be a rainmaker for the city, bring jobs and tax dollars back into the coffers -- items presumably lost when the Twin Towers came down. Opponents point to public opinion polls, stating many do not want the stadium built in the City.

I am a sports fan, and while the idea of having a brand new stadium for the Jets, a possible Super Bowl, NCAA Final Four tournaments, concerts and the like is appealing, I do not think it will be the Band-Aid many in positions of power speak of.

The Jets will play eight home games a year there. The Super Bowl is always rotated: case in point, this coming championship game, Super Bowl XL at Detroit's Ford Field. This will mark the first time the Motor City has had the Super Bowl since San Francisco and Cincinnati played in 1984 at the Silverdome.

Twenty-two years between games is a long time to wait. Can New York City afford or have the patience to wait that long? I doubt it. Also, will the average working person get the chance to go to the stadium to see the 2010 game? No, because Super Bowl tickets are perhaps the toughest to come by, unless you are well-heeled at a corporation.

Then there is the 2012 Olympics. Does anyone truly believe the City will get the games based the addition of a stadium to Manhattan? Furthermore, even if New York gets the games -- beating out Paris, London and Moscow in the process -- how much could the City truly expect to make. I'm no expert, but until someone can show or tell me otherwise, I don't think it will be as much as some politicians tout.

What would I do? Build a new football-only stadium for the Jets in Flushing, N.Y., next to or at the least near Shea Stadium. This sort of set-up is in Pittsburgh (PNC Park, Heinz Field), Philadelphia (Lincoln Financial Field, Citizens Bank Park), Baltimore (Oriole Park at Camden Yards, M&T Stadium) and Cincinnati (Great American Ballpark, Paul Brown Stadium). There's no reason why the City cannot buy the junkyards east and southeast of Shea Stadium and build it there. It's not as glamorous as the West Side of Manhattan, but it more than gets the job done.

Tell me what you think, especially if you're from NYC. I'd like to know.

1 comment:

The Girl in Black said...

Ya slacker, update your blog already! Some of us still miss your cynical self.

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