The New York Jets, Mr Bloomberg's Olympic Stadium and a 21st- Century West Side Story
Usborne, David, The Independent (London, England)
THERE ARE reasons Manhattan does not have an outdoor stadium in its midst. It occupies a small and intensely crowded island. And mighty arenas already surround it in New York City's outer boroughs - the hometown baseball teams, the Yankees and the Mets, have fields in the Bronx and in Queens.
But there is a fetish in the US with abandoning perfectly decent sporting venues and building new ones. Chicago, Philadelphia and Detroit have all done it recently. New York doesn't want to be left out. And something has been rankling with the city for years - its American football franchise, the New York Jets, currently has its home across the Hudson River in New Jersey.
And so today - in what some critics describe as an exercise in urban madness - the city is expected to unveil plans for a $1.4bn (pounds 76m) super- stadium for the Jets on the New York side of the water. Moreover, the idea is to build it slap on Manhattan itself, never mind the inevitable traffic congestion.
This is no humble scheme. To be outlined this morning by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, it calls for a 75,000-seat stadium with a retractable roof on the far west side of Manhattan above 30th Street. The stadium will sit atop what is now a massive rail yard, adjacent to the Jacob Javits Convention Center.
It promises to be one of New York's most ambitious redevelopment projects, second only to the $12bn rebuilding effort in Lower Manhattan where the Twin Towers once stood. The closing roof means that, outside the football season, the stadium will be available for conventions and exhibitions spilling over from the Javits, which itself will be doubled in size as part of the master plan. Also envisaged is a cluster of high-rise office towers trailing down 11th Avenue from the stadium as well as new extensions to the New York subway system to feed people in and out of the area.
The neighbourhood, admittedly, is bleak today. But why the sudden hurry, some people are asking, in determining that a stadium is the best way to revive it? Economic studies have shown that sporting stadiums rarely bring long-term benefit to urban areas. There is a very clear explanation for the rush to build the Jets its field of dreams in Manhattan. It is called the Olympics.
It will be towards the end of May that the Olympic Committee will start sifting through the candidates to stage the Summer Games in 2012. Among the nine cities still standing are New York and also London. The proposed Jets Stadium is the centerpiece of New York's Olympic proposal, slated to serve as the main venue for competition.
Thus, it desperately needs to have a deal for its construction tied up within the next two months. Otherwise New York's Olympic dreams will founder.
But how to pay for all this? The Jets are set to contribute $800m for the …
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: The New York Jets, Mr Bloomberg's Olympic Stadium and a 21st- Century West Side Story. Contributors: Usborne, David - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: March 25, 2004. Page number: 25. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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