Ms. Amanda M. Burden
Dear Ms. Burden:
I support the New York Sports & Convention Center, and I urge you to support it too. I was unable to attend the September 23 rd hearing, so I respectfully request that you please include this letter in the records of the NYC Planning Commission Public Hearing on Hudson Yards held September 23, 2004.
Some of the many benefits of this exciting project are:
Opponents of this project typically raise the following, refutable arguments:
1. It will increase traffic. Wrong! The project will reduce Jets-related traffic in the metropolitan area. Currently about 26,000 vehicles travel to the Meadowlands for each Jets football game. Many of these vehicles cross Manhattan to get to New Jersey. Far fewer vehicles will travel to the new facility because it will be convenient to mass transit – just a short walk from Penn Station, the Port Authority Bus Terminal, Hudson River ferries, and existing and proposed subway lines. Plus, the multi-purpose facility will be used as a football stadium only 10 to 12 times a year, mostly on Sundays when vehicular traffic is relatively light. Admittedly there will be heavy traffic in the immediate vicinity of the facility just before and after each football game, but that is a small price to pay for the overall decrease in metropolitan area traffic and the many other benefits of this project.
2. Government funds should not pay for a "stadium." Wrong! The government is not being asked to pay for a stadium. The Jets will pay for the $800 million building. The City and State are being asked to pay for a platform over the rail yards and a retractable roof over the building – both expenditures that will net the City money over the long run, not cost the City money. Besides, no one has come forward with a viable plan to develop anything else on the unsightly rail yards site without government funds to build a platform over the yards. Having a roof will allow the facility to be used year-round as a convention and exhibition space, raising tax revenues for the City, and more than covering the annual debt service on the bonds. The extra tax revenues can be used by the City to increase expenditures for police, education, or whatever else the City chooses in the future (contrary to the misleading ad campaign funded by Cablevision to squelch potential competition for its Madison Square Garden). The Jets do not need a roof over the building – the Jets never had a roof at their prior homes in the Polo Grounds, Shea Stadium, or the Meadowlands – the City needs the roof so the facility can be used year-round to generate tax revenues and growth.
3. The project will cut off the neighborhood from the waterfront. Wrong! The neighborhood is currently cut off from the waterfront by the rail yards. The project will make the waterfront more accessible and attractive by decking over the adjacent highway and providing tree-lined paths to the waterfront.
4. We should not develop the far West Side before we rebuild Lower Manhattan. Wrong! We can and must do both. Replacing what was destroyed by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 is important, but this City needs more than just repair. We need new growth, new revenues, and new frontiers.
This is not a time for putting selfish interests first, like Cablevision selfishly trying to avoid competition. This is not a time for "Not In My Backyard" (besides, look around, this "backyard" is a blighted rail yard that is hardly a good neighbor).
This is the time to move forward in the best interests of the City. This is the time to invest in the future. This is the time to give the City a first-class sports and convention facility and to bring the New York Jets home, back to their original Manhattan roots in the heart of the metropolitan area.
I live on the West Side and I support this project because its many positives far outweigh the negatives, for my neighborhood, for Manhattan, and for the entire City.
Let's build it!
Michael Evan Avidon
©Copyright WestSideStadium.org, 2004