At last, someone in power has looked at the proposal for a football stadium on the West Side of Manhattan and just said no.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Joseph Bruno, the Senate leader, made their call yesterday. In typical Albany fashion, the decision was oblique. Representatives for both men abstained from voting at a meeting of the Public Authorities Control Board, an obscure state entity that has the decisive say about key public subsidies for the project.
Nevertheless, Mr. Silver issued a strong statement, saying he will vote no, primarily because the stadium and the proposed adjacent cluster of office towers would draw away tenants from commercial space around the former World Trade Center site. In taking his stand, Mr. Silver asked, "What do we address first, our moral obligations or our ambitions?"
If he and Mr. Bruno hang tough, New York's taxpayers will owe them a resounding thanks. The stadium proposal would require as much as $1 billion in total public subsidies.
Already the pro-stadium crowd has begun wreaking its vengeance, particularly on Mr. Silver. In Albany yesterday, representatives of construction unions chanted and blew whistles in an attempt to intimidate any opposition. Holding firm against badly behaved bullies is a small price to pay to save New York from partially underwriting the most expensive sports stadium in America.
Supporters of the stadium have tried continually to connect the project to New York's bid for the Olympics, but Mr. Silver and Mr. Bruno should not be blamed if the long-shot effort to bring the Games here falls through. The release yesterday of the International Olympic Committee's long-awaited evaluation makes clear that the committee is looking at a bigger picture than Manhattan's West Side development. It notes that an Olympic Village and a broadcast center - and even financing for the Paralympic Games - still have not gotten necessary approvals either. Interestingly, Olympic proponents in the city, so inflamed over a stadium, have uttered nary a peep about those other crucial projects.