NEW YORK CITY-Following Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s announcement two weeks ago that plans are in the proposal stage for a West Side stadium in Manhattan, stadiums have been among the most favorite topics of discussion here. The stadium on the West Side is, according to Giuliani, to serve as a home to the 2012 Olympics, should NYC 2012 be successful in its bid for the games. It would also be home to the New York Jets, the team that would currently be more appropriately named the North Jersey Jets. When Giuliani didn’t deny considering the site as a future home for the Bronx Bombers, people opposed to the Yankees playing in Manhattan were up in arms. Now the Mets’ stadium in Queens has joined the stadium banter.

NYC 2012 has already begun placing ads in local city papers saying, “Bringing the Olympic Games to New York” and marketing their Web site,, which at press time, was not up and running. The committee hopes to bring the international sporting competition to the five boroughs with the Olympic Stadium, seating at least 800,000 people to Manhattan’s West Side.

The stadium is opposed by residents of the area and was originally to be a new Yankees’ stadium when the topic was first in the forefront in 1996. The plan was shot down by the City Council and Governor Pataki, arguing that not only did the Yankees belong in the Bronx in “the house that Ruth built,” but that it would be detrimental to the surrounding community of the site. Revitalization arguments were shot down citing numerous studies that have found the benefits to be far less than those hawked by city planners. Pointing to the neighborhoods around the Mets’ home, Shea Stadium in Queens, for example, known for its “chop-shops,” many on the West Side said they didn’t see the property now occupied by warehouses and transportation lots being greatly benefited by a stadium.

With noted discussions between City Hall and the Jets ownership, the hopes for the Jets’ return to New York have been revived. The Jets currently share Giants’ Stadium with the New York Giants. Their lease is up in 2008 and so a stadium would not see a permanent tenant until then. The Olympics aren’t for another twelve years, so many question the push to begin development. Some cite the impending end of Giuliani’s reign in 15 months with the sudden momentum in talks.

His possible successors are reportedly opposed to the idea of a stadium on the West Side, many of them joined in protests outside City Hall the day the proposal was announced. Opponents are concerned about congestion, noise and pollution and argue that the space could be used for multifamily housing or office space to meet the needs of the tight market. Many argue that the plans to develop new MTA, LIRR and NJ Transit links to the site would only add to the negative environmental impact, although if the space was developed for other purposes, it would likely need these transportation additions then as well. The city is working with the transportation authorities, and the Javits Center, to which the stadium would be an annex, to develop its plans.

The Mets’ stadium issues centers around the plans for a state-of-the-art arena in Queens to replace the current facility. The plans have been stalled for at least two years because the Mets ownership and the city can’t seem to reach an agreement about financing the ballpark. The facility now would apparently not open anytime before 2003. Questions about how much each party should pay, and whether the state will pick up any of the costs, have reportedly brought the talks to a near standstill.

Conjecture holds that Giuliani will continue to push for the Yankees, of which he is a self-proclaimed huge fan, to be moved to Manhattan before he leaves office. Whether he’ll push for a new Mets stadium is another matter. While Pataki backs the Olympic and Jets arena, he is still opposed to the Yankees being relocated. George Steinbrenner, owner of the Yankees, however, is reportedly for the plan.

What will come of all the proposals and plans remains to be seen, and will continue to follow the talks as they develop.

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