Tuesday, March 01, 2005

How come there's enough undeveloped space in Manhattan to build an entire new NFL football stadium complex, anyhow?

The hot issue in local New York City politics at the moment is the proposal by the Mayor and the NY Jets pro football team to build a new football stadium in the largely empty and derelict mid-lower west side of Manhattan (about 20 blocks due north from where I am writing this.) In addition to hosting the Jets, the stadium would function as part of the city's Convention Center and be a key facility in its bid for he 2012 Olympics.

All the usual arguments that attend such major urban development proposals are swirling -- compounded by the strenuous efforts of the owners of Madison Square Garden to preserve their exclusive hold on such indoor Manhattan space, which range from subsidizing every anti-development group in sight to bidding $600 million for the same land to build residential housing on it. (Talk about the price of monopoly!)

The merits of the case will be for another day. First, a couple of more basic questions...

This is Manhattan, supposedly the most valuable and densely used space in America, so:

How is there enough near-empty "wasteland" space in it to make room for an entire new NFL football stadium complex to begin with?

And, given that there is so much undeveloped space, why is a big government project needed to develop it -- being that it is located right in the very heart of world capitalism?

Julia Vitullo-Martin, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, explains ...