The Grey Lady Wakes up to the New Yankee and Mets Stadiums
Yesterday, The New York Times ran a lengthy article about the mounting public costs of New York City's two rising baseball stadiums. Good Jobs New York has been meticulously tracking these subsidies for over three years.
The article documents the increase in tax breaks for the Yankees and Mets new homes from the $281 million announced in 2005 to $458 million today. The article also takes Mayor Bloomberg to task for his flip-flopping comments on subsidies for stadiums.
While reporters at other New York daily papers, Patrick Arden at Metro and Juan Gonzalez at the Daily News specifically, have devoted space and research to the ever expanding subsidies and seizing of 22 acres of park space for Yankee Stadium, this is The New York Times' baseball stadium subsidy coming out party, so to speak.
While the city stands by the project claiming $40 million in new revenues over 40 years, the article is chock full of counter arguments from economists claiming that sport arenas don't drive economic development.
Most interesting of the experts cited is Andrew Zimbalist. Zimbalist is an economist from Smith College who has written positively about New York City's stadium projects but throws a bit of a curve ball in The Times piece. He rebuffs a claim that the Hard Rock Café and N.Y.Y. Steak restaurants at the new Yankee Stadium will bring much more business to the area saying, "it's hard to imagine" they would provide many benefits during the off season, because it "would require a tremendous renaissance in that part of the Bronx."
All New Yorkers, not just economists, should pay attention to this evolving project since the Yankees and Mets are expected to apply for additional public financing (GJNY will forward details of the public hearing when it is announced) just as news of tax increases on the middle class and cuts in critical services are being proposed.