Legislation blocks B.P.C. money for Javits project
By Albert Amateau
Governor Pataki, with Mayor Bloomberg and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver at his side, signed the legislation on Wednesday that authorizes the expansion of the Javits Convention Center but not the stadium.
In an in interview immediately after the signing, which took place at a Dec. 8 news conference at the Convention Center, Silver told Downtown Express that the legislation specifically prohibits Javits funding from being used for the proposed New York Sports and Convention Center stadium. Not in any way, shape or form, Silver said.
Silver also pointed out that the legislation prohibits any use of Battery Park City money in the expansion project. Although he hasnt taken a final position on the stadium, Silver said, Im not convinced its the right thing to do for the city.
He and City Comptroller Bill Thompson had convinced Mayor Bloomberg to back off the B.P.C.-Javits plan about a month ago.
Silver also said he was still concerned that the Bloomberg administrations Hudson Yards redevelopment plan would have a negative impact on the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan which is still suffering from the economic affects of the World Trade Center attack.
The Convention Center legislation, which calls for doubling the size of the Javits and raising its national rank in size from 18 to third or fourth, was seen as a setback for Mayor Bloomberg who is committed to the stadium as an integral part of the Hudson Yards redevelopment and Javits expansion.
In his formal remarks at the signing, Bloomberg said the stadium, the Javits expansion and the rezoning of the Hudson Yards are the three necessary steps to revitalize the West Side.
Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, who was not at the news conference, in a New York Times article said after the state Assembly, the Senate and the governor agreed on the Javits expansion bill that the key to the agreement was the mayor finally realizing that he was not going to get a Javits bill that provided back door approval to the stadium.
Gottfried, who represents the district where the Javits Center is located between 34th and 39th Sts., was an original sponsor of the legislation that created it in 1980. He, along with State Sen. Tom Duane and City Councilmember Christine Quinn, has supported the Javits expansion but opposed the stadium, which would serve as home field for the Jets.
Under the new legislation, the city and the state would each contribute $350 million for the Javits expansion. The proposed 75,000-seat stadium with a retractable roof would be built with a platform over the rail yards between 30th and 33rd Sts. between 11th Ave. and the West Side Highway. The Jets propose to contribute $800 million for the stadium, while the city and state would each contribute $300 million for the platform and the retractable roof.