[HK-Online] Is the long Nightmare over?

Kitchen kitchen@hellskitchen.net
Tue, 07 Jun 2005 10:55:29 -0400

Hell's Kitchen Online                                 6/7/05
http://hellskitchen.net "All the News the Times Won't Print"

It is too early to tell if the stadium is 100% dead. Will it completely 
kill the Olympic Bid? How about Hudson Yards (the 24 million square feet of 
skyscrapers they want to plunk down in Clinton/Hell's Kitchen? How will 
Silver's decision yesterday impact other bad development schemes throughout 
the city (i.e., Brooklyn and Harlem)?

Take one thing at a time. We celebrate today ... cautiously. The world 
still has bad people around.

It seems odd that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, with whom we have had 
differences on his record on tenant protections, is the one person who had 
the moral fortitude to stand-up and say this was wrong.

If you wish to listen to Silver's news conference from yesterday (.mp3 
format), go to:

Make no mistake. Even though he was surrounded yesterday by Assembly 
Members Richard Gottfried and Scott Stringer (who have both done good 
things in the past), these two West Side representatives supported and 
pushed through the 24 million square feet of office towers of which Silver 
was complaining. Shame on them.

Both Gottfried and Stringer, along with Council Member Christine Quinn and 
Senator Tom Duane, bolted from the community coalition in 2003 to form the 
fake opposition group Hell's Kitchen Hudson Yards Alliance (HKHYA). It was 
hardly a secret that Jay Kriegel, Executive Director of NYC2012, told 
others that the HKHYA was the "approved" opposition.

It was Gottfried's Chief of Staff, Wendy Paster, who had called us in early 
2003 attempting to strong-arm us into dropping our opposition to the 
skyscrapers. We said no. Later it was Housing Conservation Coordinators 
(HCC) and others who made false statements on the funding and agenda of the 
HKHYA. They allowed developer/landlord Joe Restuccia and Community Board 4, 
some of whom would directly benefit from the skyscrapers, to control their 

And in the end, Quinn and the other elected officials, along with HKHYA, 
gave away the neighborhood to Bloomberg and Doctoroff so they could keep 
the stadium efforts alive. The legal issues surrounding the lawsuits on the 
sale of the rail yards air rights were directly tied to the Hudson Yards 
plan. Community Board 4 and HKHYA are still claiming that Hell's Kitchen 
should become the city's new Central Business District.

But yesterday, for his stated reasons, Speaker Sheldon Silver said no. And 
at least today, it appears our stadium nightmare might be over.

A lot has been said and will be said. The death of the stadium will have 
ramifications and repercussions.

Today though, we urge you to call the offices of Speaker Silver and Senate 
Majority Leader Joseph Bruno. Give credit where it's due and thank them for 
doing the right thing.

Silver's office: 212-312-1420
Silver's fax: 212-312-1425
NYC office: 250 Broadway, 23rd floor, New York, NY 10007
Email: speaker@assembly.state.ny.us

They might ask you to hold for their correspondence office to get your name 
and address, if you desire to give it. In addition to thanking the Speaker 
for doing the right thing, you can a) tell him to tell the unions where 
they can go and b) ask him to help tenants out once in a while.

Senator Joseph Bruno (Republican, Saratoga Springs)
Albany office: 518-455-3191
Albany fax: 518-455-2448
Address: 909 Legislative Office Building, Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY 12247
Email: bruno@senate.state.ny.us

They might ask for your zip code. We urge you to thank Senator Bruno for 
doing the right thing ... and also ask him to help tenants out for a change.

NY Daily News
by Juan Gonzalez
June 7, 2005

Mayor Bloomberg's grandiose plans for a $2.2 billion West Side Stadium for 
the Jets collapsed yesterday in a flaming Olympic defeat.

They fell apart mostly because Bloomberg and Gov. Pataki completely 
underestimated the guts and determination of Assembly Speaker Sheldon 
Silver, who represents lower Manhattan.

Because Bloomberg and Pataki, who had evaded any real scrutiny or 
democratic vote on their project for more than a year, finally had to face 
an obscure body they didn't control - the Public Authorities Control Board.

To the end, Bloomberg and his brash economic development czar, Daniel 
Doctoroff, were convinced the wily Silver, who had veto power on that 
board, had his price. Throw a few more dollars and programs at his district 
and he'll cut a deal, the mayor's people told everyone around them, winking 
and smiling.

But in the end, Silver didn't budge. He didn't vote for the stadium despite 
enormous pressure on him from the mayor, the governor and the city's 
business elite.

Instead, he held a dramatic press conference to announce his opposition. In 
that statement, he blasted City Hall's failure after 9/11 to move ahead 
more quickly on rebuilding lower Manhattan.

The speaker's message was simple.

Why is Bloomberg spending so much money on a football stadium, on creating 
a whole new business district around that stadium in midtown, when he 
hasn't yet rebuilt and revitalized Ground Zero after that terrible day 
nearly four years ago?

"It's about a moral obligation each and every one of us committed to when 
we saw those towers go down," Silver said.

But there was more in his message than just crying about his own district.

Why, he said, spend $1 billion on a football stadium when our public 
schools need huge cash infusions, when our transit system is facing looming 

"It's clear Shelly and the mayor have two different visions on the future 
development of New York City," said Assemblyman Richard Brodsky 
(D-Westchester), a close Silver ally.

But the decision by Silver and Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno to 
virtually kill the West Side stadium by abstaining in yesterday's vote 
wasn't the only blow to Bloomberg's plans.

The mayor suffered a defeat earlier in the day with the International 
Olympic Committee's release of the final evaluation of the competing 2012 
Olympic bids.

Once again, Doctoroff, the chief architect of the city's Olympic bid, tried 
desperately to spin the bad news as good news.

"We're absolutely delighted by this report with just great reviews in every 
single category, and it confirms that New York can definitely win so long 
as the [West Side] stadium is approved."

Delighted? Our deputy mayor is obviously punch-drunk.

Anyone who bothered to read the 123-page reports could see it left New York 
at best at third or fourth place in the standings.

Both Paris and London were rated "very high quality" while New York and 
Madrid came in only at "high quality." In addition, the committee listed 
only two criticisms or questions about Madrid's bid. But it listed at least 
10 separate criticisms or questions about New York's bid.

The city's failure to approve an Olympic stadium wasn't the only major 
question. The report also noted that an International Broadcast Center, 
which also is essential for a bid, was not yet in the works and "no 
guarantees were provided" that it would be built in time.

The committee also found major weaknesses in the proposed Olympic Village 
in Long Island City, including that 10 acres of land would still have to be 
purchased and that the high-rise buildings planned would pose "potential 
operational and logistical challenges."

The report added that there were security issues involving the Olympic 
Village site, which sits on the East River.

Amazingly, a special poll of residents in the competing cities and 
countries revealed that only 59% of New Yorkers and 54% of people around 
the United States even want the Olympics to be held here. That's the lowest 
percentage by far of any of the five finalist countries.

The plain fact is New York doesn't need the Olympics to be the greatest 
city in the world. It already is.

For more than a year, Bloomberg and Doctoroff tried to pass off this Jets 
giveaway as our common Olympic dream. Now the facts are in, and so are the 

A reporter asked Silver yesterday if the stadium was dead.

"It was never alive," he answered.

John Fisher, one of the many stadium opponents whose concerns were heard by 
Silver, was celebrating yesterday's vote.

"We've still got to kick it to see if it moves," Fisher said of the stadium 
plan. "Then we need to shoot it a few more times."

Originally published on June 7, 2005