Jets Stadium Out

With a whisper, the ambitious drive to have an Olympic stadium in New York City came to a close June 6th when two leaders of the State Legislature voted against the project.

The office of Mayor Michael Bloomberg fought to build a $2.2 billion stadium atop the railyards on the city’s West Side that would not only attract the 2012 Summer Olympic Games but act as principal home for the New York Jets football team.

The Jets planned to kick down most of the financing, but Bloomberg’s $300-million kick-in was much of the reason why only 40 percent of New Yorkers supported the plan.

The bid came down to approval by the Public Authorities Control Board, a three-member panel comprising Gov. George Pataki, State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno. The latter two voted against building the stadium, with Silver saying he wasn’t going to support a facility on the West Side under any circumstances.

“The 2012 Summer Games are being used as a shield to hide another goal to shift the financial and business capital of the world out of lower Manhattan and over to the West Side,” he told reporters.

Whatever the case, the International Olympic Committee wasn’t about to give NYC the games without an Olympic stadium in place. Instead, the IOC says Paris is in the lead for the bid, with London, Madrid and Moscow the other real contenders.

“We have let down America” Bloomberg told the press. “The [United States Olympic Committee] selected New York to represent the country and we won because people had confidence that New Yorkers would be able to do things, but it turned out that we, unfortunately, were not able to.”

Meanwhile, the Jets are thinking about bunking up with the New York Giants at their proposed $750 million stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., and casting their funds into a co-ownership agreement.

“Our preference all along has been to play in a building with the Jets,” Giants CEO John Mara said. “This is not a risk-free proposition, coming up with $750 million and financing the stadium.”