Jan
02

Parking the next aspect of the Great Stadium Swindle

By

newysconstruction.jpg

New Yankee Stadium looms over the 4 train platform. With parking prices through the roof, taking the subway is looking ever more appealing. (Photo by Ben K.)

It’s new stadium day on RAB. I’ve got a post of photos from the construction site set to hit later this afternoon at 2 p.m., but first, let’s delve into the ever-popular realm of taxpayer-funded subsidies for Major League Baseball’s richest team.

At the end of November, I looked at how the city is being bilked out of money for the Metro-North station, and it’s no secret that taxpayers are picking up more than their fair share of construction considering initial reports that the Yankees were willing to pay for much of the stadium costs. And of course, this isn’t the first time I’ve looked at parking. We know that it may cost as much as $25 to park at the new stadium. But today’s story is all kinds of special.

Via Juan Gonzalez at The Daily News comes word that taxpayers are going to fund Yankee employee parking at the new stadium. Say what?

The Yankees and hundreds of their VIPs will get free valet parking for the next 40 years, courtesy of New York taxpayers.

The startling revelation of yet another subsidy for the richest team in baseball is buried deep in the fine print of a $237 million tax-exempt bond offering that city officials quietly issued the week before Christmas.

The documents say a $70 million state subsidy for parking improvements for the new Yankee Stadium (slated to open next year) has been earmarked for a new 660-car valet parking garage where virtually all the spaces will be reserved for the free, year-round use of the Yankees and their VIPs.

But wait, there’s more: The total cost of the parking lot project is now $80 million over budget, and the Yankees will receive a total of 600 free spaces for team personnel cars, 120 gameday spaces for private cars of city cops – who could take the subway )Ed. Note: Or they could drive. We have nothing against the cops at RAB.) – and another 130 spots for days without games reserved for, as Gonazlez writes, “city vehicles on ‘official business.’”

While most taxpayers in the City won’t really feel the effects of this hit, fans of the Yankees are in for sticker shock as well. Parking at the new stadium will cost $29 in 2010 and could reach the $35 level by 2014. At this point, people coming to the new stadium just should take the subway or Metro-North. It’s much easier and cheaper to park and ride somewhere than it will be to drive to the South Bronx come 2009.

The city probably won’t recoup the projected $3.2 million in annual parking lot rents until 2014 and even then, Gonzalez and his sources estimate that parking may have to reach around $40 for the lots to realize their full earnings potential. Nothing can really halt this public fleecing right now, but we should hold public figures accountable for deals that harm taxpayers.

Update: I missed the Juan Gonzalez companion piece this morning. The company building the parking lots at Yankee Stadium has a track record of defaulting on payments. In a nutshell, this means that New York taxpayers could be out another few hundred million dollars if the Community Initiatives Development Corporation keeps up its stellar payment track record.

Categories : Yankee Stadium
  • Relaunch

    This is really a sad situation. It will be harder and harder for the average fan or even family come to the stadium anymore because of economics.

  • Jerry J.

    You had me on your side until you threw in that ridiculous comment about cops taking the subway. There are many reasons why I disagree with that comment. One being that why shouldn’t cops have a spot to park there car when they will be working there breaking up fights outside when the fans who cant control themselves exit the stadium or bar, protecting those same fans inside the stadium! Why should cops have to take 5 subways to get to the stadium from Brooklyn? SO these cops are good enough to protect you inside but lets make them inconvenienced when they need to get home to there family’s!

    Why is one of the first things mentioned the cops? I agree with you that these parking spots for the players and city officials should not be subsidized by taxpayers. But let me clarify one thing about the editor of this article, he hates cops and is forever attacking cops. How bout this, instead of giving the players free parking as per tax payers pockets, why not raise taxes at the most $100 per year per family and give those underpaid cops a damm raise already. I for one am a city tax payer and feel that they deserve one even though I am not a cop. They are the lowest paying cops in the country and work in the most stressful environments. I have a nephew who is one of them. Instead of worrying about the parking spots that gets the cops to the stadium in there police cars or private cars to stand outside the stadium and make sure you and your family are comfortable maybe we should write the editor of that article and explain to him that these cops deserve alot more than mere parking spots!

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      I can get you from Brooklyn to Yankee Stadium on two subway lines MAXIMUM no matter where in the subway-accessible realms of Brooklyn you are. Five subway lines is simply hyperbole.

      And city, state and federal employees shouldn’t get parking privileges just because of their employer. If they choose to drive to work when other cost-efficient and environmentally-friendly options are available, they should have to pay the costs associated with that choice. All I said was that they “could” take the subway; I didn’t say they “should” take the subway.

      • Steve S

        Ben

        I think you are out of line in reference to Cops. These guys get paid $40K a year to risk their lives, the least you can do is let them have free reign on parking.

        Other civil servants I can agree, but NYC Cops should be entitled.

        • Kevin23

          I, for one, would absolutely love to see someone hauled into custody via the subway. The snickering he’d have to endure on his way downtown would be a more effective deterrent than 2 years in Riker’s Island.

          Besides, I see no downside to having the nations largest police force be at the mercy of the nations most inefficient power company. “Attention passengers, a guy threw up on the train ahead, so no one will be protected or served for at least 40 – 45 minutes. Please don’t loot anything in the meantime.”

  • pounder

    Well,we can all boycott them.

  • Ed

    Damn Ben, you really hate this stadium. I’m the first to say I don’t think they should replace the existing stadium, but since they decided they must, they are going about it the right way.

    Stop and think about things a little. The city gets all the money from the parking lot. If any city employees were to park there as part of their job, they would include any parking fees in their expense reports and get reimbursed. Charging them for parking would actually cost the city more, as they’d have to process more paperwork for expensive reports. Giving city employees free parking ends up with the same revenue, but less overhead for the city and less hassles for everyone involved.

    And I’d certainly expect the team employees to get free parking. I wouldn’t expect them to give the city the rights to parking money without getting that.

    You also seem to be rather back and forth on your stance on the subway. You feel it’s unreasonable for cops to drive instead of taking the subway, yet you act like it’s unreasonable for fans to be expected to take mass transit. The opposite should be true – you should be encouraging the 50,000 fans to take mass transit. If a cop feels he’s better off taking a car to work, I’m not complaining.

    • Relaunch

      Come on Ed, that will make tailgating even harder to do!

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      Ed: I think you’re misreading my take.

      I am one of the biggest proponents of mass transit. In fact, I like seeing parking prices so high because that way, people will take the subway when they should be doing so instead of driving. As a pro-mass transit advocate, nothing irks me more than seeing a family drive from 86th and Madison to Yankee Stadium when the subway is, literally, right there.

      As for my new stadium feelings, I’m anti-New Yankee Stadium, but I think they should go about it the right way. I have a problem with the way the city is paying for stadium parking. If the Yankees want their employees to have parking spots for free, why don’t they foot the bill for parking lot construction? I don’t think that’s an unreasonable expectation.

      • Relaunch

        Many of the people that go to the stadium do not have MT access (Jersey,CT, NY outside the city). The situation you mentioned where people drive from 86th to the stadium is very rare. What is even more ridiculous is wanting the ticket prices even higher. I have season tickets and go to many games a year, I also tailgate at many of them (you actually have been to one of them). Increasing prices even more ruins the entire expeerience for many Yankee fans, including me.

  • TurnTwo

    i really could care less about any of this taxpayer stuff. I’m not a resident of NYC, but I do live in NJ where just built the Prudential Center on taxpayer money, and i could really care less about that just the same.

    yes, i guess technically the state will get my money as a taxpayer somehow, but i’m not going to take the time to micromanage the state’s accounting books to figure out how exactly they’ll get it from me…. and if they want to get my money, they’ll do it anyway, so if i’m going to “pay,” why not “pay” for something i’ll enjoy and get use out of?

    and i cant help but look at these pics in the Bronx, and then see the pics of the new stadium in Queens, and wonder why they look so far behind… of course, they are always going to say they are on or ahead of sched, but to me it looks like a pretty dramatic difference in the stages of construction.

  • jerry j

    ED, thankyou my friend, I couldn’t have said it better.

    Ben, you are wrong on this point and you have been taking to task on this issue. So let me ask you this, what is your stance on the cops in this city? Are you that concerned about spots being reserved for the cops? Are you one of the many voices that are the first to complain when a crime occurrs but the last willing to reach into your pocket and increase your tax paying money per year to pay these cops especially when these cops continuosly deter crimes from occurring? This shouldn’t even be about the cops, but since you qouted this famously liberal writer Juan Gonzalez who takes every chance he can get to bash the cops, I would like to know your opinion on this stance since I do come on this site alot and enjoy your postings along with your fellow editors. I’m sure I am not the only one that would love to hear what you have to say about the message you sent by adding a qoute from Mr. Gonzalez. So what is your stance?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      I’m not quite sure what my opinion on cops has to do with the Yankees.

      But if you want to know: I think the cops in NYC are woefully underpaid. I have no problems with cops getting paid more money to do their jobs as they deserve just like New York City public school teachers should be getting paid more money.

      But really, that’s not the issue here. The issue here is that the Yankees are not spending their own money for their parking. Forget the cops part. One line in this post got blown way out of proportion. Rather, why should the Yankees get a free ride on over 700 parking spaces? That’s the real issue.

      • Ed

        Rather, why should the Yankees get a free ride on over 700 parking spaces? That’s the real issue.

        It’s not an issue. It would be stupid if that wasn’t the case. Would you think it was “fair” if you had to pay $30 each day to park at your office? Remember, of those ~700 parking spaces, probably under 50 of them are going to people with salaries high enough to not care about the cost.

        Oh no! The guy tearing your ticket stub as you enter the stadium got a free parking space! The horrors!

        The only thing possibly wrong with this is that they went with the extra expense of valet parking. But even that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as when there’s valet parking, you usually put more cars in the same amount of space, meaning you need less space for the garage, leaving more space for paid parking.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

          I don’t know anyone who works in New York City and gets free parking courtesy of the city because of where they work. People at my office who drive to the city have to pay hundreds of dollars a month for the privilege of parking. Why should the Yankees be any different?

          Meanwhile, it completely is the issue because the City is paying for the construction with taxpayer money. When a private developer builds a building, they pay for the construction of a parking garage if they so choose. The Yankees are building a new stadium; if they want to include parking for their employees, they should foot the bill for the parking construction. I still haven’t heard why taxpayers should be paying for the construction of parking lot spaces that will be given to the Yankees for free.

          • Ed

            Meanwhile, it completely is the issue because the City is paying for the construction with taxpayer money. When a private developer builds a building, they pay for the construction of a parking garage if they so choose. The Yankees are building a new stadium; if they want to include parking for their employees, they should foot the bill for the parking construction. I still haven’t heard why taxpayers should be paying for the construction of parking lot spaces that will be given to the Yankees for free.

            The city is paying for the parking lot construction because they’re collecting the revenue generated from it. If the Yankees paid for their own parking garage, they would have just paid for all of the parking and kept the parking money. This is the option the city preferred. The Yankees would’ve easily preferred to handle the parking on their own, however, they had to make this deal to get the help they did from the city.

            I don’t know anyone who works in New York City and gets free parking courtesy of the city because of where they work. People at my office who drive to the city have to pay hundreds of dollars a month for the privilege of parking. Why should the Yankees be any different?

            If you work at a large company (say, one that has its own building), it’s not uncommon for them to have a parking garage. Verizon, for example, lets employees use the garage for free during the hours the service trucks are in use. Priority is given to employees based on seniority.

            You’re looking at this way too closely and missing the overall picture. It’s not the city giving the Yankees free parking. It’s the Yankees letting the city have the rights to the parking lot they would’ve preferred to build on their own.

  • http://nosenseworrying.vsport.tv Jen

    Some of us on the other side of the Hudson really have no viable option but to drive into the Bronx, especially for weekday games. I work in central Jersey and live in north Jersey. I don’t want to have to go back to Metro Park after a game ends at 10:30-11:00, only to have to drive back up to Clifton.

    Believe me, if I could take mass transit and make it home before 1am I would. But unless I move or get a new job before next year, looks like I’ll be selling a few more tickets on StubHub to defray the cost.

  • LiveFromNewYork

    Anyone can drive into Manhattan and take the subway to the game. Most people who live upstate should be taking MetroNorth. There is NO reason to drive to the Stadium. It’s insanity on game days. It’s going to be much worse.

    There are plenty of day weekend games that people can take mass transit to without it being a big deal.

    It’s fine with me that cops drive to the stadium and stadium employees but everyone else should be taking mass transit.

    Besides, the subway after a Yankee win (esp over the RS) is a fun time.

  • Steve S

    is this that big of a deal? First of all the cost of parking, even at the inflated rates is less than what is costs to park in the theater district in the City. Yankee games are entertainment, who cares how much it costs, its a luxury to go, not a necessity. As for the taxpayer costs, I agree its a problem, but again is it that much of a surprise. Between Guiliani and certain state senators, apparently cops and state troopers are escorting politicians and their distant relatives all over the place. In the grand scheme of NY politics, this is not that big of a deal.

    Additionally, haven’t the Yankees used primarily Bronx construction companies in building this place? Wasnt that part of the deal for them getting the government subsidies and tax free bonds? Well Im sure the City and other pushed certain contractors to the front of the line. Its all sorted but unfortunately these are the types of things needed to get a multi-million dollar structure built in NYC.

  • Bo

    Life isn’t perfect. The stadium is in the Bronx. Right there says it all about traffic, cops, crime, pain in the ass, etc.

  • Kevin23

    Parking anywhere near a subway in Manhattan for several hours is about $50. I don’t see why the stadium should be any different. I realize the topic is waste and passing it on, which should always be frowned upon, but it doesn’t grab me right away as a travesty to charge people the going rate at a premium event.

    And I have to agree that the Bronx has nothing else. This is their crown jewel. The city should make it worth their while to upgrade for the long haul. And in return they should demand a good set of resources like parking spots and access points so they can monitor and protect their investment.

  • LiveFromNewYork

    We’ve even lucky they’ve kept it in the Bronx. Big George wanted to go to Manhattan for years and under Guiliani that could have happened. The Grand Concourse was once the crown jewel of the Bronx. while I’d hate to see the great shops and restaurants in the Bronx go the way of the mallification of Manhattan (manhattan is looking like every mall in America…Gap, Starbucks, ATM on every block…where is the NYC in this place anymore?) I’d love to see the resurgence of the Bronx and I’d love for it to center around YS.

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