With Brooklyn residents having retained former New York Civil Liberties Union director Norman Siegel to fight the seizure of their homes to make way for a new Nets arena, everyone and their sister is popping up with ideas for alternate sites. So far the list includes Coney Island, the Brooklyn Navy Yard, East New York, and either of two sites in Queens, the Sunnyside rail yards or the Shea Stadium parking lot. While none of these locations would require evictions, there would still be the question of how to pay for them: Nets owner-in-waiting Bruce Ratner has demanded $585-million-plus in public subsidies for his “Atlantic Yards” site, and would doubtless demand that taxpayers cover construction costs at a new location as well.
The Shea Stadium site, floated by Queens councilmember Eric Gioia, has still another problem: the New York Mets want to put their own new digs there. Team owner Fred Wilpon confirmed that the Mets have reopened discussions with the city on a new $800 million stadium to replace Shea, observing unhelpfully: “We and the Yankees have gone together to talk with the city. Each of us has had the ability to do the planning. The planning is ongoing. Will anything happen? I really can’t tell you. I really don’t know.”