The New York baseball stadium saga has taken a weird turn, as Queens city councilmembers are now threatening to hold up the Mets stadium bonds unless the team gives their borough the same sort of “community
benefits” plan that the Yankees used to grease the wheels of power in the Bronx. Councilmembers Hiram Monserrate and Tony Avella – who, you’ll remember, has previously shown his predilection for demanding to be bought off – are asking for $1 million a year for youth sports in Queens, plus job guarantees for borough residents; the Mets countered with an offer of $200,000 a year, leading Montserrate to exclaim to the Daily News: “Shame on them if they think that’s okay! Shame on them! Our kids are worth more. They have not – double underline, exclamation point – they have not done enough for my community or for the borough of Queens, and they need to.”
Despite all the excitable punctuation, it’s not really all that much money at stake: Even $1 million a year over 40 years is going to be worth less than $20 million in present-day dollars, which is chump change on a $632 million project. (The Daily News and other outlets keep insisting that the Yankees’ deal is worth $50 million, but it’s really more like a third of that.) If this dispute ends up killing or even delaying the Mets deal, I’ll eat Julian Tavarez’s cap, but in the meantime it all makes for great spectacle.