Staten Island columnist wants to build hockey arena, because he doesn’t understand how cities work

New York City has already built several billion dollars of new sports venues for the Yankees, Mets, Brooklyn Nets, Brooklyn Cyclones, and Staten Island Yankees, much of it with public money, but why stop there? There’s still that talk of a $400 million NYC F.C. stadium at the most inaccessible tip of Manhattan, plus why even limit yourself to teams that actually exist?

The idea of a 5,000-7,000-seat indoor entertainment and sport facility with a harbor view hit a nerve with Staten Islanders.

Some folks loved the idea of an Island building large enough to house a minor league hockey franchise and also play host to big-time entertainment.

A few hated it.

Others thought it impossible.

But plenty are interested.

Admittedly, this appears to be less an actual plan than just a Staten Island Advance columnist with a crazy idea and a soapbox. I wouldn’t even have mentioned it, in fact, if not for this quote from a College of Staten Island finance and accounting professor:

“Why not an arena?” asks [Jonathan] Peters, who tried virtually single-handedly for years to get the city seriously interested in a revival of commuter rail service on the Island. “Staten island is the same size as Detroit and Miami. Would people in those cities be surprised if something like that was built in their town?”

Where to even begin? I could start with the fact that Staten Island (population 472,621) isn’t anywhere close to the population of metro the city of (sorry, you know what I meant, right?) Detroit (688,701), but that’d be missing the main stupid here. I hate to even have to point this out, but: The city of Miami (which is indeed about the same population as Staten Island) is at the center of a metro area population of six million people. Staten Island is at the center of a population of 20 million people, of course, but it’s an area that already has multiple sports arenas, and a couple dozen existing sports teams, all of which people can choose to go to instead of the hypothetical Staten Island Ice Weasels. In fact, let’s take a look at what happens when you drop a Staten Island baseball team into a market with five to ten other baseball options, depending on where you draw the lines for “market”:

Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 9.10.50 AMThat’s a whole lot of meh, there.

Anyway, I mostly mention all this just to shake my head sadly at what can make it into the newspaper these days. So long as you can find some half-baked policy claims to point to (“Development drives down crime”!) and some local officials willing to say it’s not a totally crazy idea, that is. If you’re just a regular person who wants to build a space elevator in your backyard, don’t try this at home.

TV report: El Paso won’t get MLS team without downtown stadium, also won’t get MLS team regardless

A report from KVIA-TV notes that if El Paso wants an MLS franchise, it will need to build a downtown stadium, given league commissioner Don Garber’s remarks last week about plans for an expansion team in Miam — wait, what? El Paso?

The City of El Paso had several Quality of Life Bond project meetings prior to putting projects on the ballot in November 2012 and several El Pasoans said they wanted a major league soccer stadium, estimated to cost between $100 million and $120 million. The soccer stadium project was not put on the ballot.

Okay, so “several” people in El Paso would like to get an MLS team, but there is no actual plan for a stadium. Also, El Paso is not going to get an MLS team. It’s not, right?

In March, Garber was asked about the possibily of expanding to several cities, including Austin and San Antonio.

“It’s premature for both markets. …. Expanding in Texas is something that is likely to happen,” Garber said. “Where that happens, when that happens is still to be seen.”

El Paso is not going to get an MLS team. But you know what they say: As goes Albuquerque, so goes El Paso.