Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Alan Paul in SLAM: "Newark just makes too much sense to ignore"

SLAM mag Far Post blogger Alan Paul, who's written some good stuff from his (former) base in Beijing, hit the Izod Center Sunday not so much to see the Nets play the Knicks but to catch exactly how the Nets were putting together an evening of Chinese culture.

The aim was to lure Chinese fans of Nets forward Yi Jianlian, but Paul, now back in his New Jersey home, concluded that his different worlds came together in some unexpected ways.

Big boondoggles

He connects the dots between China, the Meadowlands, and Brooklyn:
One bizarre, somewhat troubling thing you see all the time in China are boondoggle-like public construction projects. Fly into any decent-sized city anywhere in the country and you are likely to find at least one giant public building built with grandiose vision but hazy purposes. Stadiums and arenas that no one uses, for example, dot the country....

So when I drove up the NJ Turnpike to Exit 16 and saw the bizarre Xanadu complex rising out of the former Continental (now Izod) Arena parking lot, I felt just like I was back home in China! What an insane project. And to see it going up now, with the state –where I live and pay taxes — in such desperate financial straits and essential services being curbed.. well, it’s just nuts. And then I pulled into the complex and saw the new Giants Stadium rising next to the old Giants Stadium and thought about the fact that the Nets are supposed to pull out of here soon — not to move to the beautiful new Prudential Center down the road in downtown Newark but to a fantastical, not-even-close-to-being-built $1 billion arena in Brooklyn and the mind just boggles.


The Newark option

His conclusion:
The current economic climate will hopefully bring some common sense back to dollar and cents decisions at least and I hope that one of them will be a reconsideration by he Nets about where they will be playing their games in the future. Newark just makes too much sense to ignore.

Paul, as far as I can tell, has no skin in the game. He just can see the obvious. Why build a new arena when another new one is hardly full--especially when the ever-declining rationale for federal subsidy is to poach tax revenues from an adjoining state.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the shout out. To be extra clear, I have absolutely no skin in the game.

    ReplyDelete