There is something seriously missing with New York City and State officials when it comes to convention centers (“In boro, loss of center raises many questions,” June 7).
Several years ago The Brookings Institution issued a report (“Report Finds a Glut in Space For Meetings”), that raised serious issues about convention space. The report stated: “You’ve got cities around the country building new or expanded convention space at a very rapid rate in a market that is already glutted and over,” and, “In an environment where every major center around the country is sharply discounting rental rates or giving space away and throwing in incentives, the likelihood of any succeeding is remarkably thin.” It also pointed out there was a decline in attendance, I suspect due to the use of the internet, in buying and the opening of facilities near the large corporations’ buying offices.
Were the above in and of itself not enough to suggest the foolishness of the “world’s largest convention center,” reference must be made to the Javits Center on the West Side of Manhattan, which, while structurally sound, is currently undergoing an extensive taxpayer-funded $1.4 billion renovation, purportedly to make it more competitive. The idea is to then demolish Javits when this new “super” center is completed. Presumably this valuable tract of land will then be turned over to fat cat real estate mogul friends of far too many myopic politicians in this state.
There is even more. At the end of the day conventioneers also want to be where the action is. That is Manhattan, not the boondocks of Aqueduct and not Willets Point. As to Willets Point, there is also talk of a 1,000-room hotel, this in an area choked with congestion and the Grand Central Parkway, Van Wyck Expressway and Northern Boulevard traffic arteries, which are incapable of being expanded. The claim that it will bring jobs to Queens is nonsense. Queens is part of New York City and State, and it would be illegal to limit jobs to Queens residents or give them priorities — particularly since it will be city and state taxpayer dollars that will undoubtedly subsidize directly or indirectly the developers. The public should question why a proposed convention center is tied to a gambling casino and the huge sums of money floating around to buy political support.
The Brennan Center for Justice, a public interest law center at the NYU School of Law, rated the New York State Legislature the worst in the nation. What the people of this city and state need, is a functioning Legislature and governor who do not believe their only constituents are special interests. What we do not need is another convention center, albeit a useless one.