New York Sports Teams Abandon Home Turf in Time of Need

New Jets office in Florham Park, N.J. Photo: Florian Holzherr

For a bunch of guys who know the privilege of a ticker-tape parade down Wall Street, the owners of the city’s major sports franchises sure don’t seem to mind leaving the city in the lurch as that same street goes up in flames. The Jets moved their business operations this fall into a sparkly new architectural wonder of a facility featuring four fields (one indoors, with simulated rubber dust) in New Jersey (pictured), leaving three floors of office space on West 57th Street languishing on the market. The owner of that space, Vornado Realty Trust, has recently despaired of co-developing a commercial district around a new Madison Square Garden–Moynihan Station complex, largely due to intransigence on the part of the Knicks’ and Rangers’ owners. “Since the Garden pulled away and then really pulled away, it became up to the government to make that project, and it’s now about transportation,” says an insider wistfully. And the Yankees and Mets, while technically paying for their new stadiums, are tapping the city for a billet of services from demolition to free land to, in the Yankees’ case, tax-exempt financing. We’ve heard lots of times that sports create multipliers in the economy, making every multimillion-dollar salary a hook for a host of decent service jobs. Something to debate next time you’re enjoying a Brooklyn Nets game … oh, never mind.