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Bosco’s Corner: Jets could land at new Queens stadium

Over the past several years, being an employee of the TimesLedger Newspapers has kept me abreast of a lot of things that I probably would not have known otherwise, everything from a car wreck in Ridgewood to the political goings on in this blessed borough.

But perhaps the thing that has stuck with me most has been the proposed stadium to be built in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, a stadium that would replace Shea Stadium as the home of the New York Mets and could even house a professional football team.

Such an idea could open the door to bringing back the New York Jets from their rental home in New Jersey, otherwise known as Giants Stadium.

The idea, however, has been pretty much on the shelf since the attacks of Sept. 11. Further burying the possibility of a new home for the Mets is the city’s current fiscal woes, i.e. the five boroughs are pretty much broke and a stadium is the last thing on anyone’s mind.

Of course, the absurd pursuit for the city to host the 2012 Olympics still is in high gear, with New York having won the bid as the nation’s representative city in the international pool. This means it is possible that a stadium will be built in New York for that event, but on the West Side of Manhattan behind Penn Station.

Of all the ideas that have been floated for a new stadium, the West Side stadium concept is the worst of all. Manhattan is already congested as it is, so why on Earth would anyone want to build a stadium that would hold up to 80,000 people next to Madison Square Garden, particularly when there is real estate to be had in Queens?

Not only would such a stadium be a massive security risk, it also would not have a spacious parking lot, such as the Meadowlands, limiting tailgating if the Jets were to call it home. And what is football without tailgating?

Sure, the city would make money from public transportation, and the paid parking lots surrounding the site would make a ton of greenbacks, but football and Manhattan go together like peanut butter and whitefish. It just shouldn’t be.

I am a biased Jets fan, one who doesn’t like to trek to another state to watch his football team, and a Queens guy, born and raised. I want the Jets here, where they belong.

For those who have forgotten or are too young to remember, the Jets used to play their home games at the current Shea Stadium. It was there that they forged such great NFL moments as O.J. Simpson’s breaking the 2,000-yard mark, Mark Gastineau’s dancing and the pro debut of Johnny “Lam” Jones.

I kid, of course. Sarcasm comes easy when I write about the Jets. I love them and I hate them. Still, I want them here. I am convinced the Jets will not win the Super Bowl again until they return to Queens and stop renting. Did you know the Jets are the only NFL team not to have their own stadium? Sad, but true.

They had to move out of Shea, though. I completely understand that the franchise could not stay in a place that could seat significantly fewer fans than other NFL stadiums, not to mention everything else that goes along with playing in a place with luxury sky boxes.

Granted, Shea Stadium has not been the best home field for either the Mets or the Jets, but a new stadium, such as the retrograde retractable dome that was planned several years ago and dubbed a new Ebbetts Field, would be very, very sweet. Maybe even a few Mets could hit home runs in such a ballpark.

Lest you forget I am a Mets fan as well, which is something that becomes more and more embarrassing to admit with each passing day. Still, maybe a new stadium would sway the fortunes to the team that seems destined to finish in last place this year.

I am probably in the minority on this one, but I see few drawbacks to having such a stadium in Queens. Not only would New York City get a pro football team back, but it also would sport a state-of-the-art facility for all manner of events. If I remember correctly, the new stadium would be built in the parking lot of the current Shea Stadium, which would then be razed to make room for parking. Sounds fine to me.

Of course, building a similar stadium on the West Side of Manhattan would only add to the current congestion of the island. Besides, with all the rebuilding the city has planned at Ground Zero, why would they want to further muck up the works with a new stadium?

Eliminate the 2012 Olympics and you eliminate the need for a new stadium on the West Side. I think it’s nuts to even think about hosting the Olympics, but I’m probably in the minority with that as well. We don’t need to be an even bigger target when we are already the biggest. That would be like the Yankees adding payroll.

As of now, though, plans for a new stadium in Queens are all but dead. Maybe if the economy turns around, maybe if the Olympics end up in Paris and maybe if the Jets and Mets can agree to get together and co-own the thing and shoulder some of the financial burden of building it ... all not likely anytime soon.

But with football season about to start and the pennant races kicking into high gear, I can dream, can’t I?

Reach Sports Editor Anthony Bosco by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 130.

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