Thursday, December 03, 2009
Help From My Friends
Wouldn't you like a stadium or sports complex named after you or your company? Perhaps your immediate thoughts are, "At what cost?" In the case of Citi Field, the answer is $400 million dollars - $20 million dollars per year over 20 years. That's a lot of money, but nothing to worry about with a little help from your friends - the U.S. Taxpayers in the form of a $45 billion dollar bailout.
This is what prompted New York City Council members James S. Oddo and Vincent Ignizio to propose the new park be named Citi/Taxpayer Field. The cheeky remark was circulated and commented online.
The naming deal was made in 2006. However, by 2008, with the banking/economic crisis in full swing, Citigroup was in dire trouble as a result of heavy exposure to troubled debts in subprime mortgages. A government rescue ensued.
Citi Field in Flushing Meadows–Corona Park was completed in 2009, built as a replacement for neighboring Shea Stadium as a new home for the New York Mets. It was designed by Populous and featured elements of the legendary Ebbets Field (1913-1960), located in Flatbush, Brooklyn, and home to the Brooklyn Dodgers. You can see the design influence here in the photo of the exterior entrance to Ebbets Field. See Citi Field here, as viewed from the Roosevelt Bridge overlooking Willets Point.
Shea Stadium was built in 1964 (dismantled in 2008) and funded primarily by the 1964 World's Fair. It was used as a multi-purpose arena and had numerous rock groups and events. Pope John Paul II made an appearance there in October 1979. Perhaps its most legendary claim was the 1965 Beatles opening of their 1965 North American tour. Two years later, in 1967, the Beatles wrote With a Little Help from My Friends. Apparently someone from Citi was listening and later took their advice :)