New York Sports and Convention Center in New York

Photo of New York Sports and Convention Center in New York, New York
Image courtesy of Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates
Photo of New York Sports and Convention Center in New York, New York
Image courtesy of Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates
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Photo of New York Sports and Convention Center in New York, New York
Image courtesy of Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates
Photo of New York Sports and Convention Center in New York, New York
Image courtesy of Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates
Photo of New York Sports and Convention Center in New York, New York
Image courtesy of Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates
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New York Sports and Convention Center
Also known as:NYSCC
Also known as:Jets Stadium

11th Avenue at 30th Street, New York, New York, Clinton
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When the cities of America developed in the 19th and 20th centuries, more often than not urban planners turned their backs on their greatest asset -- the waterfront. From New York to Cincinnati and Houston to Chicago lakes, rivers, and oceans were fronted not with the greatest architectural achievements, but rather with rail yards, piers, and industrial facilities. These were the engines that made cities work, and waterways were deemed a necessary evil. As the environmental movement took hold in the 1960's and 70's, politicians took a second look at their waterfronts and realized that they could be better used as amenities to draw and retain residents, and as tourist revenue streams. One by one cities started cleaning up the water, acknowledging this natural resource, and embracing a lighter-handed development model.

The New York Sports and Convention Center was intended to be a landmark along the Hudson River. Planners envisioned a marina, a waterside promenade, and pedestrian-friendly amenities. It was to be another step as New York reconciles its alienation of the rivers that have served the city for almost 400 years. The facility was designed as a deck above the massive rail yard which currently occupies the site. It's similar to how Chicago decked over a commuter rail yard, but the New York project was going to be on a far greater scale -- the Hudson Yards cover 360 acres of land. The massive deck over the Long Island Rail Road yard would have actually be owned by the State of New York.

The Sports and Convention Center plan had many unique physical attributes that distinguished it from other stadia. Primarily, it would have been the first retractable-roof stadium in the New York area. And it was going to be a large enough roof to cover the 85,000 seats. But the roof area would have done more than just protect the occupants from sun and rain. It was also going to sport more than 100,000 square feet of solar cells to help reduce the amount of energy the stadium consumeed from the public grid. The roof was also supposed to be the start of the stadium's water processing system. It was designed to collect rain and channel it through the landscaping to storage tanks. The water would then have been used for decorative fountains, and toilets.

The north and south walls of the stadium were going to be faced with a steel grid, intended to echo what was there before -- the massive sheds and piers that jutted out into the Hudson River. These structures frequently had frames that extended up past the roof line to hold cargo moving equipment. In the proposed Jets stadium, it's wasn't winches, but wind that was the focus. Thirty-four vertical wind turbines would have lined the tops of the north and south walls to generate electricity. The result was supposed to be not only an ecologically-friendly method of generating electricity, but also an interesting visual element -- a moving sculpture that helped power the stadium. And with the riverside location, the vents were expected to be moving quite a lot.

The facility was far from just a stadium for the New York Jets football team. It was also a convention center which planners hoped would help draw better, more, and bigger conventions to the city. In some opinions, the city's Javitz Center was inadequate the day it was opened, and this project would have nearly double its space. Recent moves by major conventions to smaller cities with larger convention centers is a problem that many large cities face, and most are responding by building bigger, more versatile facilities.

Beyond the mere physical impact this project would have had, there were hopes that it would have a large psychological impact on people in the neighborhood. It could have linked them with the river, provideed more parks and greenspace, shops, restaurants, bars, clubs, and a focal point for major events. In effect, the project would have taken what is now a mental and visual scar on the island and transformed it into a destination for thousands of locals, and millions of visitors.

Quick Facts
Notes
    > The old High Line elevated railway which adjoins the stadium site would have been used as a public walkway.
    > A large video screen would have displayed information, sports results, and art on the exterior of the east side of the building.
    > The stadium was going to bring the New York Jets football team back to Manhattan for the first time since 1963. After playing at the city's polo grounds, they moved to Shea Stadium in Queens, and then to Giants Stadium in New Jersey.
    > August, 2005 - The New York State legislature refuses to fund the project, killing it.
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There is one comment.

  This is just one more reason for upstate New Yorkers to hate NYC. This complex really does represent something that costs a whole lot of our money, solves none of our issues and most folks will never even see the complex. Put the money into education or towards a rail system the whole state can use instead of just benefitting the rich in NYC.

Rick Critcher - Tuesday, March 29th, 2005 @ 7:34pm  

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