It was a foul idea to begin with and Mayor Bloomberg deserves congratulations for recognizing it -- finally!
City Hall's decision to sell back the luxury boxes to the Yankees and Mets was wise. The administration, it was recently revealed, got the boxes in negotiations with the two home teams back in 2006.
An avalanche of criticism descended on City Hall. And the mayor, who hopes to get reelected this year, decided to sell the luxury boxes back to the teams. Such boxes have been selling for $600,000 to $800.000 a year at Yankee Stadium. So a considerable amount of money will now go back to the city treasury.
The fact that the administration negotiated this deal in the first place is still disturbing. It confirms the feeling that to some people in power, there are two New Yorks. In one, a humble family pays a couple of hundred bucks to go to the ballpark on a summer Sunday and have hot dogs and sodas. In the other, the big shots occupy luxury boxes and get freebies to the ball games.
Elitism is not what New York should be about, Mr. Mayor, and we're glad you got the message. Congressman Anthony Weiner, of Queens and Brooklyn, who intends to run for mayor this year, had demanded that the city sell the boxes.
Assemblyman Richard Brodsky of Westchester has denounced another aspect of the city's negotiations with the teams. The city's Industrial Development Agency is about to approve an issue of tax-free bonds for the teams to complete their projects.
''This is just an embarrassment,” Brodsky told the New York Post. The city is broke. We can't fund the MTA. We can't fund schools and we're giving them $400 million. And, by the way, we're giving up the free luxury suites. This comes under the heading of 'give me a break.' ''
Pardon the metaphor, but the luxury box idea was a steal from the beginning -- and the mayor, acting as umpire, has finally called it right.