Hot Dog!

Interstate Bakeries opts to keep Jamaica factory running, retaining hundreds of jobs

Interstate Bakeries opts to keep Jamaica factory running, retaining hundreds of jobs

Crain’s New York

Hot dogs won’t lack buns in Queens

By Hilary Potkewitz

Published: February 22, 2009 – 5:59 am

Residents of Jamaica, Queens, can sleep soundly. Their buns are staying in the oven.

After emerging from bankruptcy early this month, Interstate Bakeries Corp. wasted no time in trumpeting the glad tidings: Its Jamaica factory, the city’s largest maker of hot dog rolls, will remain open. The century-old plant on 268th Street and Douglas Avenue has about 350 full-time and more than 100 part-time workers. Its products are made under the Wonder Bread and Nature’s Pride labels.

“This was extraordinary news for us,” says Richard Werber, director of the business services group at the Greater Jamaica Development Corp. “We want to hold on to those manufacturing companies, because generally speaking, their jobs pay far better than retail jobs and provide a clearer and higher ladder for advancement.”

About 70% of the plant’s employees live in Queens, according to GJDC data. Kansas City-based Interstate filed for Chapter 11 in 2004. It has closed several facilities in the Midwest, eliminating hundreds of jobs.

Though the Jamaica plant isn’t Interstate’s most advanced facility, New York is one of the company’s largest markets, so keeping production here made sense, according to Interstate.

As a bonus, New York ranks No. 1 in the nation’s top 10 hot dog-eating cities, buying about $113 million worth of franks a year, according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council’s most recent survey. That’s not surprising, given the Big Apple’s multiple sports arenas, Coney Island’s Nathan’s Famous and an army of street vendors.

Queens also has bragging rights in that Shea Stadium beat out other Major League Baseball venues in the all-important hot dog sales standings, the council says. Mets fans ate more than 2 million dogs—with buns—last season, barely six miles from Interstate Bakeries’ cargo bay.

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Mets Ought to Bank on Jackie Robinson Field

Philadelphians seem to have a better understanding of New York sports history and tradition than the current owners of the Mets.

From NBC Philadelphia
By   JERE HESTER

Updated 7:25 AM EST, Wed, Feb 4, 2009

Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier in 1947. Six decades later, the Mets have the opportunity to do the right thing, and name their new ballpark after the baseball hero.

A report that bailout-begging Citigroup wants out of its $400 million naming-rights deal for the New York Mets’ new ballpark is a chance for the team to finally do the right thing: name the stadium after Jackie Robinson.

Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson

Citi Field sits right next to Shea Stadium in Queens, N.Y. Whether or not it will retain its corporate moniker is a question on a lot of people’s minds.

Robinson, of course, never played for the Mets. But he broke baseball’s insidious color barrier nearly 62 years ago, tearing up the base paths for the team’s spiritual and local National League predecessors, the Brooklyn Dodgers.

It was much more than just a New York sports story: Robinson, with his on-the-field determination and off-the-field dignity amid threats and venom spewed by fools, struck a blow for fair play and civil rights. He blazed a trail that arguably helped make way for Barack Obama’s journey to the White House six decades later.

Citigroup, meanwhile, has received $45 billion in taxpayer bailout funds, spurring calls by some lawmakers to scrap the expensive naming-rights deal.

CitiField Which Rhymes With.........

CitiField Which Rhymes With.........

No one is rooting for Citigroup to fail. But amid tough times, the company shouldn’t be spending $400 million on a stadium name – Citi Field – that’s already been mocked by fans for its corporate sound and its unfortunate rhyming possibilities.

Besides, whatever happened to the notion that baseball stadium names should have something to do with baseball?

It’s a fight against the odds, but Robinson never let odds stand in his way. So fans, let your voices be heard, and demand that the Mets give us Jackie Robinson Field — the most fitting way for the pioneering ballplayer’s legacy to live on in the city where he helped change our world.

Read the full article…………

Mets New Stadium – Taxpayer Field

Tax Payer Field

Taxpayer Field

FROM NEWSDAY

BY KEITH HERBERT

January 30, 2009

Two members of the House of Representatives are demanding that the Mets scrap their $400-million naming-rights deal with financially troubled Citigroup because of the bank’s receipt of federal bailout money.

Reps. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) and Ted Poe (R-Texas) sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner requesting he “dissolve” the contract with the Mets to name their stadium Citi Field. The Mets’ home opener there is set for April 13.

In an interview yesterday, Kucinich said the financial behemoth is in no position to lay out cash to have its name on the Queens stadium. “It’s just totally unacceptable that Citigroup should be able to spend $400 million in naming rights when they’re the recipients of a massive federal bailout,” he said.

Kucinich and Poe wrote that Citigroup’s financial footing “has changed drastically” since the naming rights deal was struck in 2006. The agreement calls for Citigroup to pay $400 million over 20 years for the naming rights.

The Mets “are fully committed to our contract with Citigroup,” said Jay Horowitz, the team’s spokesman.

Steve Silverman, a spokesman for Citigroup in Manhattan, called the contract with the Mets a “legally binding agreement” signed two years ago.

Once a financial juggernaut, Citigroup has been hit hard in the economic downturn. Taxpayers have funneled $350 billion to the banking giant as part of a federal financial rescue, including loans, in the last several months, the representatives wrote in their letter.

In November, Citigroup announced plans to cut 50,000 jobs.

Questions relating to the naming rights deal emerged last year as the financial institution’s troubles surfaced and some wondered if the record-setting deal should be ditched. Two Staten Island councilmen even proposed changing the name to Taxpayer Field.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE

Among the athletic venues that have had to be renamed because of financial or legal woes of their sponsors:

ENRON FIELD. The Houston Astros bought back the naming rights of their ballpark shortly after Enron Corp. declared bankruptcy in late 2001. On June 5, 2002, the Astros announced that Minute Maid Co. would pay an estimated $170 million for a new 28-year naming rights deal.

MCI CENTER. The multipurpose venue in Washington, D.C., became the Verizon Center in 2006 after Verizon acquired MCI WorldCom in the wake of the WorldCom scandal.

ADELPHIA COLISEUM. In 2002, when Adelphia Communications went bankrupt, the NFL’s Tennessee Titans exited the naming contract without financial penalties. The stadium became known as The Coliseum until naming rights were acquired by Louisiana-Pacific (LP Field) in 2006.

PAIGE SPORTS ARENA. In 2004, the new basketball arena at the University of Missouri was named after the daughter of two major donors to the university. After allegations of academic fraud against the daughter surfaced, her parents removed her name from the arena.

PSINET STADIUM. The Baltimore Ravens’ home field became M&T Bank Stadium in 2003 after PSINet declared bankruptcy.

Former Met & Yankee Rickey Henderson Gets The Call

rickey_henderson_autograph

Former Yankee & Met Rickey Henderson got the call yesterday. 511 of the 539 baseball writers (94.8%) voted to induct Henderson into the Baseball Hall of Fame on his first year of eligibility. Henderson is baseballs career leader in runs scored (2,295), stolen basses (1,406), and leadoff HR’s (81). Henderson is second in walks (2,190). Henderson played for the Yankees from 1985 – 1989 and with the Mets from 1999 – 2000. The Bay Terrace Cafe would like to congratulate Rickey Henderson on this amazing accomplishment. Thank you for all the years of exciting baseball and many memories.