We need to give additional thought to the Grand Prix race scheduled to come to West New York and Weehawken in 2013. The organizers claim this race would be a boon for the local economy, bringing in $100 million. But I think this is a big gamble disguised by overly optimistic advertising. Take recent events promoted for the economic benefits to host cities: the Olympics in London, or the Republican National Convention in Tampa Bay, FL. Events like these don’t always live up to the economic hype for host cities. The promoters for these events often undersell potential problems, like travel delays or bad weather, or unintended costs. And in this case, the Grand Prix chose New Jersey for its proximity to New York City—where most of the tourists will be staying, spending money, and trafficking to and from the race—which brings into question how much these economic projections will actually land in New Jersey.
Here’s what we do know the race will bring in: thousands of out-of-towners, blocked driveways, crowded transit, trash, police barriers, and lots of noise—all over the course of several days. As a local resident, thinking about this race already gives me a headache.