WHY can't the Brooklyn Bridge have a corporate sponsor? Or the Staten Island Ferry - not to mention Central Park, Yankee Stadium and New York's fine museums? 

As we are painfully aware, New York City estimates that its budget deficit will be $3.8 billion this year. Firehouses are closing, municipal workers are losing jobs, and roads are dirtier and pot-holier. 

The typical solution? The same as every other desperate town or state - make people gamble more, raise taxes or give out more tickets. 

Can't we come up with a better idea - especially with so many landmarks just waiting to have a corporate logo affixed to their side? 

The mayor's office is already looking into something like this - the official soda of New York City, etc. And it has named its first-ever chief marketing officer. 

I wanted to help out, so I made a few calls to potential corporate sponsors like General Motors, IBM and General Electric. 

Would you, I asked, like to be the sponsor of the Brooklyn Bridge? If not a bridge, how 'bout a nice museum? Or a stadium? 

You need something cheaper: How about a playground in Chelsea? 

This sort of idea was floating around the last time the city was in a bind. In fact, I believe I was one who thought the Eveready Battery Tunnel would be a pretty damn good name - especially if the bunny folks would cough up, say, $2 million a year on a 10-year deal. 

While I could find no actual numbers of statues, park benches and fire hydrants that people might want to sponsor, let's agree that there are a lot. 

How about getting Scott's, the seed and fertilizer maker, to spread around a measly $5 million a year, for 10 years, to sponsor Central Park? Already the deficit is dropping. 

John Dough is a fictitious name for the guy in charge of corporate sponsorships at a major financial institution that spends a lot of, you know, dough each year putting its name on things like sporting events. "The Brooklyn Bridge sounds like a good idea," says Dough. "It might work for GM, especially Cadillac. Or for someone who wants to make an impact in New York." 

Who doesn't want to make an impact in New York? And the Brooklyn Bridge would be perfect for a lot of companies - Goodyear, Sears, Nike (for those who walk across). I can already see Ford sweating over the idea of a big Cadillac banner hanging over the bridge's side. 

The Erlick Group puts entertainment venues in New York together with corporate sponsors, and Jim Erlick thinks the Brooklyn Bridge is "certainly a seven-figure annual fee."

"You get several different constituencies," says Erlick. Car owners get to spend a lot of time with the bridge. And tourists who flock to the bridge would get to see your corporate logo. 

New York has something for every corporate taste. We've got Shea for companies that like sports and don't mind losers. (Maybe Avis, which used to try harder, would be interested.) 

And Yankee Stadium for the corporation that makes a lot of money and doesn't try hard enough - pick any one of the Wall Street firms. 

Companies like Pacific Bell already pay $5 million to $10 million a year to name stadiums. And those are in podunks like San Francisco. 

You wouldn't need a lot of money to get into the game. You could pay a hundred bucks a year for a park bench, or $10 for a hydrant. We'll even let you put your company's name on one of the Staten Island ferries for a hundred grand. Whew! I've lost track of all the money we just made for the city. 

I'm still waiting for a call back from IBM, GE and GM. I figure it was the holiday, not lack of interest, that's holding up my negotiations.