The motto for Major League Soccer’s initial push to establish a franchise and stadium in New York City was “Let’s bring pro soccer to Queens.”
But now an elected official from across the East River is saying “Let’s bring pro soccer to the Bronx.”
A duo of megalith sports franchises, the New York Yankees and Britain’s Manchester City Football Club, announced on Monday Major League Soccer’s 20th franchise and second foray in the tri-state metropolitan area: New York City Football Club.
As officials from MLS, the Bronx Bombers, Abu Dhabi-owned Man City and Mayor Bloomberg congratulated each other during a Tuesday press conference rolling out the franchise, there was one notable absence: the Unisphere, which had become ubiquitous in the league’s push to build a home in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
Major League Soccer’s proposal to build a stadium in Flushing Meadows Corona Park has re-emerged this week, jangling a borough that has spent the better part of three months focused elsewhere.
The league once again contends it’s weeks away from finalizing a deal with the city, as it did last fall. This time, the league may have found an oil-rich owner for the proposed franchise: Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a billionaire member of the Abu Dhabi royal family and deputy prime minister of the United Arab Emirates.
MLS Commissioner Don Garber
Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber hopes to announce a deal for its 20th franchise in “4 to 6 weeks.”
The Queens native alluded to a potential deal finally being ironed out with the city that could let MLS to announce its latest franchise.
The announcement will presumably be followed by the kickoff of the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure that would allow it to set up a 35,000-seat stadium in the heart of Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
The cold gusts of a January afternoon pass The Greenroom in Harrison, NJ as a bartender preps orange and lemon wedges despite what will probably be a slow night.
She surveys the empty tables and desolate bar in front of her as she serves a lone patron a pint. It’s usually quiet around this time of year for the bar. “Things get busy when the Red Bulls come play,” she says.
Five individuals connected to contentious development projects in state Sen. Jose Peralta’s (D-East Elmhurst) district have donated to his borough president campaign, though his disclosures with the city’s Campaign Finance Board do not reveal the connection.
Community groups and residents opposing proposed expansions in Flushing Meadows Corona Park staged a rally and park cleanup on a rainy Sunday afternoon, lambasting three nearby planned projects near as corporate land grabs that would rob the community of “sacred” parkland.
Major League Soccer on Tuesday evening held a town hall discussion in Queens Theatre in the Park aimed at reaching out to the community and airing thoughts surrounding its proposed 25,000-seat stadium in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
A town hall meeting that featured Argentinian soccer broadcaster Fernando Fiore riling up the crowd and leading chants of “Futbol en Queens.”
The issue is not whether the proposed soccer stadium in Flushing Meadows Corona Park will not result in the loss of fields as claimed by Mark Abbot, the president of Major League Soccer (“No loss of fields,” Letters, Oct. 18). The issue is not, as claimed by Mr. Abbot, that the MLS will maintain current soccer fields in the park.
The issue is not Mr. Abbot’s purported philanthropy. The issue is yet another prostitution of FMCP by giving — not to a nonprofit organization or one engaged in charitable public works but to a private, for-profit business — up to 13 acres of urban parkland. Professional soccer, li
ke all other professional sports clubs, is owned by immensely wealthy people, and, like all private for-profit businesses, exists solely to make money, as much money as possible. I find no fault with making money, but I do object to making money by a parkland grab and adding to the ongoing dismantling of FMCP. I do object to the claim it will create jobs (minimal part-time when all is said and done) and I do object to the claim it contributes to the city’s economy, pennies in the context of our gross annual economy. I do object to the claim the stadium will be in an unused part of the park. If it is unused, grass it over and place benches and picnic tables in the area.
Urban parkland should not be kept in an unused condition so as to then be argued by myopic politicians to not even sell it, but give it away.
In the depths of the Great Depression of the 1930s this city did not sell or barter public parkland. Fields 2, 3 and 5 in FMCP are currently slated for reconstruction and this will occur without the MLS. Just like Central, Prospect, Bronx and Clove Lakes parks, FMCP should be maintained by tax dollars. Suffice it to say in the case of FMCP, the second most used park in the city — mostly by the underprivileged — the fault lies with far too many city officials, particularly those in Queens who should know better, who consider their constituents to be real estate and private interest groups. They have intentionally shortchanged and ignored FMCP, and the little people be damned.
Not only does MLS wish to construct a 25,000-seat stadium but to have the right without having to seek permission, at anytime in the future, to increase its size to 35,000. MLS Commissioner Don Garber has said this a godsend that will raise a sense of pride in the community and benefit Queens. Hogwash. It will benefit the rich owner of a private for-profit business. Mr. Garber’s further claim that a soccer stadium will make FMCP better is Madison Avenue nonsense and absurd on its face. The only thing that will make FMCP better is to prevent politicians and private special interest groups from having any say in its management.
The lack of a hue and cry in opposition by elected officials is testament to their intellectual bankruptcy and low caliber.
Flushing native and Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber considers Queens home. He grew up in Bayside, using Flushing Meadows Corona Park the same way most residents do today.
“I’m a dyed-in-the-wool Queens guy. Flushing Meadows Corona Park was a big part of my upbringing,” Garber said during a gathering with local press on Friday.
While he has not become the object of derision for Mets fans that Oliver Perez was, Jason Bay, by his own admission, has not come close to playing anywhere near the level of what was expected from him when he signed a very hefty contract with the Mets in January 2010.
There’s no question that he always gives maximum effort, as evidenced by his slamming into a wall at Dodger Stadium last July to haul in a long fly ball. Bay missed the rest of the season and the Mets’ 2010 season was over, for all intents and purposes, at that point.
Charles Dickens began “A Tale Of Two Cities” with “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.” The same contradictory logic can apply these days to the television sports economy.
One of my biggest complaints about Major League Soccer, America’s professional “football” league, is that it has been major league in name only. In a world of globalization and outsourcing, American sports fans are still accustomed to the best players in any sport coming here to compete. That, of course, has not been the case with soccer as the best have chosen to stay in Europe. Even worse, MLS has enforced a very stingy salary cap on all of its teams to ensure that talent seeks greener pastures elsewhere.
Overlooked in all of the excitement of the Red Sox’ first world championship in 86 years was the news that an international sports tribune has upheld the decision of the Athens judges who awarded U.S. gymnast Paul Hamm a gold medal. Hamm’s chief competitor, South Korea’s Yang Tae-Young actually earned a better score than Hamm got but was the victim of some kind of clerical error, and through no fault of his own, had to settle for a second place silver medal.
It looks as if the dream ride is coming to an end for the New Jersey Nets. For years the Nets were an NBA joke whose main role was to be a patsy for almost every other team. Things changed when they obtained Jason Kidd from the Phoenix Suns in exchange for flashy but selfish shooting guard Stephon Marbury. The arrival of Kidd led to appearances, albeit losing ones, in the last two NBA Finals.
It was one and done for the St. John’s at the “Big Dance” as the Red Storm dropped their first-round game to the Wisconsin Badgers in Washington, D.C. last Friday. Nonetheless this year was far more successful than the previous one for head coach Mike Jarvis.