MLS now says Queens stadium plan in 8 months; map shows new soccer fields atop old parkland

So much for that deal within a month business: MLS president Mark Abbott now tells Goal.com that “our goal is to have definition about the franchise ownership and final negotiations with the city in no more than eight months.” Not clear whether he means final approval or a final plan ready for public hearings, but given that that process would take seven months by itself, I’m going with the former.

The more interesting piece of news, meanwhile, is Goal.com’s publishing of a schematic of the stadium site design, which was apparently first released by MLS last Friday. It shows a stadium and surrounding landscaping entirely taking up the site of the Fountain of Industry and two of its neighboring soccer fields, with the public fields relocated to existing park space nearby:

Compare with the existing layout:

Needless to say, replacing parkland with existing parkland isn’t exactly kosher, even if it’s a bit of a tradition in New York stadium deals. (Bronx residents are already warning their Queens cousins to be watchful of any parks plans; in the same article, I warn that given the Yankees experience, New Yorkers should be skeptical of all “no public subsidies” claims until they see it in writing.) The Queens Courier reports that MLS is still looking at acquiring either a chunk of MTA railyards along Flushing Creek or part of the abandoned LIRR Rockaway Line, either of which would have environmental and transportation problems and could cost the league serious money. But at least it’s a sign that the sketches above are maybe not to be taken too seriously.


17 comments on “MLS now says Queens stadium plan in 8 months; map shows new soccer fields atop old parkland

  1. Best part of this post is in the Daily News article (where Bronx resident [not plural] warns Queens to be wary) when the author managed to sneak in the racist term “gypped” by changing the spelling to “jipped”. I’ll have to make sure I give that hint to the next person who accuses me of “Gouing” (soft G) them.

  2. Is there ever a stadium plan that you would support? I usually agree with you on the basis that public money should not be used to finance private sports facilities, and provide little economic benefit to the community surrounding. But that being said, from everything that i have read on this stadium, they are not looking for tax breaks, the stadium will be 100% privately financed, they are only using 1 acre of the park that is not occupied by the dead pool (which they are saying will be replaced before construction), and they are moving/renovating all the existing soccer fields before construction begins and turning them over to the NYC parks department after. I admit I had concerns when first hearing about this, and i think its still something to be skeptical about as far as following through with what is promised, but i think as far as stadium deals go, this is one of the better ones that i have seen. According to your headline “map shows new soccer fields atop old parkland”, but does it not also show new parkland atop old soccer fields as well? You’re very knowlegeable on this topic but I think you lose a little bit of your credibility by comparing this project to that of the Yankees and Mets stadiums (and a lot of other stadiums that used hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer subsidies).

  3. Ben: The theory that ‘jipped/gypped’ comes from a slur against gypsies is a myth, and there is no found basis in etymology to support this false rumor. Do modern sociology-minded folks claim its a derogatory term? Absolutely. Does that make it so? No – it’s link to pejorative use is speculative at best.

    I’m continually amused that people rely on the “probably comes from…” theory about a term known to have originated in America, where there are virtually no Roma.

  4. @Jon I can’t speak for Neil, but I know the attitude of many people is that sports teams should operate like many other businesses when it comes to building facilities. The team should buy its own property and pay for its own stadium in an area that is zoned for commercial development. I happen to disagree with that attitude, but it’s not altogether out of the ordinary.

  5. No, it’s not new parkland on top of old soccer fields – that’s landscaping around the stadium. The new parkland would be at other locations outside Flushing Meadows. (I just confirmed this with an MLS spokesperson.)

    I agree that this could be an okay deal if MLS pays all the costs and finds adequate replacement parkland. But the Yankees said they’d do that at first too, and that didn’t work out so well. I think “skepticism” is exactly what’s warranted here, until we see the actual proposal.

  6. @Ben Miller: It’s thought to be a bastardization of the English term for servant (a gip), even though early use of the term started in America. Essentially, it plays upon the idea that a servant was swindling the one he served. The retroactive attempts to pretend that it’s ethnically offensive is profoundly annoying to me, much like the misreaction to the word ‘niggardly.’ Ironically, soapbox sociologists almost never have a problem with terms like ‘vandalism.’

  7. “…the attitude of many people is that sports teams should operate like many other businesses when it comes to building facilities.”

    Unreasonable, irrational scum! Corporate welfare rulez! ;)

  8. The old line – fool me once shame on you fool me twice shame on me – comes to mind.
    Sports franchise owners easily throw around phrases like “100% private financing” but reality has shown that isn’t happening.
    Don’t be surprised if MLS will want more parkland to spread out the inevatable “fan experience” area due to their need for another way to generate revenue.
    Will the franchise schedule dates during the US Open and Mets home openings? Parking should be a real “experience” even with the Mets paltry attendance.
    They’ll contend that having to adjust their home dates to the other sports businesses rates some sort of special tax breaks.
    In general, stadium plans start out “reasonable” for public consumption but as the process continues the devil really shows up in the details – YS is a prime example.

  9. EG, that explanation doesn’t pass the sniff test to me, but if you think that’s where it comes from, so be it.

  10. My wife is a Rhetoric professor. Think what you will in this ridiculous everything’s-a-slight society.

  11. Jesse Sheidlower, American editor of the OED, says “gyp” is from “Gypsy”:

    http://www.slate.com/articles/life/the_good_word/2006/04/the_dirty_word_in_43_down.html

  12. Jesse’s clearly never read his own company’s stance on the issue and is spouting the sociological nonsense he probably learned at Chicago. Faux outrage makes for great copy, and the false origin of terms like ‘gypped/jipped’ is one of the standard go-tos for people who want to accept the idea that what *looks* bad must be. To wit:

    English: http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/gyp–3
    “Definition of gyp

    noun British
    a college servant at the Universities of Cambridge and Durham.

    Origin:

    mid 18th century: perhaps from obsolete gippo ‘menial kitchen servant’, originally denoting a man’s short tunic, from obsolete French jupeau”

    American English: http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/american_english/gyp
    -note “of unknown origin”

  13. Just sent Jesse a message – he said he’s on the road right now and doesn’t have access to his files, but “gyp” is definitely from “Gypsy.” If anyone still cares by then, I’ll post here once I get more info.

  14. Neil: I’d love to be a fly on the wall when he issues that interpretation amongst his researchers. My wife states there is no historical evidence to support this, and that it’s not unlike the faux-outrage about ‘jerry-rigged/built,’ which sociologists are now trying to claim is a slur against Germans since Americans called Germans ‘jerrys’ during WWII. In actuality, ‘jerry-rigged/built’ is of mid-19th century origin (i.e. pre-WWII) and references the walls of Jericho. Just because something *looks* bad, it doesn’t make it so.

  15. I’ve known Jesse for about 15 years – I doubt he’s going to “issue his interpretation” so much as “look up the references in the OED’s files.” But I’ll happily post his findings here.