Queens residents protest MLS stadium-in-public-park plan

There was a protest against the new $300 million Queens MLS stadium plan yesterday in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park; I didn’t go, but DNAinfo did:

The plans, which would replace some public land with a mall, parking garages and two new stadiums, including a new tennis stadium and a new Major League Soccer stadium, were criticized by the crowd of about 100 people who braved the cold, rainy weather, holding signs that read “Put the Soccer Stadium in Central Park” and “Park Not For Sale.”

“The Tennis Association wants to expand and take away more park land. You’ve got Willets Point development, in which the parking will probably be on park land,” said State Sen. Tony Avella, who showed up in support of the group. “Why can’t they buy some private land?”

Avella has a track record of criticizing stadium deals in New York — or at least of demanding that stadium developers toss in some cash to buy off local opponents — but he’s probably not a heavyweight when it comes to opposing this deal. (Being a Democrat in the New York state senate is only a powerful position these days if you want to caucus with the minority Republicans. Why, yes, we do have the nation’s most dysfunctional legislature, why do you ask?) More significant would be opposition from city councilmember Julissa Ferreras, who is still publicly steering a course down the middle, saying an MLS stadium could bring benefits, but that she “could not support a project that took away park space in a part of Queens lacking in public space,” according to DNAinfo. Which, really, leaves her enough wiggle room to take on any position she wants eventually, so long as MLS makes at least a token effort to create replacement parkland, which it has already promised to do. I’ve got a feeling there’s still an awful lot of haggling to go before this is over — and probably more millions in MLS lobbying expenses as well.


7 comments on “Queens residents protest MLS stadium-in-public-park plan

  1. How many acres is the mets mall going to take up and how much did they steal to build their park in the first phase shea and 2nd phase citi if any?

  2. A hundred individuals in a city of 12 million, plus one biased politician equals a legitimate concern for an MLS Queens stadium? I’ve seen about that many people on the MLS website alone who are in favor of the stadium deal. I really doubt if this thing fails it’ll be because of local anti-sentiment.

    I’m a fan of MLS. I’m a fan of MLS expansion into new markets. But I’m against public funding of stadiums. The ideal situation for me here would be no cash from taxpayers for MLS Queens, along with a market purchase of the public park area by MLS’s team-owners.

    That being said, to report on 100 people protesting this thing like it’s some kind of legitimate opposition is a tad misleading. Take this comment as your own pill for “misrepresenting and misleading news headlines”…

  3. Well, there is legitimate opposition — I’ve spoken to many of them — and 100 people is a decent-sized rally even for NYC (I’ve seen far feebler ones), but I don’t think anyone knows how representative they are of all Queens residents. Stick a “Some” at the start of the headline if that makes you feel better about it.

  4. It gets worse. Now we’re hearing this is for a MINOR LEAGUE affiliate for Manchester City. The club itself is debt-ridden and from another country will deman taxpayers pony up for their stadium. Outrageous. Oh, it will be “privately financed.” RIIIIIIGHT…

    http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-12-14/manchester-city-said-close-to-becoming-owner-of-mls-queens-team

    SPARE ME MLS is “Major” league anything. MLS is a minor league to other leagues.

  5. 100 people. LOL!

    BTW, MLS is financing 100%, plus replacing every acre of park land.

    But there not replacing the mosquito/goose poop still water broken fountain man made pond/fountain.

  6. And the Man City thing is an old, old rumors. Premier League teams don’t really have “minor-league” affiliates as such, though — it would be more or less the same as Red Bull New York being owned by the same people as the Red Bull team in Austria, or Liverpool being owned by the Red Sox. So no better or worse than any other owner.