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.