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Opposition to MLS stadium in NYC emerges



At least one group isn’t in favor of Major League Soccer’s proposal to build a soccer stadium in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

NY4P (New Yorkers for Parks), a public advocacy group based out of New York City, released a statement opposing the construction of a stadium on the park grounds in Queens, New York. MLS is keen to add a New York City franchise and is reportedly close to a deal with both a potential owner for a 20th franchise and the City’s backing for a new stadium on 13 acres of land in Flushing Meadows.

Executive Director Holly Leicht wrote in the statement, which ran as an op-ed in the New York Daily News on Monday, that a stadium built on the park grounds would “alter not just the site itself, but the nature of the park altogether.”

In response, MLS released a statement saying in part “…had New Yorkers for Parks been willing to learn the facts about our proposal, and had they consulted more widely with community leaders and park goers themselves, they might have understood that this substantial investment in the Park is a genuine win for the community.”

What do you make of this news?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. if I was a billionaire I’d buy the red bulls franchise and rename it! I’m a new york fan but ever since red bull plastered their name everywhere i feel ridiculed and a walking energy drink can.

    Anyway, Harrison is not that hard to get to. I’ve gone to games many times and I live in the BRONX!

    I love the trips. Whoever I go with has a blast. I swear, some people just bitch about anything. If it was for the complainers, they’d be teleported to their sits with a huge can of red bull and three hot dogs. Lazy bunch who wouldn’t even put the work to invent the teleporting machines.

  2. Who cares, Flushing Meadow Park will never happen, Bloomberg is a lame duck, the new candidates don’t want it and the local support it had among the pols is fading, especially now MLS let the cat out of the bag that an Arab who helps administer a country that executes gay is going to be the one taking park land for $1….that will go over as well as a wet egg fart on the 4 train during rush hour…. bring on the Cosmos.

  3. First of all, this project/team has NOTHING to do with the Cosmos.
    Second, apparently, having a city derby could well inspire real passion in the fans in New York City.(And let me say that these are passionate soccer fans here. New York is a global city, and the city’s teams are all global teams. I would say there are more Barcelona and Arsenal jerseys here that then there are MLS-branded jerseys worn anywhere in the US.) This could also fail; as a RB fan, i’m on he fence about another team.)
    Finally, the idea that attendance at Red Bull Arena is poor is a complete canard. The stadium is dead center for attendance. If you toss out Seattle and Chivas on both ends of the curve, Red Bulls draw well above average β€” and well above the average attendance of most NBA and NHL teams.

    As for this group? Who knows. They seem legitimate; hopefully their concerns will be addressed. Added bonus? NO eminent domain abuse, and not taxpayer-“financed” arena scheme.

  4. The whole location excuse for RBA is so ridiculous! Takes me 40 minutes by car from Brooklyn or exactly an hour from my desk in midtown to my seat in Section 126. I think this is more than a reasonable amount of time to travel to a sporting event anywhere in the world.

  5. Green is important…so why not make it the greenest stadium around especially for one being in park. You dont need to look at the walls of the stadium for it to be impressive and look like the Colosseum…so why not turn this stadium in the park into the next Hanging Gardens of Babylon (do a Google image) with tiers planted with green space and trees or over hanging greenery?

    Another option (I actually live in a modern design underground house now covered in grass so I am a bit biased πŸ˜‰ ) and it would be a massive amount of dirt but why not turn the stadium into a “hill” where you have a steep slope of greenery with the stadium inside….then you are in the park and instead of starring and the buildings across the street you have some modern marvel based on one of the 7 wonders or even a massive hillside suddenly in the park?

    Heck…instead of NY City as the name you can have the “Queens Park Rangers” since it would be more of a park land then just some massive building (kidding)

    It seems like putting money into the park would make it better, even if it means a stadium in the park. Parks need funding. NYC should be no stranger to new takes on park space either after seeing how great the High Line has turned out….so maybe there is room to do something great here as well.

    How many stadiums get put in a park?? It seems like the perfect location to highlight green technology or just go for the hanging garden approach. If the MC guy buys the team…if his wealth comes from oil, then it seems like another interesting angle to the story for him to showcase renewable energy or green design into this stadium plan (and likely easier to do this as part of an MLS sized stadium at 20-30,000 then something that has to be in the 45-80,000 range).

    Just a thought. It would be better to take down unused buildings for this…but doubt there is that much free space together looking to get used…so why not upgrade the park, take out that pond thing, and upgrade the transportation to this park so people can better enjoy it year round and maybe even get more people using it after coming out for games a few months out of the year.

  6. Garber has failed to realize that no one cares in NYC. Its his pet project and he thinks he will have Cosmos like numbers. He is as daft as a door nob. Give it to a community with an existing club and one that actually has promising existing numbers. But no, do not use that logic Don. If you want to replicate Portland, Seattle or Vancouver there needs to be an organic not artificial fan movement. This is a stupid idea beyond the core…

    • Ives,
      Can we find a way to filter out the word “Cosmos” in the comments section here? I know the context is different in Phil’s post, but just reminds me of this fact. Tired of hearing about a bunch of incompetent people who bought a trademark and now think they have leverage and are just generally annoying and specifically damaging to the league with their tomfoolery.

  7. Hahahaha. 2 things.
    1.) As if building this stadium will have any impact on the 51% obesity rate

    2.) (related to number 1) The city has clearly demonstrated they have zero intention of building this “great lawn”, etc. so , YES, the underutilization of this space actually IS a relevant consideration and justification for building this stadium. It’s this or nothing and this economic boon might help those low/middle class neighborhoods more so than a giant piece of grass.

    I’m just guessing/pontificating but I’ll bet she doesn’t live I. The neighborhood and rarely visits it unless she is protesting, etc.

  8. As a west coaster, i have never understood why the Red Bulls don’t just rebrand as the New Jersey Red Bulls. There are millions of folks there, and no pro teams save the NHL’ Devils using NJ in their name. Soccer in other countries have historically been about the connection between the team and their environs and the MLS teams with the strongest fan bases are the ones that seem to have the strongest ties to their communities (portland, seattle, KC). Make the Red Bulls Jesey’s team. I’d also call a Queens based team “Queens something”. Think of London. A zillion teams but no London FC.

      • Not really a great point at all. I’d argue there are more people living in Jersey (and identifying with Jersey) than Carson.

      • The standard for a “well played” comment on this board is a bit low, don’t you think? Anyhow…

        Population of NJ– 8.2 Million, the vast majority of whom live reasonably close to Harrison, no?
        Population of Carson, CA–92K
        Commerce City—————46K
        I know it’s about TV contracts and I’m sure the RedBulls wouldn’t have bought a team in New Jersey. But the team doesn’t draw, has little to no imprint on NYC’s sporting culture, and this is with the biggest star in the league on the roster. Why compete against a zillion bigger sports franchises when they could be the big fish in the relatively small pond of Jersey. Ok, I’m done. Truth is that I could care a rat’s arse about NY/NJ. I’d rather see another team in the West–I don’t know about TV dollars, but a Sacramento team would definitely draw, esp. if the NBA team finally does leave….

      • Yes, you do care about the NY/NJ area. Everyone does and should for the sake of the league.

        It’s good that we engage in heated discussion about RB because, frankly, it shows we are and continue to grow as fans of the game. Averaging 15K a match, last I checked, is not the worst thing in the world. Even some of the supposed top leagues in the world wish they can get butts in the seats.

        Now if you wanna compare our matches with top EPL or La Liga matches, well, got news for ya, we’re still growing and on the right path!

        I could care less about the brand or whatnot and that’s for another heated discussion on another day (believe me, NY and NJ folks can write encyclopedias on the matter!) but the fact remains that this ownership group is willing to spend and does so. Sure, they can sell tomorrow or next year or in 10 years but I, for one, am glad I get to see live football in my backyard even if thousands of others don’t. It’s the nature of the sport here so far.

        Of course we’d like to sell our stadium out consistently as does Seattle, Portland and to a lesser extent, RSL, but this market is one of the toughest, if not the toughest to crack. We think we all have the answers but I’m still waiting since ’96 for the correct one!

      • “I could care less about the brand”. Then do it!!! Stop caring so much about the brand!!! Care less.

      • I think it’s because the Red Bulls are supposed to represent the New York City area, in theory at least. That’s why I never understood why people got so bent out of shape about the Giants and Jets being called NY. Who cares? They represent the NY area, that’s why they’re called NY. And I’m a proud New Jerseyan saying that!

    • speak on bro! Someone making sense. Given the logic used here the Revs, should be drawing 20k/per game most coming from Boston

  9. Wow for people that dont know Red Bulls Arena is way to far for people who actually live in NY. Its located in NJ and if you dont live here then you wont understand the pain to get there. Second the Passion for soccer here is Queens is unlike any, as an Hispanic – American I love and would die for soccer lmao but yet i have even yet to see a game live because we dont have a real stadium.. Having a MLS team would be great to actually have a team to support unlike NY Red Bulls which is NJ which we are rivals with. People have to get more educated with location and geography. Further more this will just make Flushing Meadows park that much more popular. Imagine people playing soccer or something like that before a game it would just be amazing.

  10. Someone tell me the one candidate city that has a stadium deal in place with a wealthy potential owner and government backing…..


    • I don’t know if what you say is true, but if you want to put an MLS team only 2 hours from me, I am all for it! Next closest is 9 hours.

      • They can’t get people to go to MLB playoff games and the city can’t seem to keep it’s teams OR has reached saturation point with three “major” franchises. Orlando fills in the map, Atlanta would be a bad choice and the team would not be supported.

  11. I speak for the trees! Why do build sites always take up “undeveloped” spaces. “Undeveloped” is itself a term that indicates deveopment is the natural state of things. When, in fact, there is nothing natural about giant stadium structures and the parking lots that surround them. New Yorkers live a frenetic lifestyle and need open space and clear air much more than they need another soccer game on their busy calendar. I say they should tear up something that is already built, rather than do another drain and fill project. I love soccer, but I love open space more. Well done New Yorkers, fight for what is yours, naturally.

    • It’s not natural habitat though. It is part of NYC and is closer to being a brown field than a green one. Development has happened on that site (probably numerous times) in the past and right now it’s in a state of disrepair. In many places they would call it blight and fine the owner, but it’s publicly owned land so that would just mean the city fining itself.

    • I would consider this project as infill or urban redevelopment not greenfield development but i understand your plea

  12. Everyone should read Bill Archer’s piece on the situation from BigSoccer (I’m too lazy to post a link – google it).

    Basically MLS is proposing to fill in a toilet bowl of a “reflecting pond” and refurbish all of the soccer fields (which are not even fields anymore, just giant mud pits), while the USTA and Citi Field want to demolish even more of the park to build a shopping mall and tennis courts.

    Nah, but it’s the MLS stadium that will destroy the park.

    • I have no personal knowledge, however, having looked at the plans submitted by MLS the plan would definitely improve a park that looks to have been left to ruin. Replacing that green space, elsewhere, is just a bonus.

  13. people like holly leicht use situations like this to make a name for themselves to get into politics. its a typical jumping board. doubt leicht gives a real shit about the park.

    the matter of the fact is that its not much of a park. its a shit hole with a concrete pool at the center. new construction can be done with green infrastrucutre improvements that harvest stormwater, rainfall and they can even reduce impermable surfaces at the park with new stadium and green infrastructure.

  14. People are hired by the “public advocacy” group to do this very thing. If they did not submit a complaint, they would not be doing their job.

    If they do their job and are successful -even gumming up the works for a little while- they personally gain, getting a bigger staff, a bigger budget, more political clout, maybe parlay that into another job, maybe even become President.

    Hudson River Park faced the same dilemma, with “preservationists” never happy unless the riverfront looked as it did when Henry Hudson first set sail up that waterway. Atlantic Yards was supposed to create legendary traffic nightmares but I’ve never seen nothing unusual in the number of times I’ve been there.

    There are times when a Robert Moses goes to far and you need a Jane Jacobs. But more times than not, they are just the party of ‘no.’

    • Well put, looking over this project’s details i believe it would be a positive addition to the urban park system. This advocacy group might as well be a robotic reaction where whenever x sqft of public land changes to another use a red flag goes up. Nothing to be worried about as long as NY20 stays comitted to their promises.

      • Which is never a sure thing. But public entities are arguably more guilty of dropping the ball (misdirecting funds) than private ones.

  15. I picture Garber sitting in his office with his hands over his ears repeating “Lalalalalala I can’t hear you lalalalala”

  16. I think it is a valid complaint. There is the potential for the loss of lots of green space. Tough to say without looking at the plans though. It could turn out though that the revitalization of the remaining green space is worth the loss of green space; however, once it’s gone, it’s gone.

    • NYC requires any park space that will be removed by the building of a stadium be replaced somewhere else in the city. They already have potential areas of interest for this new park space.

      • The precedent requires that the green space be replaced acre for acre. So 20 open acres of green space can be replaced by 20 parcels spread out across all the 5 boroughs.

    • Look, if the people of NYC really wanted “green spaces” they should move to that worthless track of land in between Los Angeles and NYC that the rest of us call “AMERICA”

    • Most of the land they’re speaking of isn’t even grass, it’s a run down fountain and concrete, so forgive me if many of these complaints fall on my deaf ears.

      • Not MOST. MOST (>50%) is “green”, it’s where most of your food comes from dingus.

    • Meh, its all part of the process, NYC does not have a monopoly on that, try building something in Portland or Chicago or San Francisco or any of hundreds of other US cities and there will be opposition.

  17. I don’t understand the rush to bring in another NY team into the market (and I am originally from the NYC area). You can make arguments that the NY Red Bulls are not killing in terms of attendance because it is in NJ (Harrison is not that far by from midtown, is easy to get to, and is dead smack in the middle of a Brazilian neighborhood).

    I feel like the real issues are (1) a team without any history and fan base as well as (2) quality product. Why don’t that just slowly cajole Cosmos ownership into the MLS over the course of 5 years or so? They will bring in history, an established fan base and (probably) more willing transfers. Then they could take their time and win support for their new stadium.

    • Red Bulls aren’t underperforming because of their location.
      They’re a horribly run organization with a silly name that doesn’t spend one penny on advertising their existence. If they won the cup, nobody would ever know
      Completely invisible

      • this is simply untrue. RB has a massive ad campaign on the NJ/NY port authority train system that runs from Newark to World Trade Center & midtown Manhattan (and right by RB’s stadium). RB has to compete w/ Mets & Yankees (baseball), Knicks & Nets (basketball), Devils & Rangers (hockey), and Jets & Giants (american football) for a fan base and in the sports pages. There just aren’t a lot of entertainment dollars to go around (not to mention college sports and all the other events at arenas and stadia in the metro NYC area). Plus, RB isn’t winning games, so that hurts attendance.

      • I take the PATH to work and they just put those ads up. They didn’t do much last year either

      • RBNY advertising is non-existant. I saw those ads on the PATH after Wednesday’s game and had to do a double take. First ads I’ve ever seen for this team.

      • All that doesn’t contradict the fact that a NYC team will cut into RBNY’s market. This is Garber’s legacy/vanity piece, and a finger in the eye of those of us who have supported the original NYC-area team through 17 years. Four years after moving out of the Swamp, they’re finally moving in the right direction – just in time for Garber to say “it’s been fun, but I’ve found a new love.”

    • I read these kinds of pro-Cosmos arguments over and over on here, and I have to say I’m baffled. I’ve been in NYC for over 10 years. There is nostalgia for the Cosmos on these boards that far outweighs anything that I see elsewhere. What established fan base are you referring to? People that attended their games in the Meadowlands or Randall’s 30 years ago? Or are you talking about the fan base that you’re projecting will be established with their USL (or whatever league it is) team playing at a glorified high school stadium on Long Island? This brand simply doesn’t resonate – they’re old news, were hardly a huge national name then (please don’t site the documentary you saw – I saw that too, looks like a fun run for a couple of years, but there was literally NO interest in that team or league outside of the NYC market, and that was only for a couple of years at best). The name is corny, the current ownership has no money whatsoever. I just don’t see why people think that a Cosmos franchise would be so meaningful. Not to disparage you Anthony, I just think that the comments on here way overestimate the extent to which is anyone cares about this “legendary” Cosmos brand.

      • Posted too soon. Wanted to add that I’ve also seen the sentiment that somehow international stars would be more inclined to relocated to MLS if they could play for the Cosmos – seriously? You think Kaka or Lampard or the big names like Cristiano/Messi/Rooney/whomever care one wit for the Cosmos? To the extent any of them will come to play for the new NYC franchise, it will be because MLS has established itself as a solid league, and the NYC team has become a well-run, well-financed team playing in the media (and marketing) capital of the world. Ok, off my soapbox.

      • DS,

        First of all, I always welcome open discussion because I have learned that I can learn something new (just ask every woman I have ever been with :). I also did not take your response as a slight.

        I take your point that many of those who argue that Cosmos would magically bring in rabid fan base are misguided (and I agree to an extent). However, as someone who grew up in the Westchester Suburbs of NYC and now lives and works in NYC after living abroad, I would say history adds a lot. I look at what happened in Seattle, Portland, Vancouver, and (loosely) San Jose and cannot help but imagine if an entity were to (1) leverage the existing history and (2) be properly run on and off the field, it could only add to the overall league brand.

        When I mentioned foreigners, I was alluding to them being attracted to NY, which would be made all the more easier there was a team with the two aforementioned attributes. However, this is something we will not know unless we do some proper analysis as to what made the other cities more successful in terms of their fan base. All I know, growing up and playing soccer here, people knew about the Cosmos (even after their demise & by those who didn’t play soccer ). A well-performing Cosmos brand would be a easier sell than a well-performing NYFC etc.

        What I don’t like is this forced feeding of another NY area team if we are only to repeat the same mistakes. Get appropriate ownership, leverage existing networks and brands, and execute with proper products on the field. However, I may not know what is going on in the background. Seriously, Harrison is a quick path train ride from WTC and stops right in front of the arena and is dirt cheap.You are also in middle of a great Brazilian neighborhood where you can make a day of Brazilian Churrascaria, drinks and a game.

      • All solid points. I would say that in the case of the Pacific NW teams, those brands managed to stay relevant by playing in at least the minors for some years (and for whatever reasons, those markets have proven to be avid consumers of the domestic leagues). I attend a couple NYRB games every year – great stadium, not a terrible ride at all from where I’m at in the Village. So I do find it somewhat bizarre when people say it’s impossible to get there. But there is no doubt that it is a poorly run franchise on a number of levels, and frankly I find it difficult to support a team branded after an energy drink. On the other hand, a team that was truly in the five boroughs holds some serious promise, and I truly believe that if it’s done right this will quickly become the league’s flagship franchise (along with LA).

      • DS, awesome posts. My sentiments exactly on the Cosmos. So overrated and totally yesterday’s news.

      • DS, it’s been many years since I’ve been to NYC and agree that the 5 Boroughs should be represented with a stadium. How about the sight of old Yankee Stadium? With such a vast population base in such a small area along with so many ethnicities represented, it puzzles me to no end how NYRB stadium can’t fill up that park and that NYC can’t find and support room for a 20-30K stadium.

      • NYC Metro has far more EPL fans than more metro area in the US, RB attendance isn’t far off from & is still better than most MLS teams. If they had a 20,000 or even 18000 seater no would be complaining. Plus having some of the higher salary players tells me RB bottom line ain’t that bad. Time will tell, because there will be NYC2

    • there IS NO NYC team currently. If you’re from the NY city area opriginally then surely you understand that New Jersey and Queens are not “local” to each other, not really.

      • And if you’re from the NY city area you’ll understand that people in Manhattan, Brooklyn, etc. don’t consider Queens “local” to those areas either. In fact, anything more than a 10 block radius from a New Yorker’s apartment might as well be Mongolia as far as they’re concerned.

      • Youre wrong. With Citifield and the US Open in Queens ( and Yankee stadium in Bronx) NYers are very much used to going to the outer boroughs for events, it just has to be easy. Citi field, US Open, and Yankee stadium are all one train away, unlike red bull arena which requires a subway to the PATH and possibly transferring to another PATH. Thanks to tennis and the Mets taking the 7 to games/events is ingrained in NYers

      • They’re only one train away if you live on the 7. Otherwise you have to transfer anyway, and there’s not much of a difference between transferring subways and transferring to the PATH, since you can do that at a subway station. I used to take the A/C/E to the PATH all the time, and it was a breeze. I don’t get the PATH excuse. Yeah, it’s annoying for some people living in certain places, and it’s convenient for others – and it’s exactly the same for Flushing.

      • +1. All the people whining about how NY can’t even support one team don’t get it that RB Arena could be in Siberia because you have to use the PATH train.

        People will take the subway to games, it’s just taking the two (and usually three as the PATH stops at Journal Square on the way home! yippee!) trains that make getting to RB Arena from Brooklyn/Queens a haul.

      • -1 Manhattan residents can say the same about getting to CitiField. If the 7 is going local it can take an hour just to get back from Queens and then you have to transfer to another train to get downtown. I can walk to the PATH and be at RBA in less than 40 minutes.

        While I understand that it is difficult for people in Queens and parts of Brooklyn to get to RBA, don’t assume that’s the same story for people in the rest of the city.

      • If you can’t be bothered changing trains to go watch a game, then you must not care very much. Queens and Harrison are both just inconveinent suburbs. If the stadium was going to be in Manhattan, that would be different but otherwise this will be a flop. I’d much rather see a team which already has genuine support, like Orlando, get the 20th spot.

      • dude, game over in Queens @ 9-930PM, you be home before 11PM anywhere in the city by subway. Fact,
        ! Can’t say the same about Harrison. RB r a NJ team, they do not market in NYC, noticed where most Posters r saying they saw adds, on the PATH, not NYC subways

      • Well, I am a Red Bull season ticket holder, so obviously I make the trek across the river to Harrison via PATH.

      • wow you people really know NOTHING about Queens do you? NYC is an extremely vast area. Even certain parts of each individual borough are vast/independent mini-cities unto themselves. Flushing, Queens is far from a suburb and with the growth of the “new Chinatown”, is now becoming one of the most densely populated areas in the city; with number of residents long ago exceeding that intended for its original somewhat Suburban infrastructure (urban/suburban hybrid community typical of outer NYC neighborhoods. Douglaston, Queens, closer to outer LI is a legit suburb however. It depends on the area).

      • + 2 different subway systems( Path & NYCSubway) equals to different fare. Plus going is not the problem. imagine living in Coney Island & have to train it back after a game. No way you are getting there before 1am after a game. Wish one of youse will do the experiment, then come back & post about the experience

      • Yup. If you live in an outer borough – it is taking you at least an hour and a half to get back after the game because of path incompetence, fewer subway trains, etc.

        I did it for a full season and it is impossible to do it in less than that time.

    • Any doubts that the City ownership would not put together a quality product? They have money and have proven that they will spend it. That is half the battle. They have also shown they they care about the results. NYC is Also an attractive place to live for Europeans with money. Like LA, it will be easier to get someone to transfer there than most other MLS cities.

    • Please refrain from posting if you honestly think the Cosmos ownership group is a good thing for the league. Nobody cares about their trademark.


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