“As reports have made clear, your league’s plans to build a new soccer stadium in Flushing Meadows have stalled and may not be able to be revived. It would appear that there is little enthusiasm for world class soccer in Queens.” - Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
By Geoffrey Croft
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. sent a letter to Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber yesterday urging the league to consider the Bronx, and not Queens, as the home of its newest franchise, the New York City Football Club.
“As reports have made clear, your league’s plans to build a new soccer stadium in Flushing Meadows have stalled and may not be able to be revived. It would appear that there is little enthusiasm for world class soccer in Queens,” Borough President Diaz said in a statment.
In the letter, Borough President Diaz stated professional soccer in the Bronx would bring an incredible economic benefit to the borough, specifically noting the amount of visitors the Bronx saw this week during the soccer match between the national clubs of Spain and Ireland, which was held in Yankee Stadium on Tuesday.
“While here, these soccer fans spent money in local businesses and restaurants, bringing tremendous economic activity to the 161st Street corridor. If a Major League Soccer franchise were to make its permanent home in our borough, we can replicate that financial boost, either at 161st Street or elsewhere, more than 20 times a year,” wrote Borough President Diaz.
Borough President Diaz also mentioned that professional soccer would be a perfect complement to other major sports projects taking place in the Bronx, such as the PGA-level golf course managed by Donald Trump, a world-class tennis center in Crotona Park and the largest ice center in the world at the Kingsbridge Armory the statement read.
“The Bronx would be the perfect home for a new professional soccer franchise. I am ready to work with Major League Soccer to make this a reality, and I look forward to beginning this conversation,” said Borough President Diaz.
MSL and the Mayor's "first choice" to build a 35,000 seat soccer and concert arena is in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, a plan that has been vehamently opposed since it was first announced.
Two weeks ago however at a press conference announcing the Yankees 25% investment in the New York City Football Club Mayor Bloomberg and soccer officials backed down from their FMCP location or nothing position.
"I think the best place for it for everybody is in the Eastern End of Flushing Meadow Park. It's a park that's been neglected for a long time, the city doesn't have enough money to renovate every park," Mayor Bloomberg said.
"Nobody should think they've got a lock on this (location) there are lots of different places where you could build the stadium...I just want to make sure it's in New York City and we get it going. "
The mayor declined to name alternate locations when asked.