The possibility that Queens might have a soccer stadium got another kick backwards.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Yankee Stadium will be the home for the new Major League Soccer (MLS) team, the New York City Football Club, on his latest weekly radio show.
“Yankee Stadium will become the home of the New York City Football Club, the first soccer club in the five boroughs since the 1970s,” Bloomberg said on Sunday, July 14, according to reports.
However, the mayor apparently committed a foul, and the statement was retracted.
“The script for the mayor’s radio address overstated the possibility that the New York Football Club could play some games at Yankee Stadium while they search for a permanent home,” said Julie Wood, a mayoral spokesperson. “No decision has been made on where they will play.”
The expansion team, which is jointly owned by English club Manchester City F.C. and the New York Yankees, will not begin play until 2015. Observers have speculated that the MLS has considered building a 25,000-seat stadium in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.
Councilmember Julissa Ferreras and Assemblymember Francisco Moya, who has been a soccer fan since he was a child, have been advocating for the stadium. They say it would be an economic and cultural boon to the borough.
“Queens is the most diverse borough and is home to the largest soccer loving community in the city,” Moya said. “I remain confident that the stadium will be built in Queens.”
However, the proposal has drawn opposition from park lovers.
“Flushing Meadows-Corona Park is used by residents from all across Queens, and this usage by Major League Soccer would negatively impact park life,” said Councilmember Leroy Comrie, chair of the council’s Land Use Committee. “While there are many soccer fans here in Queens, there are more appropriate places to build this stadium.”
Senator Tony Avella, who has suggested the stadium be built in the Rockaways, recently penned a bill apparently aimed at preventing proposals to change parkland use. That bill would require parkland taken for projects to be replaced with three times the space and within one mile of the project. If passed, it would lower the chances of getting the stadium in Queens.
The Senate’s Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation Committee is expected to decide on the bill after the legislature’s summer recess.