Soccer might come to Aqueduct

By Sadef Ali Kully

In an interview with Community News Group editors, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz said that the New York City Football Club home in the Bronx was not viable for the borough and the soccer team will continue their search for an new stadium home. That search will include looking at a Queens site as an option again.

The team came up with an proposal to build their stadium adjacent to Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. But the Bronx proposal has come to a halt according to Diaz. And the New York City Football Club, jointly owned by the New York Yankees and royalty from the United Arab Emirates, is looking for another home.

“New York City F.C. is looking at sites all over New York City,” said Risa Heller, a spokeswoman for the team. “We are working with the de Blasio administration to find a world-class site for a soccer-specific stadium.”

Originally, Major League Soccer presented a plan to build a soccer stadium in Flushing Meadows–Corona Park. But community organizations voiced strong opposition to putting the stadium in a city park, and the New York Mets also raised objections to the plan.

After the rejection of the Flushing Meadows–Corona Park stadium plan, the team briefly looked at Aqueduct racetrack in South Ozone Park, but opposition came from state Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach), who cited traffic and congestion as major issues. The plan was quickly scuttled.

“We did entertain the idea,”Addabbo said.

Aqueduct Racetrack is on over 200 acres of land and also houses the Resorts World Casino since 2011.

“The space and size have become questionable,” Addabbo said. “I would love to have a soccer team there because my major concern is jobs and it could create thousands of jobs. But right now it is mere discussion—honestly I can’t even picture it there right now.”

Addabbo said that both the short- and long-term implications of the plan for the community have to be thought out, including such issues as traffic patterns and public safety. He also mentioned that his office meets with Resorts World Casino on a monthly basis to review issues and share updates.

Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Rockaway Park) was not available for comment on the issue. And the Mayor’s office could not give a response in time for press.

Reach Reporter Sadef Ali Kully by e-mail at skully@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4546.

More from Around New York