Mayoral candidate Joe Lhota took a strong stance against a soccer stadium being built within the Flushing Meadows Park confines during the Republican primary earlier this summer.
If Major League Soccer hoped Democratic candidate and odds-on-favorite Bill de Blasio would be any different, think again.
The former New York City public advocate did not reject the idea of a Flushing stadium outright, but did tell Reddit readers that the initiative wouldn’t be given the carte-blanche treatment that his predecessor, Mike Bloomberg, hoped to yield.
“I have not heard any viable plan for a stadium in Manhattan and I don’t foresee that,” de Blasio said. “The only way there could be a status in Queens is if the conditions I’ve laid down are on complete parkland replacement and sufficient subsidies for surrounding parkland.”
He added, “I wouldn’t be shocked if a soccer team ended up using Yankee Stadium or CitiField.”
While a hardline delivery, the substance of his words are on par with the current, deteriorating discussions to bring an MLS stadium for New York City F.C. into the backyard of the New York Mets. In de Blasio’s case, a stadium also falls counter to his own ambitions to revitalize Flushing Meadows Park for the local community.
Neither candidate has shown full-on support for the project to this point. For twelve years, outgoing New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg was perhaps the strongest ally a person or organization could have if they wanted an initiative to pass through the cluttered political mess that is the New York City legislature.
Major League Soccer was lucky to count him amongst their supporters, but were a year-too-late in their Flushing Meadow Park Stadium endevour. While the Mayor backed MLS heavily in their initial “MLS to Queens” campaign, it did little to buoy the league has his political capital continued to take a toll.
Recently, New York City F.C. made news with proposed stadium sites in the Bronx, bringing the 20th MLS franchise closer to their New York Yankee ownership – another blow to the two-year chase for a home in Queens.