NIMBY is a real thing. While plenty of local politicians are open to the idea of a soccer-specific stadium for New York City FC, uh, ehhrm, somewhere in the Five Boroughs, next to none of them have called for one within their own jurisdictions.
But today, at a State of the Borough event at York College, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz threw down on behalf of NYCFC fans far and wide. As she told the crowd:
“Let’s consider a soccer stadium at Willets Point.”
The home of the New York Mets’ own Citi Field, Willets Point is an area in significant need of urban renewal and real, lasting investment. Despite repeated calls for community revitalization projects from Queens residents and their elected officials, Katz referred to Willets Point as “still a blight.”
Of course, a new soccer stadium wouldn’t just amount to a real home for New York City FC; it would be a catalyst for the kind of investment that the neighborhood needs to get itself moving in a more positive direction.
There will be plenty of questions about whether or not the city’s transportation apparatus could support such a project, even if it passes muster with economic and environmental impact experts. The 7 Train — a longtime frenemy of Mets fans — would have to be enhanced to account for match day traffic, something the city has almost entirely ignored during these first two seasons at Yankee Stadium. (I mean, can we PLEASE run a couple 4 Trains on the express track on weekends? Thanks!)
Even apart from that, consider how many season ticket holders would find their commute times doubled or tripled. Pull up Google Maps— how long would it take you to get to WP?
Neither can we forget the unavoidable NIMBY scourge: if a groundswell of local residents don’t want a stadium project on their block, elected officials aren’t going to put their necks on the line only to get voted out of office before nary a groundbreaking can take place.
As it stands, we’re long on rhetoric and short on details. Actually, we don’t have any details at all. But to see a prominent local pol coming out in favor of a soccer stadium in her own backyard is a step forward in the ongoing public discussions about a home for NYCFC.