When it came to their current stadium situation, 2017 was a rough year for New York City FC. Following two seasons of little to no actual scheduling issues, NYCFC were forced to play two “home” games outside of Yankee Stadium and relocate the “Etihad Pitch” to Pratt & Whitney Stadium in Hartford, Conn. and Citi Field in Queens.
Throughout the season, it became more and more evident that the club needed a place to truly call its own. And as of Monday, it looks like that dream is one step closer to becoming a reality. For better or worse.
Robert Brodsky, a Nassau County reporter for Newsday, announced on Twitter that NYCFC and the NHL’s New York Islanders are now the last two bidders in the race to secure property at Belmont Park — which sits on the border of Queens and Nassau County, Long Island — with the third bowing out Monday.
And then there was 2.— Robert Brodsky (@BrodskyRobert) December 4, 2017
Blumenfeld Development Group withdraws Belmont bid proposal citing "extraordinary requirements” from the state ESD that “appear to create a selection process that has been predetermined. Down to @nyislanders and @nycfc
Brodsky reported that the two New York sports franchises will have a public meeting with Elmont, N.Y. officials on Dec. 10 to propose their visions for the site. Each party will be given 15 minutes to present their plans and answer pre-written questions from the public. Renderings for the prospective future stadiums will also be available for viewing.
After more than three years with so little progress, this is the closest that NYCFC have ever been to getting their own stadium. Unfortunately, it is bittersweet for fans of the club. EmpireOfSoccer.com reported back in August that NYCFC architects had visited the Belmont site. The prospect of the club building there was immediately met with backlash from fans.
After it was revealed in August that the club would relocate their Sept. 23 game against Houston to Hartford, NYCFC President Jon Patricof hosted meetings with supporters to discuss future plans regarding a stadium in the five boroughs. In these meetings, Patricof assured fans that the club was not seriously pursuing the Belmont site due to transportation issues and time constraints (in regard to putting in a bid for the property), and were instead pursuing other options in the Bronx and Queens.
Weeks later, however, it was reported that the club had indeed bid on Belmont anyway. Sources close to the situation reiterated that the site was not the team’s ideal solution for their stadium woes, but also stated that the team felt inclined to put in a bid due to the land already being designated for sports and entertainment development.
The decision to build a stadium at Belmont Park will undoubtedly alienate some fans should it get county approval. But it’s important to note that any future stadium plans that don’t involve the South Bronx will be bound to alienate someone.
What do you think? Is the Belmont plan a good idea or a bad one? Let us know in the comments!