|Fountain of Industry, Flushing Meadows|
(Courtesy of Hetteix on Flickr.com)
This isn't a new site, it seems every time there is talk of the stadium search for MLS NY2 the talk always finds it's way back to Flushing Meadows. When the NY Mets owners, the Wilpons, were involved with negotiations for a team back in 2008 they promised a new stadium adjacent to Citi Field in the same area. MLS has stated that they are interested in a truly "urban" location for the new stadium so that it is consider to be NYC's team and not to end up like the Red Bulls playing in Harrison, NJ.
The specific of the site make it ideal from a number of aspects, but not the true downtown location that everyone had been hoping for in this stadium. With Citi Field and the USTA National Tennis Center on the northern part of the site, Flushing Meadows is use to hosting large sporting events and already has the infrastructure in place to do so. The stadium would be a short walk to the "Mets-Willets Point" subway line and the Long Island Rail Road. The area is surrounded by freeways so accessibility by car shouldn't be an issue and ample parking is available in the Citi Field lots to the north. But perhaps the biggest advantage of the site is for MLS to have a location that is worthy of a "national stadium". The US will never be like many countries around the world who have national stadium to host their marquee soccer matches, like Wembley Stadium in London. This would give MLS a location, that if done correctly, would be the crown jewel of the new stadiums to enter the league.
Although I was honestly hoping for a site in Long Island City or Brooklyn that would put the stadium within the shadows of Manhattan, this location would be great and it is worth of MLS. Additionally, it is far enough away from Red Bull Arena that the teams wouldn't compete for the same fan base. The Red Bulls may re-brand as the New Jersey Red Bulls, or just go with plan old Red Bulls. The new team, whether City FC or another name, would appeal to the culturally diverse Queens neighborhoods surrounding Flushing Meadows.
So when do we expect to hear an announcement on all of this. As I have stated time and time again, the 20th MLS team will be announced before the end of this season, it has to be. If the team is going to be NY2, as expected, the deal needs to get done by the fall so permitting and land swaps can be completed before Mayor Bloomburg leaves office next fall; he has been a major advocate for MLS' stadium effort. Honestly, it would make perfect sense for MLS to leak out bits and pieces along the way but make the big announcement during the MLS Cup in October.