Protesters were out in force in Bronx on Wednesday night for a dramatic Town Hall meeting to discuss a proposed new MLS soccer stadium near Yankee Stadium.
Each person in attendance was asked to fill out a survey of questions surrounding the possible expansion.
One protester was dragged from the podium by police after organizers decided he doth protest too much and too irrationally against the proposed stadium. Many more level-headed New Yorkers, such as the one pictured here, are upset that the stadium would be built to benefit foreign developers using local taxpayer dollars.
“They are the richest entities and they want to tax the poorest urban county in the country,” he said.
“They are taking that money that should be used educating our kids, and they’re going to give it instead to the richest people, billionaires and the Yankees. There is no justification for that.”
Another protester held aloft a sign which read “The City has no money for City workers pay. It has plenty of money for a billionaire Sheikh. Hell no!”
Major League Soccer’s efforts to bring a franchise to NYC has been nothing short of farcical so far. Since announcing their plans, the league have fallen out with the owners of the New York Cosmos who, considering their local history and worldwide popularity, were the obvious choice to be the twentieth MLS team.
The league then attempted to build a stadium in Flushing Meadows in Queens, but those plans were thwarted due to overwhelming objections from locals. In the meantime they awarded the coveted NY franchise to newly formed NYCFC – owned in part by Manchester City owner Sheik Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the New York Yankees.
MLS Commissioner Don Garber made the NYCFC announcement in 2010 despite the fact that the club did not have a stadium to play in, breaking his own strict rule of the franchise terms.
Garber was over-confident at the time that the Flushing Meadows stadium plans would be granted. In November 2010 he claimed the project was “at the finish line” in negotiations with the city.
The plan now is for the new team to play in Yankee Stadium, a baseball field, while a new home is sought.
It now appears that Garber’s second-choice site for the stadium at 157th Street on River Avenue in the Bronx may be in jeopardy due to more objections from the local citizenry. The recent election of Mayor Bill de Blasio may also throw up a road block to any building plans as the Democratic Mayor has not expressed the same enthusiasm for the project as outgoing Mayor Bloomberg.
Last year the New York Cosmos announced stadium plans of their own. They are involved in a bidding process to build a 25,000 seater stadium in Belmont Park on the NYC/Long Island border which would be funded entirely by private investors with no cost to the taxpayers. The Cosmos currently play in the NASL which is the second tier of US soccer.