Flushing Meadows-Corona Park’s Queens Theatre was the venue for a Tuesday “town hall meeting” that sounds more like a pep rally for Major League Soccer’s plans to construct a 25,000 seat soccer-specific stadium at the park’s eastern end. As the New York Times’ David Picker points out, although “soccer fans chanted, hopped up and down, and danced to the beat of Latin music,” a handful of those in attendance bothered to ask some hard questions. Chiefly amongst them, State Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky (16th District).
Stavisky mentioned a recent report in Crain’s New York Business that provided details of a prospective deal outlined by the Bloomberg administration, including a 35-year lease at $1 a year with no property taxes or revenue sharing with the city.
“These are issues that have to be resolved,” Stavisky said, adding: “I have reservations about the two areas that they have suggested as parkland. I think they can do better.”
In the parking lot after the town hall meeting, there was an even stronger voice of opposition. Leandra Requena, 58, a resident of Jackson Heights, held a sign supporting the Fairness Coalition of Queens, which opposes the elimination of park space at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.
“The corporations come here selling their products saying we’re going to give jobs,” Requena said. “Be much better? For who? For them, of course.” She added: “The green space that our community needs, we must have that. This is a space for generations, for our kids.”
As the people filed out of Queens Theater, few paid attention to Requena. They had already set their sights on 2016.