Our elected leaders alongside the Hudson River Park, and the Hudson River Park Trust, have collectively failed to bring home enough capital to complete the job of shoring up the pilings and concrete and make the Pier safe for maximum current revenue production. This, in advance of whatever “commercial node” revenue must then sustain it. There have been only utter lack of foresight and damaging decisions on this absolutely critical issue by BOTH the Trust and elected officials and they must BOTH be held accountable. Community leaders and sports parents have already created the sports and recreation ideal that Pier 40 must become and that clock cannot be turned back. The Trust and the elected officials ought to be made to feel shame due to ANY threat to loss of this massive space. The endless echo and stalemate of “the Trust wants housing / Glick opposes housing” is petty and tiresome, will it ever end?
The Trust and the elected officials, Glick particularly, have proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they cannot work in sync to find the capital to overhaul the pilings completely and make the idiotic drumbeat of “will the Pier collapse” go away. At this point, after foolishly rejecting the Major League Soccer capital, it’s clear that no RFP can ever get off the ground without the Trust Act changed, and that the Trust Act can never be changed unless something, not luxury housing, and acceptable to Glick, has been pre-determined and agreed upon by all. It’s obviously not going to happen, and both current proposals continue to lack up-front infrastructure repair capital, so why wait?
Here’s a solution, STILL staring us straight in the face: Douglas Durst and Pier 40 Champions, call me, why not have a meeting and explore this, are big ideas no longer possible? Let’s raise money for repair, and park and smaller arena construction. A seriously revenue generating arena which can have not one but TWO pro soccer teams sharing it. One Men’s in the Tier 2 North American Soccer League, (instead of Tier 1 Major League Soccer) and one in the new National Women’s Soccer League, which desperately needs an NYC franchise. Abby Wambach visiting my neighborhood? Women’s sports? Why can’t Glick support that? Robbie Rogers, a United States Men’s National soccer team and Major League Soccer player just came out bravely as gay and is taking some time off to adjust to the press and the world reaction. He should immediately be signed, here, where he would be celebrated, and where he can make a difference in sport with his profile and fearlessness. Our first captain. The Women’s team? Fuhgeddaboutit. They would fill the arena in ways the Liberty never did. And the idiots who continue to make the “hooligan” argument in regard to impact? Unfair, unjust and just plain wrong. Pier 40 Champions parents and their kids, me, and NYC professionals are the season ticket holders. It’s sports, there is noise, then people go home just like they always have. These people would argue against concerts in Central Park. It’s more than alarmist, it’s dirty, and pathetic.
I’m willing to bet that in New York City, two small publicly/community owned teams (in the public ownership economic model of the Green Bay Packers, who we can contact for guidance), with money raised locally and worldwide (Wall Street assistance or a special “premiere” agreement with Kickstarter, we can figure this one out), can raise $100,000,000. $1000 per share or certificate, (or larger amounts per shareholder but with caps, for fairness) from one hundred thousand soccer-loving public SHAREHOLDERS. Beginning with community members (then New Yorkers, then New York State, then the USA, then the world).
A small, low-rise arena, say 15,000 seats, still leaving 60% to 65% of the Pier. And with only fifty dates needed, the public has the use of the arena the rest of the year, just like the plan was with MLS. Soccer is still the answer for this Pier, especially now that Major League Soccer and the US Soccer Federation are financially backing the Women’s League.
This is possible, it has been done, this is the right place to do it. It would be only the second COMMUNITY OWNED major league sports franchise in the United States, and a historic women’s first. Maybe later the NASL franchise moves up into Major League Soccer, and the economic sustainability becomes even more assured. Let’s start thinking back inside the box we should have been working in a long time ago. Modest pro sports is, and always was, the proper solution for Pier 40.
I would call them the Men’s and Women’s Immigrant Soccer/Football Club of New York. ISC/IFC New York. What savvy soccer fan would not pay $1000 to own part of a professional sports team in New York City, that also gets a park built for the public?
This is something uniform, a single entity, easier to deal with in a crisis, which can be built to withstand storm-surge more than any other proposal now, or yet to be. Housing and/or multiple tech businesses would be disastrous economically in a storm, how complicated it would be to plan for multiple contingencies satisfying multiple high rent high-profile entities. A pro team gets temporarily displaced to a local or regional field, IF there is a problem.
And why even CONSIDER housing on the upland area where Pier 40 Champions currently proposes housing? Instead, put the small revenue producing soccer arena on the Pier, and use the upland area, (since it seems like it’s now in play), for more park/field space. Increase the park/field in a different manner, instead of residential, and use Pier space for the commercial partner. How about a three level tennis/basketball/bocce/cafe setup upland, further opening up the Pier space for the sports that need BIG field space, soccer and baseball, and MORE GREENSPACE. With a bridge to the main Pier?
We can build passion for such a project, and build it in a manner acceptable to community, with PUBLIC ownership. You and me. My checkbook, and my time and passion, are available.
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