November 30, 2012
MY TWO CENTS
This Red Bulls season ticket holder would welcome a team in Queens
Christopher Dwyer is a Red Bulls season ticket holder who lives in Harrison, N.J.
"The opinions reflected in the My Two Cents columns do not express the views of the editors or management of BigAppleSoccer. com"
By Christopher Dwyer
Special to BigAppleSoccer.com
NYC2, as the proposed 20th Major League Soccer franchise is commonly called, is a misnomer. This new franchise will be the first team in MLS to play in New York. Harrison, N.J. is not New York.
In fact, what we’ve seen since the Red Bulls moved to Red Bull Arena is that Harrison is even less New York than the Meadowlands. While the Harrison PATH station is the advertised 20 minutes from Manhattan, it’s 20 minutes from the Financial District. Leave the Harrison station at 10 p.m. on a Wednesday night, and you’ll get back to the Upper East Side by 11, Red Hook at 11:15, Jackson Heights by 11:30, and Baychester by 11:45 via public transportation.
And public transportation truly is the only feasible way to get from New York City to Harrison for a 7:30 p.m. weeknight game, unless you can leave the City before the evening rush. For the suburbs – at least those on the east side of the Hudson – the trip can be even worse. As an example, the trip from Babylon, L.I. to Harrison can take anywhere from one to two and a half hours, depending on traffic.
Adding a New York City team will not only provide an immediately vibrant rivalry for the Red Bulls, but it will open up the outer boroughs, Long Island and Westchester County as reasonable markets for new MLS fans.
I have co-workers from Brooklyn and Queens who have come with me to Red Bull Arena, thoroughly enjoyed themselves at the game, but having experienced the trip home, are not inclined to come again. Life-long Arsenal, Barcelona or CSD Comunicaciones fans are not going to be instant fans and season ticket holder of their local MLS team just because it’s soccer; they’re going to need a positive experience when they attend a match. Part of that experience is the trip to and from the stadium. And while those trips are rarely hassle-free, putting a team and a stadium in Queens will lessen that hassle for so many potential MLS fans.
All of this is certainly not to imply that Red Bull Arena’s location is a bad one.
Personally, I couldn’t think of a better place to put a soccer stadium than the hallowed soccer ground that is West Hudson County, N.J. From the earliest days of U.S. Soccer, to the ’90 and ’94 World Cup teams, soccer in the USA has had a long history in Kearny, Harrison and East Newark.
Choosing Harrison for the location of this stadium shows the Red Bull organization pays homage to that history and continues the great soccer tradition that area has. Furthermore, Red Bull Arena’s location is very convenient for nearly all of northern New Jersey via the Jersey Turnpike, Garden State Parkway, I-280 or Route 21.
But the Red Bulls are truly a New Jersey team, and I wish they’d embrace the Garden State more in their marketing and sales outreach. New York deserves a team of its own, and if all goes according to plan, they’ll have NYC1 come 2016.
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