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It’s time to modernize a Queens spot where youngsters play a sport whose history dates back to before the 14th century. The Shannon Gaels Gaelic Athletic Association’s home field, Frank Golden Park in College Point, recently received $580,000 in public funds for an upgrade. The money — an $80,000 allocation from City Council Member Paul Vallone and a $500,000 allocation from Borough President Melinda Katz — will go to resurfacing the playing and scrimmage fields as well as installing an eight-foot fence around the park and a 30-foot retractable fence behind each goal post. With several hundred members who trace their heritage to all 32 counties on the Emerald Isle, the Shannon Gaels fields boys, girls and co-ed teams in various age groups that compete throughout the world. The association, which also organizes competitions involving other Irish sports such as hurling, was founded in 2002 with no home. Members practiced on sections of Forest, Juniper Valley, and Sunnyside Gardens parks until 2009, when they signed a 15-year lease with the NYC Parks Department for rights to seven acres of Golden Park, just south of 14th Avenue.

Information on the sport and more photos on jump page.

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10/04/13 11:00am

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At Pidgeon Meadow Road and Auburndale Lane along the southern edge of Flushing Cemetery is a remnant of the rural past: the Wesern Riding Club serving the Kissena Park bridle path. It’s surprising to see an active stable in any New York City neighborhood, but Auburndale remained semirural in character until well into the early 20th Century.

Unfortunately the century-old stables may not be in Auburndale much longer, as reports have surfaced that its owner has put it up for sale to local developers, who may build mixed-use residential and commercial buildings on the site. (more…)

07/16/13 9:00am

Corona park

Mayor Bloomberg injected some more controversy into the question of where New York City’s Major League Soccer team will play on Sunday when he said on his weekly radio address that Yankee Stadium will be the new team’s home. The team was originally bound for Queens. A 13-acre site had been identified in Corona Park. However, open space advocates and others pushed back, leaving the location of the team and its 25,000 seat stadium in limbo. After the mayor’s show his spokesperson had to “clarify” that no decision had been made yet on where the team will play. Queens assemblyman and soccer fan Francisco Moya is not deterred. He still wants to find the team a home in the borough, despite the best efforts of Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. to bring the team his borough. According to the Daily News the two have wagered meals over where the team will end up. Moya told the news, “The Bronx is a baseball town. Queens is a soccer town. I’m going to invite him [Diaz] to Queens to see the first game played after we build a stadium.” What do you think? Should there be a soccer stadium in Corona Park?

Bloomberg Heats up Bronx-Queens Rivalry for Major League Soccer Club, Stadium [NY Daily News]
New Soccer Team May Pass on Corona Park [Brownstoner]
The Yankees and Manchester City Want a New Stadium in Corona Park [Brownstoner]

Photo: ChrisGoldNY

 

06/18/13 11:00am

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In a part of town where all the streets are named “60,” it seems almost too good to be true: a picturesque and well-maintained soccer field featuring terrific matches every week with the spectacular skyline of midtown Manhattan as the backdrop. On a gravel path called 60th Court west of 60th Street, next to the Long Island Rail Road tracks, you will find one of Queens’ — and indeed New York City’s — most overlooked treasures.

The Metropolitan Oval has been used continuously for soccer since 1925. Soccer greats Tony Meola, Werner Roth, Tab Ramos and Edson Nascimento (Pele’s son) have all called Metropolitan Oval their home field at one time or another. The field is a U.S. Soccer Development Academy and seeks to develop the best young soccer talent in the region. The field hosts up to 20 games per week and is the home field for a number of local college teams. (more…)

05/21/13 1:00pm

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The Yankees and England’s Manchester City announced Tuesday that they will form the newest Major League Soccer team, the New York City Football Club (NYCFC). Manchester City will play an exhibition match in the Bronx against Chelsea FC (the team from London, not the West 20s) this very Saturday, May 25. But a far more explosive question is where the new New York team ultimately plays.

The release says that NYCFC will have an interim home in 2015 but that it is “committed to seeking a new permanent stadium in New York.” Candidate No. 1?  Flushing Meadows Corona Park, already a battleground between local groups and the U.S. Tennis Association.

It’s far from a done deal. A spokesman at City Planning told Brownstoner that any proposal would require a seven-month Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), which would involved input from the local community board and borough president, followed by votes by City Planning and the City Council. He declined to comment further on the proposal because it hasn’t been officially submitted.

Stadiums are inherently tied to the public sector. Virtually all pro teams extract some sort of tax abatement as part of a new stadium deal, with the argument that the thousands of future spectators will lead directly to consumer spending and new jobs. But studies haven’t supported the claims that arenas lead to an overall net benefit. And this proposal comes at a time when Madison Square Garden, one of the most famous venues in the world, is trying to secure its own future.

Ferran Soriano, head of Manchester City, issued a cautious note regarding development:

“New York City FC will have a permanent home in the City in the great traditions of New York sports and world soccer – a home that must be a sports, commercial and civic success…But in considering any stadium site, we will listen first. This is what we have always done in Manchester and what we will do in New York.  Only in this way, can the Club truly represent the City whose name it will carry.”

Mayor Bloomberg, a consistent fan of sports as an engine of economic development (see Atlantic Yards, Citi Field, the new Yankee Stadium and the defeated Jets proposal), was more bullish. But remember that this is his last year as mayor, and any decisions will likely be shaped by his successor.

“Soccer is one of the world’s most exciting and popular sports, and it should be played on the world’s biggest stage – in New York City…New Yorkers are the greatest sports fans in the world, and they will welcome a Major League Soccer franchise with the full-throated and loyal support they are famous for. Manchester City has a great reputation for both winning teams and serious community investment, and that will help them fit in well with the excellent leadership of New York City’s other professional sports teams. Increasingly, sports events and activities – from the NHL playoffs to the MLB All-Star game to the SuperBowl – are spurring economic growth, as our investments in new arenas and infrastructure are paying off.”

What do you think?

Photo: L-R, Randy Levine of the Yankees, MLS Commissioner Don Garber, Ferran Soriano of Manchester City, via NYCFC

04/24/13 10:00am

There’s something special about a bicycle shop. From the attentive service and professional advice, a pro bike shop can outfit you with the custom bipedal ride of your dreams. Proper fitting and selection is always an issue, so you want the right bike for the job at the right size whether off-roading, touring, or just a joyride. But let’s face it: frequent use can lead to a lot of wear and tear, sometimes wheels get dented or pedals fall off. Rest assure, most large and small shops are full service offering a variety of assistance after the sale from tune-ups to parts replacement and repair whether for adults, kids, or professional cyclists.

It doesn’t matter if you’re cycling the entire Queens Green Belt or simply commuting to work, there’s a professional bicycle shop each with it’s own style, specialization, and deals so shop around. The weather outside is getting warmer and it’s time to ride. Visit one of these shops for a great experience:

  • Roberts Bicycles. For over forty years Roberts Bicycles of Bayside has been outfitting the community with hand-built models and a wide selection from BMX to mountain bikes to baby bikes and everything in between. Roberts Bicycles has something to suit the most consummate tastes including helmets and apparel. Trained technicians are on staff to answer your questions and guide you through the selection process.

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  • Peak Bikes. Offering free tune ups for life, Peak Bicycle Pro Shop of Douglaston focuses on the mountain bike crowd. Walk in and staff are eager to talk up bikes while the cycling community often gather here to organize rides in nearby Cunningham Park. Order a custom model, or restore your childhood cruiser.

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  • Spin City Cycle. Located in Forest Hills, Spin City Cycles encourages customers to come in for a test ride on all of their models. With cycling being such a popular activity in Queens, sometimes a repair shop can be backlogged, so for those eager to get back in the saddle minus the wait, Spin City promises to repair your bicycle in 48 hours or less.

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  • Bellitte Bicycles. You can’t go wrong shopping at the oldest bicycle store in the United States. Since 1918, Bellitte Bicycles of Jamaica has been family owned and operated offering 5,000 models to choose from. Service is a top priority at this huge shop but their low price guarantee is known to draw in customers for over 90 years.

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  • Tony’s Bicycles. Tony’s Bicycles of Astoria has an excellent track record in the cycling community. All of their mechanics are factory trained and certified by companies like Trek, GT, Cannondale, Giant, and many more. Founded in the 1970’s, this bicycle shop is known for their commitment to value and service.

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  • Bike Stop. While visiting Bike Stop you’ll find a wide selection from BMX to road bikes, even bicycles built for two. An eclectic staff offers expertise from different specialties all the while promising the only thing you’ll have to worry about is peddling. The site offers a comprehensive newbies guide to just about every subject ranging from parts and accessories to how to guides such as a buyer’s guide to rechargeable lighting systems.

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04/23/13 10:45am

The Mets are 9-8 heading into the first game of a three-game set against the Dodgers tonight.

Despite being over .500, it’s obvious that Terry Collins’ squad is hit or miss at this point in the season.

With an ace-in-the-making in Matt Harvey and a solid lefty in John Niese, the Mets have two starting pitchers capable of winning 12-plus games. However, the rest of the rotation has proven it is a major liability.

Matt Harvey is 4-0 with a 0.93 ERA.    Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

While Harvey has displayed why he is touted to be an elite pitcher for years to come in the majors, especially during his win against the Nationals last Friday that saw him outduel Stephen Strasburg, the Mets’ other two starters, Dillon Gee and Jeremy Hefner, have left a great deal to be desired.

Gee and Hefner are a combined 1-5 thus far while Harvey and Niese are an impressive 6-1.

It’s unlikely that two productive starting pitchers will be able to carry the Mets through a 162-game season, especially with a lineup that is sporadic in its offensive production.

John Buck may be leading the National League with 22 RBI, but he can’t be expected to carry the offensive load for the Mets, as he’s a lifetime .238 hitter.

John Buck is off to a hot start.               Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The only consistent offensive production the Mets can count on, as of right now, are the bats of David Wright and Daniel Murphy. They are batting .311 and .348, respectively.

With the Braves and Nationals proving early on that they are legitimate pennant contenders coming out of the NL East, the Mets’ rotation will have to prove that it has the depth to make a sincere push towards sustained success over the summer months.

04/22/13 2:01pm

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There are batters up in Long Island City.

The New York Post reports that the trendy neighborhood is now home to the home team. Mets players, including Jon Niese, David Wright, Dillon Gee, Bobby Parnell, Daniel Murphy, Daniel Murphy, Frank Francisco and Mike Baxter reportedly hang their Mets hats in two luxury high rises, the Avalon Riverview and Avalon Riverview North.

Rents at Avalon Riverview reportedly range between $2200 and $5300 per month. Avalon Riverview North is the pricier of the two, with rents between $2300 to $6000.

The Post spoke to one of the building’s staff;

“They’re cool — they talk to us when they see us,” said one Avalon worker. “They’re just settling in now . . . They come every year, just for the season.”

Amenities include a ninth-floor pool, a rooftop garden with barbecue grills, a 24-hour concierge, a gym and even a doorman who sources said also moonlights as an usher at Citi Field.

We knew with the proliferation of doggie day care centers in LIC that celebrities would be quick to follow.

Mets opt for the simple life in Long Island City [The Real Deal]

04/16/13 10:00am

2009 New York City Marathon Men's Lead Group
Image source: Flickr user wonggawei
2009 New York City Marathon Men’s Lead Group motoring thru LIC

We love the marathon. We think it is one of the greatest, purest sporting events that there is. One of our team members was one of the 27k people who ran yesterday in Boston. He finished in 2:56, a personal record. Before all hell broke loose.

From Wikipedia:

The marathon is a long-distance running event with an official distance of 42.195 kilometres (26 miles and 385 yards) that is usually run as a road race. The event was instituted in commemoration of the fabled run of the Greek soldier Pheidippides, a messenger from the Battle of Marathon to Athens.

The marathon was one of the original modern Olympic events in 1896, though the distance did not become standardized until 1921. More than 500 marathons are held throughout the world each year, with the vast majority of competitors being recreational athletes.

To give you an idea of how popular running is there will be three marathons next weekend with a combined 62k runners — and we’re looking forward to all runners (that don’t run out of gas..) safely completing them: Salt Lake City Marathon (10k runners) on Saturday, London Marathon (37k runners) on Sunday and Hamburg Marathon (15k runners) also on Sunday.

Salt Lake City Marathon set to proceed Saturday [The Salt Lake Tribune]
London Marathon will go ahead as planned, sports minister says [The Guardian]
Officials Urge Tight Security for London Marathon After Boston Bombs [NY Times]