Cricket stadium at Van Cortlandt Park not a good idea right now


Merriam-Webster defines cricket as a game played with a ball and bat by two sides of usually 11 players each on a large field centering upon two wickets, each defended by a wicketkeeper.

It is among the world’s most popular sports, second only to what we know here as soccer. According to WorldAtlas.com, there are 2.5 billion fans who watch or attend cricket matches compared to only 500 million who are baseball fans. In fact, Van Cortlandt Park has multiple cricket pitches among its 62 acres of space.

So, what’s the big deal about Mayor Eric Adams and the International Cricket Council eyeing nearly 20 acres of space — mostly at the Parade Grounds — at Van Cortlandt Park for the T20 World Cup in 2024?

While it’s certainly an honor to be considered as a host for such a popular sport, the question is whether the park ready to accommodate the demands related to that honor. In one word: no.

True, the mayor has promised the ICC would foot the bill putting together the temporary 34,000-seat stadium and anything else necessary to pull off the event. The mayor even promises additional capital investments in northwest Bronx.

In a proposal shared with Community Board 8, the mayor says the estimated boost to the local economy is somewhere in the ballpark of $150 million.

CB8 held an emergency meeting last week to consider what to do about this proposal. Ultimately, the board tabled a resolution holding off on the project until it could do some vetting. But in the end, CB8’s role in all this is advisory, and not binding.

Yet, to make all this work, the venue would have to be built in the next five months. To get a sense of how large that is, consider the size of Yankee Stadium and Citi Field, which are now about 10 years old. Granted, those are permanent edifices that seat more than 40,000 people. But it took years to build those stadiums.

That’s only one of the many concerns surrounding this stadium proposal. Consider the rest:

• The environmental impact of the entire park since automobiles and the thousands of fans walking on the fields would have.

• The loss of access to the grounds for park-goers who play games, run and walk there regularly.

• The current lack of enforcement officers in the park, where there aren’t enough now to deal with crime. With the size of such an event, the enforcement team would not be large enough for crowd control.

• Traffic in and around that part of Van Cortlandt Park would be horrific, backing up onto the nearby highways.

• It would seem the only entities that would benefit from such an event would be sponsoring corporations and outsiders.

One of the biggest concerns about building this stadium now is the lack of time electeds and those living in the surrounding neighborhood are getting. If you think of this project as a mini-Olympics, five months is about a tenth of the time Van Cortlandt Park would need to properly vet the work.

The only reason this is being foisted upon Councilman Eric Dinowitz and CB8 chair Julie Reyes is because Adams is reacting to a desperate request from the ICC. You see, the ICC planned on holding the event in the West Indies and the United States, but it discovered there are no available venues that can be used for cricket in the United States. According to the organization’s website, the United States could still be considered for the next World Cup in 2030 because there may be a plan to swap those hosts with the 2024 event.

So, why doesn’t Adams just propose the latter date for consideration of Van Cortlandt Park? Maybe it has something to do with whether the mayor will still be in office by then.

As for now, it is quite apparent rushing to build a stadium at Van Cortlandt in a five-month timeframe that just doesn’t make sense.

cricket, International Cricket Council, World Cup, Mayor Eric Adams, Eric Dinowitz, Julie Reyes, Community Board 8