Some in North Riverdale rejoice over cricket move

Torres: ‘The people of Riverdale won;’ winning bid goes to Long Island


The 2024 Men’s T20 Cricket World Cup will not take place at Van Cortlandt Park after all. Instead it is now destined to be at another park in New York state: Eisenhower Park in East Meadow, Long Island.

The news that a temporary 34,000-seat stadium will not be built at the parade ground of Van Cortlandt Park is good for nearby residents and electeds who represent New York City’s third largest park.

“The people of Riverdale won,” U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres told The Riverdale Press. “I think we collectively defeated an outrageous background deal to privatize public parkland. The city proposed sectioning a massive amount of land to a private entity for private use all without the barest attempts of community engagement.”

This move would have violated the public trust doctrine, which prohibits local governments like New York City, from depriving the public of public land without going through the state legislature, he said. If the city had been allowed to move forward without public review it would have set a dangerous precedent for the privatization of public lands, he added.

“This plan, done with zero community input, would have built a temporary 34,000-seat stadium in Van Cortlandt Park,” Councilman Eric Dinowitz wrote on social media Sept. 20. “New Yorkers would have lost access to this public space, and the project could have done untold damage to the park and the Enslaved African Burial Ground. This plan also ignored park alienation, environmental review, and ULURP (uniform land use review procedure) laws.”

Since the proposal came to light in July, Councilman Dinowitz, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, and U.S. Rep. Torres had shared their many concerns about the plan that would have cut off access to parts of the park for up to six months.

Earlier this month, the three electeds met at Van Cortlandt Park, alongside Councilman Shekar Krishnan, and community members to give the proposal a big resounding “No.”

“There is a lesson to be learned here,” Assemblyman Dinowitz told The Press. “When elected officials, me, Ritchie, Eric, community organizations, and parks all work together as a team coalition, it really puts us in a strong position.”

From the first announcement of the proposal there was a long list of groups and people who voiced their disapproval in board meetings and petitions.

The VCPA shared their gratitude to community members who voiced their opposition and stated, “Van Cortlandt Park’s parade ground is essential to daily life in the Bronx for local kids who play sports like cross country, baseball, soccer, and cricket, for community members who enjoy a pastoral space, hungry birds looking for food, and everyone else who uses the space in a positive way. This is especially important for them.”

Just last month the VCPA was part of an open letter campaign to city and state officials and the International Cricket Council addressing concerns. Twenty-nine groups and 144 individuals signed the letter put forth by the Bronx Council for Environmental Quality.

The BCEQ, in a letter, made it clear they are content the ICC decided to look elsewhere. However, they are “guardingly relieved” as there are still concerns that Mayor Eric Adams may be eyeing the park in the future.

“There was no statement that the site was inappropriate for a private organization to build a stadium on New York City Parkland in violation of the Public Trust Doctrine,” BCEQ secretary and board member Karen Argenti said in a statement. “We know that there were discussions at the beginning of the year, yet there was a tactical choice to delay briefing people to around the 4th of July — when community boards do not meet and most other people are vacationing and not around.”

While the future may be uncertain on whether VCP will be eyed once again, local cricket players who have shared their fears of losing their season to the stadium’s construction, can breathe a little easier. One of those people is Godfrey Mitchell, the president of the New York Cricket League.

“We just didn’t want them to interfere with us, Van Cortlandt Park,” said Mitchell. “Because there was no guarantee of a takedown. Temporary could be permanent. That was all of our concerns. I’m glad they found somewhere in New York that we can all drive or fly to.”

Nassau County was proud to be chosen as the winning site.

“Nassau County is excited to partner with the ICC to host the Men’s T20 World Cup, one of the most popular sporting events in the world,” Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman said in a news release. “With more than one billion fans worldwide, this event will attract fans from all around the world to Eisenhower Park.”

“An agreement has been reached for the construction of a 34,000-seat modular stadium in Eisenhower Park, a purpose-built sports and events park in Nassau County, New York,” the ICC announced the morning of Sept. 20.

“We’re delighted to announce the three USA venues that will host part of the biggest ICC Men’s T20 World Cup ever staged, with 20 teams competing for the trophy,” said ICC chief executive Geoff Allardice. “The USA is a strategically important market and these venues give us an excellent opportunity to make a statement in the world’s biggest sport market.

In addition to Nassau County, there will also be two other venues in the states, one in Dallas and another in Miami. This marks the first time the U.S. has ever hosted the tournament as they co-host it with the West Indies next year.

A spokesperson for the Adams administration congratulated Nassau County on their selection as a host for the World Cup.

“New York City put forward a competitive bid reflective of the diversity of our city and the countless immigrant communities who call it home, and we appreciate their support,” deputy press secretary Amaris Cockfield said in a statement to The Riverdale Press.

“While we were hopeful that New York City would be selected, we invite attendees to stay in New York City hotels and to enjoy the incredible entertainment, cultural organizations, restaurants, and other attractions that make New York City the best destination for major events and visitors from around the world and that create economic opportunities for the hard-working New Yorkers who make our city run.”

It was estimated that hosting the tournament at Van Cortlandt Park would have brought in an anticipated $150 million or more in revenue for the local economy. However, for many that potential revenue was largely overshadowed by concerns of park goers losing access to parts of their beloved park, local cricket players losing a large chunk of their season due to the construction, potential damage to nearby sensitive wildlife and concerns that the stadium would not be “temporary” as promised.

“The outcome represents a triumph of people power,” Torres said to The Press. “We sent a powerful message that Van Cortlandt Park does not belong to the government. It belongs to we, the people.”



Van Cortlandt Park, Men's T20 Cricket World Cup, Eisenhower Park, East Meadow, Long Island, Ritchie Torres, Jeffrey Dinowitz, Godfrey Mitchell, Amaris Cockfield, Eric Dinowitz, Bronx Council for Environmental Quality, Karen Argentis, Van Cortlandt Parks Alliance