Jan. 26, 2016 By Jackie Strawbridge
Council Member Costa Constantinides has called on the Parks Department to transform the center of the Astoria Park running track into a regulation-size soccer field.
Constantinides announced the proposal at his State of the District speech Monday night, though he has been on the lookout for a potential soccer field for months, along with State Sen. Michael Gianaris and Assembly Member Aravella Simotas. The idea responds to what he called a “clamoring” for a field from “all over Astoria.”
The proposed soccer field would be FIFA regulation size, 100 yards by 50 yards. It would occupy the center of the Astoria Park track, which is located on the southern end of the park.
Constantinides said he has discussed the proposal with the Parks Department, and estimates that it would cost about $3 million for turf, drainage and leveling the field. He is looking for funding for this project from the City’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget.
According to the Councilman, park goers are already using this space for soccer and other sports, which kicks up dust and can get in the way of runners on the track. He believes that formalizing this space as a soccer field could improve it for both uses, by providing a clean and level field and mechanisms to catch stray balls.
He also noted that a Parks-sanctioned field would create designated game times for players and teams, as opposed to a free-for-all.
“Doing this provides more protection for those that want to enjoy the track for the track purposes, and provides a space with a real opportunity to play the world’s game in the world’s borough,” he told the Astoria Post.
Aside from providing a dedicated soccer space for Astorians, Constantinides said he also hopes the field – with its waterfront view and backdrop of the Triborough/RFK Bridge – could bring high profile tournaments to the neighborhood and “highlight the really great things happening in Astoria.”
When asked whether he is concerned about crowds or noise pollution as a result of a new field, he said that he has been seeking community feedback on the proposal, which will continue before anything is built.
If realized, the project would have to go through the Parks Department’s budgeting, design and procurement process, Constantinides said.
“This is something that’s going to take time,” he added. “It’s a big idea, but we should be talking about big ideas.”
The Parks Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the proposal.
What about Softball Fields? There used to be some before they did over the Park a number of years back. I played there in a league. Why just Soccer?
Improvements are great when they actually help those who appreciate what there is for them to enjoy nature…..however why not spend that money on improving cleaning up the park, fixing the toilets in the playground that have been out of use for so long and improve the lighting along the paths. We who live around areas of the park must deal with garbage being left behind when those using the park go back to their homes away from the park. We rarely see any parks personnel clear any paths of snow or falling leaves yet providing a soccer field seems to be priority? I’m sure the money required to restore a soccer field could and should be better spent on what we already have in place that needs attention.
Wow, you sure talk smart! Its like lawyer talk. You sure you ain’t somehow working for the politician fella who wants to ram this waste of money project past all the little people’s input? Just so you can get that photo of you standing next to the big fella at the ribbon-cutting, and not caring about keeping the park a park and not an athletic center
As I read most of these comments, I can see that they come from people who are afraid of change and have a myopic point of view. I am an avid runner and I love to run around Astoria Park and in the Astoria Park Track. The people who oppose this proposal need to realize that the field is already getting used as a soccer field and that creates more issues than Park Enforcement could address. Furthermore, I have personally asked Park Enforcement if there are any rules for playing soccer outside the track area and they said “no”. As such, a person who is committed to playing can play outside the track area and ruin the grass condition there. This makes zero sense and I have already seen it and is not good for the park. This proposal must go forward and focus must be placed on how field utilization will be managed. Management of the field is imperative as kids should be the focus.
Yes yes yes soccer field take kids off streets
Yes build a soccer field it will be a good way for kids to have fun
I live 2 blocks south of the park, and I think a soccer field is a great idea! Bring it on!
I think it’s a good idea. They have the same thing at McCarren Park and people run the track there at all hours without any problems. Why not have a nice looking turf field rather than the dirty, patchy area that is there now? Just add some tall nets behind the goal for safety.
We need a Golf Course!
What we need is a baseball field back in Astoria Park, if people want to run they can run the loop.
Better idea: turn the space to a free outdoor gym, like in European parks.
See photo http://www.oren-playground.co.il/img/1005/832.jpg
I think it is a great idea for teams or leagues but it will not benefit people who might want to play a game and not part of a team. Is a field permit free?
According to what Rosa says, there would be a permit required, i.e., not free.
What about the newly renovated Federation of Italian American Organizations of Queens (FIAO) soccer field, located at 33rd Street and 20th Avenue in Astoria. Teams can inquire about using that!
They end up doing what they want anyway. Shore Blvd is a perfect example. Pretending that they want community input and then they do as they please. This is not a vacant lot or old factory, this is not LIC. Leave the Astoria park track alone!
A really bad idea. I use the track regularly, and in the summer it is already an overuse and misused area. Runners should not have to watch for errant balls, and I’ve nearly been hit so many times.
A soccer field will not serve most existing park users well, and my guess, could lead to crowds that are larger than what that end of the park can handle. This is not the right location, plus, it costs way too much. Astorians would be served better by using the money for something else.
Or, how about some long needed maintenance instead? The tennis courts are in serious decline (never mind that the city’s high fees keep so many from using them); toilets need to be updated/fixed and kept open longer; and there are erosion problems on the south side. Just to name a few.
i go to the park to jog and work out and sometimes to relax. i do not want to be bombarded by screaming kids and soccer moms!
I disagree. It is like opening up the pool for the majority of time to swim teams or leagues only.
Randall’s Island Park has a wonderful Soccer Field and is very close to Astoria. However, If your team or league wants to play, you will need an athletic field permit (the same will be true if this proposal is passed). Call 311 for more information.
The above comment was for Fernando and anyone else who is interested.
Is the athletic field permit going to be done thru the nycparks.gov?
Hi I’m agree with you I’m practice soccer 5 years ago with kids my name is Fernando and always I have problems with the authorities on Astoria park our children’s don’t have any place to practice this sport and is a wonderful idea you have our vote mi and more than 30 parents we do all this free for our kids our team name “Real Astoria soccer club ” we are voluntary organizations tank you
Why not make it a multi-use green space that converts to an ice-skating/hockey rink in the winter?
How does the Environmental Councilman justify replacing a serene grass field with a rubber byproduct? It may be the color green, but birds and squirrels will lose more precious habitat. You can also forget about an uninterrupted jog around the track. This change will bring throngs of people to an area that cannot support organized sports. Participatory Budget delegates have rejected this idea 2 years in a row. Hellgate Runners, seniors, environmentalists, skateboarders, park lovers–this proposal is not in your best interest.
Being a lifelong Astoria park user I’m amazed at the comments here against this no-brainer of a proposal. It’s long overdue#
The track should be preserved and left alone. So many Astorians lost their virginity on that field back in the day.
Maybe he was watching “Field of Dreams” during the blizzard and came up with this stupid idea.
As long as he is not playing soccer in short shorts..I am ok with it!
Constantinidis should leave this alone and focus on another mural or traffic sign until his term is over.
Just a front to clear out the track and built tents for the homeless.
Please do not kill the trees on that field. Replant them.
i love it! i hope he gets it approved.
I always wanted to have a wedding on the field.
First of all, the more activities that are going on in a community area and the more people have an opportunity to participate in, the better. The field would be way too big for the small amount of people that could use simultaneously. Second, the field would be make dominated (Too big of a space and not fair). Third, the ultimate determinant of a place’s success is how well it is managed. No one will manage this place. In my opinion, proposal denied.
Correction: “…the field would be make dominated ” should read “the field would be male dominated” Thank you
Yes! Too many balls all over the park.
We already have one on 20th Avenue and 31st Street, not to mention the many on Randall’s Island, a short walk, or bike ride over the Triborough Bridge. What is with this politician. Time to vote him out. At least Vallone knew that Astoria liked to be left alone. May not have been great for progress, but excellent for the community. These stooges already screwed all of us by not listening to us when we all said we didn’t want the huge Astoria Cove project that will just bring more crowding, less community and more traffic to this small suburban neighborhood. Also, what is with all the spending? Million on a dog park, million+ on some stupid Amphitheater no one but the pompous wants, and now 3 million more for this disaster. Why? Just so you can act like another Corporate Politician and try to get more revenue from overcrowding and tax collection?
We already have one on 20th Avenue and 31st Street, not to mention the many on Randall’s island. This councilman is becoming ridiculous with the spending. Million on dog park, million+ on some stupid amphitheater nobody but the pompous want in Astoria pool, now 3 million for another soccer field in Astoria. You already screwed Astoria with the Astoria Cove project. Stop acting like a Corporate Politician who keeps looking for ways to further overcrowd this small neighborhood for tax money.
Utterly disagree. Leave it alone ! It is a family space for families from Astoria.
I can only conclude that Constantinidis has too much time on his hands!
Has Constantinidis, Simotas and Gianaris visited a Queens park? Like we really need to waste 3 million dollars for some men to play all day while their wives and children sit around with chairs, nets and umbrellas, barbecuing or eating from a cooler and then leaving all the garbage behind! This happens throughout Queens Parks, especially with soccer fans from what i have seen. Fix the bathrooms, keep the park clean and hire some more park patrol!
Build build build…thats all the three stooges, Constantinidis, Simotas and Gianaris know. Astoria is crowded enough. Can there be no refuge? Dump these three clowns in the next election.
Leave it alone! We don’t need more development in the park. What we need is to fix the toilets that are out of order for a year and counting. I realize a million-dollar dog run and a jacked-up soccer field are sexy projects, but politicians need to look past the ribbon-cutting ceremony and the photo in the Ledger and the Astoria Post and make things that Astoria residents actually need, and not blow money on things we don’t. Besides, the running track is a nice place to run, and I’d rather not be dodging spectators and soccer balls on my jogs. It’s decisions like these that make lazy people like me get involved in local politics.
Mr Harper please run for office! You got my vote.
Leave it the way it is! The park is already over crowded and dirty in the summer months with the pool and festivities and soon to be amphitheater. The article is going from Constantinides is doing it for “Astorians” to use to the field “could bring high profile tournaments to the neighborhood.” Well, does that mean that more space is going to be taken to put up bleachers? i can imagine a bunch of people arguing over who is going to use the space. There are 11 players on the field per team during a soccer game. Are we really going to waste 3 million dollars for 22 people to use at one time? Enough already!