The old maxim says that you can't determine the quality and endurance of a sports arena until Jay-Z has played at least six of eight consecutive concerts there. With that requirement satisfied and the Barclays Arena yet to crumble into a pile of orange-brown dust, MLS felt comfortable asking Barclays Center-designers SHoP Architects to build the new home of the Cosmos. From Capital New York:
SHoP's name is on a July Major League Soccer proposal given to city officials, and obtained by Capital. Last night, MLS confirmed that SHoP is indeed working on the initial schematic designs for a stadium in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
That MLS is working with a New York firm that just successfully delivered an architecturally well-regarded stadium to Atlantic Yards, perhaps the city's most disputed development site, may indicate something about the seriousness of the league's intent to build in Queens, political controversy and byzantine development processes nothwithstanding.
SHoP architects may want to go ahead and change their slogan to "political controversy and byzantine development processes notwithstanding." Our August rundown of the looming rebirth of the Cosmos noted that Corona Park is a commuity center which hosts organized soccer tournaments on weekends, and that a stadium project in the middle of the park means, "Actual participants out, spectators—and their money—in." As with the Barclays Center, expect a vocal opposition to the project. As with the Barclays Center, expect the opposition to get steamrolled.
I went to the Nets' arena recently and came away modestly impressed. I liked the large plaza out front, found the entrance—a huge glass wall—to be a fair realization of the promise to lead event-goers out into the neighborhood, and thought the sight lines to the court seemed pretty good. It's easy to quibble with the way the arena looks on the outside—because it's ugly—but if the Brooklyn project accurately predicts the way SHoP will build sports venues in the future, the stadium in Queens will likely be some corporate iteration of "modern cool," and will make some stylistic concessions to its surroundings. It could be worse, and if you're invested in the rebirth of the Cosmos—emotionally or financially—you can rest easy that the project is in the hands of designers that know how to give a team a splashy entrance.
And if you're invested in the intergalactic protection of the planet Earth, you can rest easy knowing that the spaceship in Brooklyn will soon merge with one in Queens. Project Omega is nearly complete.