Before considering the facts, remember that this issue is not Western Queens specific, by the way. It speaks to the Parks Department and city’s civic values and priorities.When viewed in that light, the ouster is even more disturbing.
After allowing the league to train and play games at the park for over two decades, the city decided this year that enough was enough.
Citing concern for the conditions of the grass fields - and claiming football cleats are especially damaging, as opposed to, say soccer cleats - the league lost its park privileges. The season wasn’t even over at that point, but the Queens Falcons league, which serves over 250 children, was forced to pack up and move to Victory Field to finish out the remaining games.
Juniper Valley Park is a very important community resources, and must be maintained and protected, to be sure. But why pick on the Queens Falcons?
Some say race is a strong motivating factor. The football league serves minority players, while other sports activities at the park attract mostly white athletes.
Whatever the reason, the Queens Falcons did the right thing by taking their fight to Queens Supreme Court. That was the right move, given the circumstances, but the cards were still stacked against them.
A judge tossed the league’s lawsuit, siding with a city claim that the Queens Falcons failed to register correctly for a field permit this year.
A coach with the league says that’s an out-and-out lie. Now the league is considering taking the case to the Appellate Division. They should go for it.
In the meantime, however, the Queens Falcons have to play their remaining home games at Victory Field, on synthetic turf fields the league believes contain dangerously high toxicity levels. What a shame. Give the kids their field time back.