Rudy Giuliani’s Really Expensive Staten Island Minor League Baseball Park Needs a Tenant

Giuliani’s favorite team, the Yankees pulled its team out of Staten Island.

Could the New York City boro of Staten Island get into a battle with another boro, Brooklyn, to win over the owner of a rugby team and get that team to move to Staten Island? The owner of Rugby United of New York, a team that plays in a Brooklyn stadium that houses a New York Mets minor league baseball team, reportedly is interested in the boro’s minor league baseball stadium as a home. In October 2019, James Kennedy, the owner of the New York Major League Rugby team, was looking at building a facility for his team in Staten Island, the least populated of New York City’s five boroughs. It is also the most difficult borough to access as there are two ways of getting onto the island. There are bridges from Brooklyn and New Jersey that go to Staten Island along with the Staten Island Ferry. The New York Yankees low level, short season rookie league affiliate in Staten Island had played at the stadium that is near the ferry terminal. But Yankees ownership ended the affiliation as part of Major League Baseball’s minor league reorganization and the stadium has lost its major tenant. That means at least 38 dates at the building need to be filled.

In 2019, Kennedy saw an opportunity to build a small stadium just for rugby and was hoping that the New York City Economic Development Corporation is on board with his plan. Nothing happened. But the city agency is planning to invest five million dollars into the Staten Island park with the hope of remodeling the stadium structure to allow non-baseball usage of the stadium. In 2000, New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani allocated $71 million for the stadium that was opened in 2001 and was the most expensive minor league stadium ever built at the time.

FILE – In this Dec. 9, 2014, file photo, New York Yankees president Randy Levine was a deputy mayor under Rudy Giuliani (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)