For years, the thought of a NASCAR track on Staten Island was thrown around, but never seriously considered. The idea of having some of the best racing in the world going 190 mph around a track in the Big Apple was a popular one. Except to the people in New York City. The land earmarked for an 82,500-seat speedway on the West Shore of Staten Island is now going for park, commercial and industrial development. At the same time, imagining what could have been would’ve been interesting. This author used to be a civil engineering major, so it would be interesting to see what could have been.
Given the craze for 1.5 milers in NASCAR because of the speed it brings, it would not have been shocking if this was another one. However, given the landmass, it would probably be better if a bullring was constructed in Fresh Kills. A 0.5 mile bullring similar to Bristol would produce better racing and attract more crowds. If you could imagine a race in the Big Apple with side by side racing (and some crashing), you could imagine it would draw at least 40,000 people a race. The 82,500 seats they proposed is an unrealistic pipe dream.
Where would this new track be? The original proposals said the West Shore of Long Island, near the abandoned Fresh Kills landfill. To this date, that is still a logical location, except some of it is now the Fresh Kills Park. The Sierra Club and the city environmentalists would probably go extremely bananas. This is just a trip into fantasyland, there is no reason to consider what they think of the proposal. This proposal would be on the right side of the West Shore Expressway (State Route 440) in Fresh Kills. It would be across from exit 5 (Muldoon Avenue).
The property in question has the Cloud City Vape Shop and the Jewish Community Center on Arthur Kill Road along its southern border. The stadium would have the Fresh Kill on the east and access ramps to Route 440 and Arthur Kill Road at the west end. Arthur Kill Road would gain some traffic, but Drumgoole Road nearby; there would be access in all directions. A new exit 5 would provide access from the West Shore Expressway into the parking lots surrounding the west end of the track.
NASCAR would enjoy the benefit of a spot of revenue from the city. People from Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey would flock to the track. These people would also give New York City much benefit. The Port Authority getting lots of toll money; the MTA would benefit from buses going to the track and people spending on fares. Taxi cabs and rideshare services would benefit significantly. The Fresh Kills area would also get an economic spark it could desperately use.
It is clear that NASCAR is not coming to the Big Apple any time soon, and focusing on other locations. However, One cannot help but wonder what might have been.