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New Yorkers brace for India vs Pakistan chaos at ‘parking lot’

New Yorkers brace for India vs Pakistan chaos at ‘parking lot’

Not so long ago, Michael Leboff was a regular visitor at Eisenhower Park in with his dog. In two weeks' time, the same park will host world's greatest rivalry in India vs Pakistan. In a special series by InsideSport, here is what New Yorkers think about the mega clash.

The fanfare was not palpable when it was announced that the T20 World Cup 2024 would be staging games at Eisenhower Park on Long Island. The fact that a parking lot of a community park will host world’s greatest rivalry in India vs Pakistan mostly met with confusion, some jokes and disbelief. The reason? There was no cricket stadium when it was announced in September last year.

“I laughed. It made no sense to me. I thought it was mostly a joke or a misunderstanding, but I see that is not the case now,” Chris, a 34-year-old Long Island native who doesn’t count himself a cricket fan but has some rudimentary knowledge of the sport, told InsideSport’s Michael Leboff.

World’s greatest rivalry in parking lot

For the most part, locals want their homeland to host big events and this part of Long Island is no stranger to doing so. The New York Islanders used to play down the park from the cricket stadium at Nassau Coliseum. But that building held just over 16,000 people and was surrounded by a massive parking lot (which will be used for the cricket).

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In short, it was set up to host these events.

Eisenhower Park, which is home to three golf courses, 14 softball fields, three baseball fields, three football fields, four soccer fields, 16 tennis courts, an aquatics center and an ice hockey facility, not a World Cup.

Curiosity driving locals

Chris noted that he is excited for the tournament and will try to attend matches. While the ticketing process has not been smooth, a lot of what is drawing him to the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium is curiosity. It’s not just about a sport he doesn’t fully understand. But it’s also the idea that one of the world’s biggest sporting events will take place at a community park.

“I’ve been going to Eisenhower Park my whole life. I can’t wrap my mind around there being a massive international sporting event held there. It will definitely be cool and I expect to have a lot of fun. But I don’t know if I trust that it will be handled smoothly,” Chris added.

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Security woes for India vs Pakistan

Although it is massive by park standards (it is larger than Central Park in Manhattan), Eisenhower Park is not set up to host an influx of 34,000 spectators — plus staff, media and security — at one time.

The roads going into and out of the park see plenty of traffic throughout the day. Eisenhower is just off a major parkway on Long Island and sandwiched between two vital throughways. Nobody is confident that these roads won’t get absolutely jammed up during the tournament. Especially during India vs Pakistan on Sunday, June 9.

“The traffic is already brutal,” Steve, another Long Island local who is going to at least one match, told InsideSport. “I don’t think the County will be ready for this many people to get in and out of the park at one time.”

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Logitsical nightmare

Adding to the potential for logistical chaos is the fact that the India vs Pakistan match is on a Sunday in June. There will be high school graduations nearby. and communion parties. There will be people shuttling their kids around one of the busiest hubs on Long Island. Many of the people attending those kinds of events will need to use the roads around the park. They will have very little idea about what is going on at the stadium.

“We’ve been having weekly meetings about the [T20 World Cup],” one hospital administrator who wished to remain anonymous said. “Nobody is really sure what to expect. It’s going to be a huge amount of people and we just need to be ready for whatever comes, though hopefully nothing does.”

The Nassau County Parks dept. did not return multiple attempts to contact them for this story.

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