Monday, August 13, 2012

NYC Olympics Would Be Starting Now

NYC sought to host this year's Olympics. If that effort had succeeded, the 2012 Olympics would be commencing in our city now.

NYC 2012 Olympic Bid

Soon after his first election, Mayor Bloomberg and his advisors began pushing the concept of the 2012 Olympics being held in NYC. Baseball was to be played at Yankee Stadium, and basketball was to be played at Madison Square Garden. The city was to be transformed by $3.2 billion of investment that included the building of a new football stadium in Manhattan and a beautiful Olympic Village across from the UN in Queens.

In the end, while NYC was chosen as the top US proposal for the 2012 Olympics, London was chosen to host the games this year.

Victory Through Defeat?

While New Yorkers were disappointed to lose to London, many believe that losing the bid was a blessing in disguise. There are even some key opportunities growing directly out of that defeat.

As stated in the Guardian:

Seven years later, when our economy has wobbled but our mayor is somehow still standing, it's clear even to those in thrall to the gods of sport and real estate that losing the Games was a great mercy. The sensible parts of the NYC 2012 bid have been implemented anyway, such as the extension of the 7 subway line, ferry service along the East River, and the re-zoning of a neglected industrial site along the Hudson. The elevated park known as the High Line was slated for demolition before the 2012 bid; it's since become Manhattan's most successful urban redevelopment in decades.

At the same time, New York has dodged the white elephants that, as Athenians and Beijingers know, start crumbling days after the closing ceremony. Manhattan was spared a giant $2bn stadium on the west side, though Brooklyn was not so lucky, and the big facility for badminton and judo lives on only in dreams. New Yorkers are free to buy Pepsi instead of Coke anywhere they please – though soon, if the mayor has his way, only in 16-ounce cups.

Now, as the American press looks pitifully on London for its insufficient transportation system or absurd brand-exclusivity police, I can only look and say: don't laugh, it could have been us. It's not easy to watch London, a city I love tremendously, brought low by the Olympic gentry, the carnivorous corporations, and the timid governments that obey their commands. (If even the Chinese Communist party couldn't stand up to them, what chance did Britain have?) But the one good thing that could result from these desperate Games would be to wake everyone up to the economic, social and urban devastation that these spectacles cause.

And yet, people are starting to talk about New York 2024. You'd think we'd learn.

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