Volume 74, Number 44 | March 09 - 15, 2005


Save our Olympic bid, Mr. Mayor

After being wined, dined and escorted by Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Dep. Mayor Dan Doctoroff for an intense four days of lobbying a few weeks ago, Nawal el-Moutawakel, the chairperson of the International Olympic Committee’s site evaluation commission, surprise, surprise said she agreed with her chaperones that New York City will not get the Olympics unless the city commits to building an Olympic-size stadium on Manhattan’s West Side before the I.O.C. vote in July.

Would she have said that if Bloomberg had told her: “Look I want the stadium on the West Side, but many people don’t so here are a few alternative sites”? Of course not. If it is true that winning the bid is now dependent on making a commitment to the west Side stadium this spring, the mayor has sold the city short, and he should now work to get us out of this mess.

The major Democratic mayoral candidates and the leaders of the state Assembly and Senate are all in favor of bringing the Games to the city in 2012 but none of them have endorsed the West Side stadium. There are many drawbacks to the stadium and while the pros and cons are being debated, the mayor should reach out to these state and city leaders to deliver a unified message to the I.O.C.: The city wants the Olympics and is committed to making sure there is a great place to host the opening ceremonies in 2012.

New York can be a world-class host for the Olympics without a new stadium shoehorned into Manhattan’s West Side. It may not be necessary to build a new stadium at all. If one is needed, we have seven years to find the right place after the I.O.C. decision. Message to Mayor Bloomberg and Deputy Mayor Doctoroff: Queens is part of New York too, and so are the Mets.

If Bloomberg can’t convince the committee that New York’s strength as an Olympic host will not rise and fall with a West Side stadium, than he may only have himself to blame if the city loses the bid. We hope that he and Doctoroff realize they have put too much into this to let that happen.

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