Some tiny creature, mad with wrath,

Is coming nearer on the path.

--Edward Gorey

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S. Outlying Islands

Writer, lawyer, cyclist, rock climber, wanderer of dark residential streets, friend.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

NYC's Bid for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games

If this article is correct, New York City Mayor Bloomberg has done a great deal to sway the IOC back to cautious interest in New York's bid. I find most astute and persuasive Bloomberg's observation about how in more culturally homogenous places like Greece, the fans cheer for the Greeks and no one else (based on his first-hand experience in the crowd in Athens this past summer), but in New York there will be a ready-made cheering section for virtually every competitor.

I suppose to contextualize this post I ought to reveal a bit more about myself, to wit, that I grew up twelve straight-line miles from mid-town Manhattan, and that my love for Pittsburgh is that of a transplant who still feels a certain allegiance to the monolithic city of his youth. I [heart] New York and that's part of why I don't live there: I wouldn't want myself to become jaded by daily immersion. I prefer the easy thrill I enjoy upon returning, which is two parts the familiarity of a New Yorker and one part the glee unmitigated by overfamiliarity of visiting the center of such energy.

I long have supported New York City's IOC bid. The city is undergoing an architectural revival, which began long before 9-11. That catastrophic day, however, also made the city a friendlier, more open place. The renaissance continues apace, spurred by the terrorist attacks, but not carried exclusively on emotions responsive to that. To secure the Olympic Games would hasten things forward for the betterment of the city of my youth.

I'm aware of the economic arguments against, particular those centered around the $1.4B stadium that would have to be built on the West Side of Manhattan, which would eventually become home to the Jets (who have pledged more than half of the cost of construction). There are, perhaps, appealing alternative ways to spend the sort of money an Olympic bid requires. But a city's health must be measured qualitatively as well as quantitatively: even a net fiscal loss (which, in New York, probably would not happen) might still be more than offset by a rising profile, a populace united and thriving, and all the new infrastructure the Games would require, from which New York City certainly could benefit.

I also think the United States needs to win this bid because -- fingers crossed -- at best, 2012 will be when this country is trying to repair the damage to our diplomatic and geopolitical profile wrought by the current administration, and it's in these intangible ways that the Olympics succeed in so many ways: a welcoming, professional, secure Olympic games could do wonders for the world's nations' perceptions of our country. And we need that as much as anything else.

No disrespect intended to Paris, Madrid, and Moscow. But to the IOC if you're listening: Give the 2012 Summer Games to New York.



Blogger matt said...

Hey, if you want a permalink for nytimes articls that won't require registration you can whomp one up here:

2:52 PM  

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