It was Redhead Kingpin and The FBI who proclaimed “We Don’t Have A Plan B”. The same, however, cannot be said of the desperate organizers behind New York City’s 2012 Olympic bid, who might seriously suggest Shea Stadium as a venue. From the New York Times’ Lynn Zinser and Jim Rutenberg.
Leaders of the fractured bid to bring the 2012 Olympics to New York City are re-examining earlier options for a stadium in Queens, three people familiar with the discussions said yesterday.
Two options involve a partnership with the Mets, one to refit Shea Stadium for the Olympic Games and the other to build a new stadium in the Willets Point area nearby, they said.
NYC2012 officials, who have admitted that more delays would cripple their chance of taking a credible Olympic bid to the final International Olympic Committee vote in Singapore on July 6, will work through the weekend on the plan, planning to have it ready for submission to the I.O.C. on Monday, according to a person familiar with the bid committee’s meetings.
Olympic organizers scoffed at a Queens stadium site until the rejection of the West Side stadium proposal Monday. Since then, they have been scrambling to produce a viable alternative that they can take to Singapore, where the I.O.C. members will choose a site for the 2012 Games from among New York, Paris, London, Madrid and Moscow.
Clearly, whatever plan bid organizers emerge with, it cannot be a fully developed stadium plan, particularly if they are trying to join with the Mets. It would take far longer than a few days to design a stadium to meet the Mets’ needs as well as those for the Olympics.
The idea of a temporary structure for the Olympics is one of many possibilities that have been raised this week, said three people with knowledge of the discussions. The structure could occupy a site at Willets Point, a 13-block area between Shea Stadium and the Flushing River filled mostly with auto salvage yards, repair garages and automotive shops. It would then be cleared for a new Mets stadium.
Large-scale temporary structures are rare, but they could be attractive to the I.O.C., which has been trying to keep its host cities from building facilities with limited permanent use.
The idea of refitting Shea Stadium to serve as an Olympic stadium has been explored previously. When required by the United States Olympic Committee to offer a backup plan while it was vying to be the United States’ 2012 bid city, NYC2012 offered a blueprint of Shea Stadium altered to accommodate the Olympic track and field competition, as well as the opening and closing ceremonies.
the decision to consider Queens would seem to contradict Mr. Bloomberg’s longtime insistence that an Olympic stadium in the borough was not an option, because the city was bound to the West Side proposal. He and other city officials regularly emphasized that the I.O.C., after so many years of scandals, was against any changes in the city’s proposed plan. The mayor has also said the committee would not be interested in a stadium set anywhere but amid Manhattan’s glamour.
“You should get on a plane and go to see the places where the Olympics have taken place,” Mr. Bloomberg said in February. “You will realize that Shea Stadium is not of the same order of magnitude or grandeur that the I.O.C. wants for the Olympics. Nor is it of the same order of magnitude or grandeur that the other cities have promised to either build or already have.”
I don’t know where Mr. Mayor gets off poor-mouthing the world class facilities that already exist and are perfectly useable. Not only is venerable Shea the perfect venue for opening/closing ceremonies (perhaps with John Franco carrying the Olympic Torch), but the stadium’s history as the site of the legendary steel cage match between Bruno Sammartino and Larry Zbyszko should make it a sentimental favorite.
Since we’re on the money/time saving tip, how about the following alternatives?
Velodrome – Continental Divide (the alterations would surely be minor)
Boxing – Gleason’s Gym
Gymnastics – Mykel Board’s apartment
There’s more gems where those came from. I’m just waiting for someone to call me.