With all the growing media and all of the eyes set on Rio, the Olympics have been all the talk for the past week and a half. With the games drawing to a close on Sunday, it is not surprise that they have been unforgettable. Filled with doubt since they were announced hosts back in 2016, they have turned down the media’s critics and displayed spectacular games, but for those watching back at home here in our city, it is hard to imagine a games in the Big Apple. Well to refresh your memory, the games and the eyes of the world almost did come to New York City. Over 15 years ago, New York City lost it’s Olympic bid to host the Summer games in 2012 to London.
In 2005, the IOC had it’s meeting to announce and discuss who would host the 2012 Olympic games in Singapore. The 117th session included bids from Russia (Moscow), Spain (Madrid), France (Paris), England (London), and United States (New York City). Preparations for New York City to host an Olympics dated back to 1994 when it became a thought that the Big Apple could host the games.
Investment banker, Daniel Doctoroff, attended a soccer match at the 1994 world cup and was fascinated by the energy and vibe of the American people that he decided to go ahead with an idea to host the Olympic games in New York City. His original intent was to have the games come to Manhattan in 2008 but then shifted to 2012. His research, idea, and campaign got the attention of former, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. A team was developed in order to pursue the campaign and NYC2012 was in full swing.
Plans were designed, and proposals were made to have the games be in all five boroughs of the city. Major construction plans were to take place in Manhattan, Long Island City Queens, and Brooklyn. The Olympic venues were scattered all throughout New York City, and New Jersey. With venues being in Manhattan, Jersey City, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and the Bronx. The opening ceremony would take place in what would be an ‘Olympic Stadium’ in Queens.
On July 6th 2005, New York City lost it’s bid, and the summer games were awarded to London, and although the games were a tremendous success in London, it left an impact in New York City for years to come.
What would have been the ‘Olympic Village’ is now a residential community for middle income housing New Yorker’s. A plan that still went ahead even with the loss of the bid. What would have been the ‘Olympic Stadium’ in Queens, was still made into a stadium. To this day it is known as Citi Field. Since the original Olympic stadium idea in the West Village was rejected, it was moved to Queens instead, where the old Mets stadium once stood. Lastly, what was supposed to be an aquatic center and waterfront park for beach volleyball, is now the booming gentrified Williamsburg.
So even though the games never came to New York City, and not to say they never will, who knows, there still is hope for a potential bid in the not so distant future, it left an impact to New Yorker’s for years to come and a successful campaign to bring in even more tourism to our great city.
Featured Image via Wikimedia