Metropolitan Desk; Section B
Plan to Put Olympics In New York Draws Fire
Site for 2012 Games Outlined by Backers, Including City Hall
By NEIL MacFARQUHAR

09/12/2000
The New York Times
Page 1, Column 2
c. 2000 New York Times Company

An article on Tuesday about plans to lure the Olympic Games to New York City in 2012 referred incorrectly to the schedule for the Games that year. They will be held from July 27 to Aug. 12, not in September.

CORRECTED BY THE NEW YORK TIMES THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 14, 2000

Call them delirious, but if organizers of the effort to bring the Olympics here get their way, 12 years from now New Yorkers might pass the month of September traipsing to beach volleyball along the East River, taking in dressage on Staten Island or cheering triathletes swimming a mile around the Central Park Reservoir. That's right, the Reservoir.

NYC 2012, as the committee hoping to entice the Olympics is called, unveils its proposed venues for the Games today, presenting a list of almost 30 sites reaching from New Jersey to Long Island and running through all five boroughs.

Slalom canoeing through white water? In Queens. The pentathlon? In the Bronx. Fencing, table tennis and weight lifting? Try the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan.

While existing facilities could be used to stage most of the Games, the proposal details major new construction. The two largest projects would be an Olympic Stadium rising above the Long Island Rail Road yards on the West Side of Manhattan and a village for athletes along the East River in Queens.

Other proposals include building things like a bicycling velodrome in Queens, a small new sports arena along the Brooklyn waterfront and an Olympic-size pool for water polo in the Bronx.

''One of the real benefits of hosting the Olympics is the enormous legacy of athletic facilities,'' said Daniel L. Doctoroff, 42, an investment banker who dreamed up the idea and is now president of NYC 2012.

With the world anticipating the opening of the 2000 Games in Sydney this Friday, the 2012 Games might seem a lifetime away. But the eight American cities seeking the games that year have to present their initial, huge proposals -- New York's should run some 600 pages -- to the United States Olympic Committee in December. The proposal has to include plans for everything from construction financing to how horses for the equestrian events will enter the country.

Opponents, just getting their first look at the plans, are already grumbling about the project's scale. But the idea is being embraced by sports fans, various professional teams, investment banks, media companies and real estate developers. The biggest cheerleaders, however, are undoubtedly in City Hall.

''I can't think of a better place for the Olympics,'' said Deputy Mayor Anthony P. Coles. ''It seems like a natural fit. It would be very valuable to New York because the Olympics could serve as a catalyst for development for large areas of the city.''

Although only sketchy information about the proposals has been available to date, the war drums have started beating among various other politicians, community boards and neighborhood groups sensing they should fight the effort.

They are calling it the biggest land grab since Robert Moses reshaped the city. They say it would allow private real estate developers to gorge at the public trough. They argue that New York can barely handle the visitors it already gets and that the added construction would just push the city to a lower level of hell.

Claire Shulman, the Queens borough president, puts her position succinctly: ''Over my dead body.''

She opposes the idea that as-yet unspecified private developers will build the Olympic Village housing 15,000 athletes and coaches at Queens West, a 73-acre stretch across the East River from the United Nations. The 4,400 units would then be sold or rented on the local market.

''There is no way that is going to happen,'' she said. ''Sure it would be nice to have the Olympics, but they are not going to take the best housing site in the city of New York to build dormitories.''

The borough president noted that the Games are too far in the future to tie up that land while the city faces a chronic housing shortage, and said that the organizers would have to think again if they believed they could override plans already in the works to construct residential buildings and housing for the elderly at the site. She also objected to their idea of reconfiguring the separate lakes in Flushing Meadows Park, the site of the 1964 World's Fair, to hold the rowing and canoeing events.

''They come in here with their arrogance and think they are just going to move things around,'' she said. ''What do they think we are, peasants?''

The central organizing principle behind the plan is that all Olympic events be held along a rough X, with one leg running from the New Jersey Meadowlands (basketball and soccer) to the Nassau Coliseum (handball) and the other leg from Staten Island (bicycling and equestrian) to the Bronx (baseball, shooting and water polo).

Given that the biggest headache would probably be moving athletes and spectators through the sclerotic arteries known as New York's roadways, the X was conceived with the water and railroad tracks in mind.

''Using fast ferries and dedicated trains, the athletes would virtually never have to go on a New York City road to get to one of their events,'' Mr. Doctoroff said.

Aside from the stadium and the athletes' housing, other new facilities include a pool for water polo at Orchard Beach in the Bronx, a waterfront velodrome on the East River in Queens, a new park north of the Williamsburg Bridge for archery and a new marina at Gateway National Recreation Area in Queens. (The full list of sites should be available at www.nyc2012.com this afternoon.)

The United States Olympic Committee will decide which city to nominate by 2002, and then the International Olympic Committee will take three years to name its choice from around the globe. The other cities competing are Dallas, Houston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Cincinnati, Tampa and the Washington-Baltimore area.

In Manhattan, the biggest construction project would be the stadium. No stadium in the metropolitan area is large enough to hold the track and field events, Mr. Doctoroff said.

Mayor Giuliani has promoted a West Side stadium previously either as a new home for the Yankees or for professional football. The owners of the Yankees are represented on the advisory board for the Olympics, and the owner of the Jets football team, Robert Wood Johnson IV, has said he plans to leave Giants Stadium when the team's lease expires in 2008.

Some residents of Hell's Kitchen and Chelsea suspect the whole Olympics plan might just be a Trojan horse for a stadium that the public would otherwise reject.

''A stadium is usually built to help revitalize that part of a city,'' said Ross Graham, chairwoman of the South Hell's Kitchen planning committee. ''There isn't anywhere in Manhattan that needs revitalization; it's all booming.''

Mr. Doctoroff disagrees. ''It would be unfair to say the entire Olympic effort is just a ruse for the stadium,'' he said.

City Hall also rejects such criticism. ''People didn't want Lincoln Center either and look at the change that has made to the west side of Manhattan,'' Mr. Coles said.

Both noted that the Olympics would be an economic bonanza for the city. It would generate an estimated $10 billion, according to NYC 2012.

But the community board that covers the West Side fired the first shot against the Olympics on Sept. 7 with a letter to various state and local politicians objecting to any stadium. But the letter did not single out the Olympics directly.

''We want to be careful because the Olympics are mom and apple pie and no one wants to attack the athletes,'' said John Fisher, a community advocate. ''But the whole issue of the Olympics is somewhat a lot of blue smoke obfuscating what is really going on. It is not about the Olympics; it is about opening up the entire section between 30th and 42nd to make it a new Midtown.''

Residents say any stadium would further snarl traffic and open the way for unbridled development of commercial skyscrapers. Instead, they want more of a residential feel.

They also suspect that public money will be spent on things that largely benefit the developers, like an extension of the No. 7 subway line from Times Square to the new stadium.

Although the NYC 2012 plan does say that the infrastructure and other improvements could stimulate the development of ''Midtown West,'' developers deny assertions that that is their primary motivation for supporting the effort.

Andrew Tisch, the president of Loews Corporation, which builds hotels in the city, said his company was a major donor because the Olympics would, among other things, provide new recreational facilities and revitalize the East River waterfront.

''Our donation to NYC 2012 has no relationship to potential hotels,'' he said in a written statement.

NYC 2012 has raised $5.6 million for the organizing effort thus far from about 20 major corporations who were asked to pledge $150,000 to $500,000 over a three-year period. Donors include large investment banks like Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers; Continental Airlines, Time Warner and the city's three major daily newspapers, including The New York Times Company.

Mr. Doctoroff said that money for constructing new sports facilities would all be raised privately, most of it through the sale of television rights that would generate some $1.1 billion for the city. The total amount raised from things like ticket sales and licensing should reach $3.2 billion. With the Games costing $1.9 billion to run, that leaves $1.3 billion to spend on building venues.

But opponents complain that there is no way such a giant undertaking could be done without tying up public money. As one example, they point to the extension of the 7 line, which would cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Mr. Coles argues that ways could be found to finance the subway extension line through taxes.

One factor in all of this, of course, is who is running the city. Mr. Giuliani will be done as mayor at the end of next year, and there is no guarantee that his successor will love the idea. Ms. Shulman's term also expires then.

But Mr. Doctoroff is sure that New York will prevail. ''If I didn't believe we are going to win, I wouldn't be wasting my time,'' he said.

Olympic Building

The organizers of New York City's Olympics bid hope to use many existing stadiums and buildings for the 2012 Summer Olympics. But the organizers say that some new structures would have to be built:

* The Olympic Stadium would be built over the Long Island Rail Road train yard in Manhattan, south of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

* Queens West, the Olympics village, would be built along the East River waterfront between Newtown Creek and 45th Road and consist of 4,400 housing units in town houses and apartment buildings. After the games, the units could be converted to conventional housing.

* A swimming pool would be built at Orchard Beach in the Bronx for the modern pentathlon and water polo.

* An arena for track cycling and badminton would be built on what is now private property south of the Queensboro Bridge, along the East River in Queens.

* Competitions for archery and beach volleyball would take place in a new waterfront park just north of the Williamsburg Bridge, on what is now private property in Brooklyn.

* A structure for indoor volleyball would be built on what is now private property along the waterfront in Brooklyn, east of the Manhattan Bridge.

* Sailing events would be held at a marina to be constructed in Breezy Point, Queens.



Photos: The logo for NYC 2012, the New York organizing committee. Chart: ''Let the Games Begin'' The organizers looking to bring the 2012 Summer Olympics to New York City hope to place most of the events along ferry and rail routes that would cross at an Olympic Village housing the athletes in Queens. Map shows New York and New Jersey highlighting proposed sites of Olympic sporting events. (pg. B1)



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