A Queens Ransom

The Mets are in and the Jets are out, but where do the taxpayers fit in?

Whether all this will do anything to rescue the 2012 Olympic bid is anyone's guess. Hatch, for his part, thinks that it's likely too late for 2012, but that a Queens stadium would make an excellent starting point for a 2016 bid. "From a land-use perspective, you have three stadiums there now: Shea, Louis Armstrong, and Arthur Ashe," he says. "It's got parking, it's got transit—in New York, we're lucky to have that kind of place that can easily accommodate a stadium without much disruption." The IOC, he says, would go for a Flushing Games "in a heartbeat."

Other Olympic experts are less certain. Rob Livingstone of gamesbids.com says a Manhattan stadium was key to providing a center for the city's "Olympic X" plan that would have scattered venues from the north Bronx to Staten Island: "You look at what Paris and the other bids have to offer, they're pretty compact—and compact is a big buzzword with the IOC." Ed Hula, editor of the Around the Rings Olympic newsletter, disagrees, noting that New York's rivals have each submitted bids with stadiums on the outskirts of town: The Stade de France sits outside Paris city limits in the neighboring town of Saint-Denis, while London and Madrid have proposed new stadiums relatively far from their city centers.

Regardless of whether they ultimately land in New York, the Olympics have proven once again to serve as an excellent "steamroller," as Anita Beaty of the Atlanta Taskforce for the Homeless dubbed them, to clear the way for massive redevelopment projects. In all likelihood, on July 6 the IOC will announce either Paris or London as the winner, and NYC2012 will need to decide whether to try again four years later with a new numerical suffix. Wilpon and George Steinbrenner, meanwhile, will have in hand agreements with Bloomberg to build the dream homes they've lusted after for years.

Parking lot of dreams: Shea Stadium
photo: Cary Conover
Parking lot of dreams: Shea Stadium

Details

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    Of course, that and two bucks will get you a ride on the No. 7 train. Just ask Woody Johnson.

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