Report Shows Why NYC Really ‘Won’ in Failed Bid to Host the 2012 Summer Olympics


Six years ago, New York City made a vigorous attempt to attract the 2012 Summer Olympics, only to see London win the games. But urban affairs professor Mitchell Moss believes that while Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration lost the bidding, the city won out in the long run.

New York’s extensive plan to draw the Olympics proved to be a fine catalyst for development of new housing and commercial space in Queens, Harlem, the South Bronx, and southern Brooklyn, as well as a new recreational and residential corridor on the Brooklyn-Queens waterfront, according to the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Administration’s Moss in a widely-discussed paper ironically titled “How New York City Won the Olympics.”

Arguably the most pronounced success resulting from the New York City Olympic Plan of 2006, he says, is the unfolding development of the Far West Side, including plans for new infrastructure, such as westward extension of the No. 7 subway—suggesting that the city is better off than anyone anticipated without the Olympics.

“Although New York City ultimately lost its Olympic bid,” Moss writes, “comprehensive plans were approved for the targeted areas. In each, a major rezoning was completed, which included planned affordable housing, mass transit enhancements, new parks and amenities, and other new infrastructure. In addition, four of the facilities that were to be part of the Olympics Plan have either been completed or are under construction.”

The report traces the history of New York City’s bid. It describes the selection of the areas included in the Olympic Plan, the venues and infrastructure in the city’s bid, and how the city’s plan satisfied the International Olympic Committee’s and the International Sports Federation’s technical requirements while meeting NYC’s long-term goals. Finally, the paper depicts the way in which the plan has shaped development in major areas of New York City.

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