2012: The Olympic Odyssey
The U.S. Olympic
Committee (USOC), which decides which U.S. city will host the 2012 summer Olympics, is
eyeing New York as a possible site for the ultimate sports event. A 10-member Site
Evaluation Team from the committee touched down in Queens while on a three-day tour this
week, to discuss what the borough has to offer for the global sports extravaganza.
Tuesday, July 25, the USOC symbolically kicked off its tour at the Queens Museum of Art in
Flushing Meadow Corona Park, home to the first United Nations General Assembly meeting in
1946. The park also hosted two Worlds Fair in 1939 and 1964.
Doctoroff, president of NYC 2012 and Mayor Rudy Giuliani visited Queens this week to talk
about the boroughs role in the proposed Olympics of 2012.
Photo By Dee Richard
committee, along with city officials, watched a presentation at the museum given by NYC
2012, the official bid committee, showing a transformed New York that would city
accommodate every event from archery to judo. The tour gives the USOC an opportunity to
see 36 of 40 venues in the city for the sporting events.
overriding theme of our bid is New York as the worlds second home, said Daniel
Doctoroff president of the NYC 2012. Today, children from no fewer than 188 of the
199 nations represented in the 2000 Olympic games attend New York City schools. Athletes
from virtually every country in the world would find their own local cheering sections at
a New York Olympic Games something that can only happen here.
Giuliani joined the committee in the park and showed his support for the future. NYC 2012
plan backs the mayors hopes of erecting a stadium on the West side in Manhattan,
getting the Jets back from New Jersey. The mayor also hosted luncheon for USOC and NYC1012
the next day at Gracie Mansion.
be wonderful for the city. New York City is the capital of the world, said Giuliani.
Boost For the City
2012 has been making presentations throughout the city getting their message across to
Olympics would bring in a lot of revenue to the city, said Chris Glaisek of NYC 2012 at a Community Board 1 meeting back in
explained that with selling rights, sponsorship, and sales, the Olympics is estimated to
pull in $3.3 billion in revenue. A surplus of $1.3 billion would be used to renovate
existing parks, and the sports infrastructure for the ailing public schools of the City.
the numerous proposals slated for the Olympics, is a $45 million makeover for Astoria Pool
for swimming, diving, and synchronized swimming.
would be built and placed closer to the East River. Under the plan, the now derelict
diving boards would be returned to the pool and there would be new locker rooms added and
seating for 15,000 people.
Power Plant to Badminton Court
addition, an indoor multi-sports center would be built at the Terra Cotta side, just south
of the Queensboro Bridge. The center would feature a running track along with a badminton
Though New York
Power Authoritys (NYPA) new 79.9-megawatt plant stands in the way at this site, NYPA
contends that it should be leaving the site in 2004, when bigger power plants come online.
Future of Flushing Meadows
the plan, tennis would take place at the current USTA Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows
illustrate what Flushing Meadows-Corona Park looks like now (top) and how it could look if
New York City hosts the Olympics in 2012 (bottom).
Courtesy of NYC 2012
the white water canoeing events, a man-made c-shaped course would be where the Fountain of
the Planets in the park now sits.
It would be
2,000 feet in length with a 20-foot drop and contain different obstacles including varying
speeds of water. NYC 2012 also plans to make four new soccer fields adjacent to canoeing
for the community should New York be selected as the Olympic venue.
2000-meter flat water-rowing event, NYC 2012 proposes making a grand Regatta Center in the
park by joining both manmade Willow and Meadow Lakes in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.
The Jewel Avenue
overpass will be replaced by a bridge which will serve as an overpass. Six new boathouses
would spring up by the former site of the Aquacade.
Away in the Rockaways
to NYC 2012, some of the best sailing conditions exist off the Rockaway peninsula and
Gateway National Park in Jamaica Bay. The sailing events would take place off those areas,
with people watching for free off the docks.
Olympic Village in Western Queens
major change in Queens would be the transformation of Hunters Point along the
waterfront into an Olympic Village to house the athletes.
Eight to 10
residential towers would sprout up, providing 4,400 apartments for 16,000 athletes,
coaches and officials. Plans call for high-rise apartment buildings, townhouses, and
retail and commercial space.
Under the plan,
the location of the new Olympic Village is centrally located between all the games. The
esplanade alongside would be transformed into a running track, and a practice soccer field
would be added.
Walter McCaffrey, whose district includes the area, said, It would be a major
contribution to the waterfront.
NYC 2012 claims
that its Olympic Village is consistent with the Queens West project to build mixed-use
X The Only Way to Travel
big question in all this is how would New York deal with mass transit for the three-weeks
of Olympic glory?
That is where
project Olympic X comes into play, according to NYC 2012. The X stands for travel routes
marked along the East River and from Long Island to New Jersey. Olympians, their trainers,
and the media would get to their sporting events by special ferries that cruise along the
East River from the Olympic Village. In addition, special trains would run on the Long
Island Rail Road and New Jersey Transit, to go from Flushing Meadows to the Meadowlands.
Access to a new stadium on the West Side of Manhattan would involve an extention to the #
7 subway line.
and Glory on a Bus Ride in Queens
2012 board member Wellington Chen, of Little Neck, went along for the bus tour that gave
the USOC a chance to look at the city and its legacy.
better place to showcase the Olympics than a real global village, said Chen. He
pointed out that Queens was the most diverse county in the country a place where you can
see Indians, Pakistanis, Jews and Arabs shopping in the same store.
Chen is a true
New Yorker, who can name dozens of celebrities, from Louis Armstrong to Tony Bennett, that
claimed Queens as their home. He goes by Sinatras mantra, If you can make it
here, you can make it anywhere, which he explained goes hand in glove for New York
according to him would give a fresh coat of paint to Queens and the rest of the city by
upgrading the park facilities, transportation, and a huge morale boost.
the city stands to reap benefits years after the Olympics there are others who dont
look forward to having their parks taken over.
another long history of proposals for this park [Flushing Meadow-Corona Park] for private
commercial use, said Pat Dolan, vice president of the Queens Civic Congress.
These are huge open spaces in an urban environment where millions of people depend
on the parks for relaxation. They dont have backyards, they use parks.
Queens Civic Congress is not opposed to a New York Olympics, it is opposed to the water
events that would close the parks for construction. The joining of Willow and Meadow Lakes
could possibly hurt its ecosystem. Willow Lake, a New York Class One protected wetland, is
supplied by a spring and is bordered by marshes inhabited by small mammals and wild
Yet NYC 2012
contends that the lakes water quality will improve with the projects. The lakes will be
dredged to remove heavy metal sediment.
of the Queens Civic Congress is the building of a bridge that would disrupt the current
traffic on Jewel Avenue, which traverses the park.
ever been on Jewel Avenue at 8 oclock in the morning?, asked Dolan, who
explained that car traffic can reaches as far down as Kissena Boulevard. Jewel
Avenue is the only east-west connector besides Union Turnpike and the LIE.
others are as enthusiastic as the people of Beijing, China, which is has recently become
the 2008 host city.
be good for the economy. It would also upgrade Astoria pool back to its Olympic
history, Vinicio Donato, chairman to Community Board 1. He pointed out that the
Astoria Pool is where two Olympic trials 1936 and 1964 took place. But since
then, the diving boards stopped being functional only waiting for the 2012 upgrade.
who co-chairs the Land Use Committee for Community Board 7 for the Flushing area,
remembers the excitement of being at the Super Bowl and looks forward to the Olympics.
has an excellent chance, said Apelian. He said that the Olympics would do for Queens
what the Tennis Center has done for the area. You mention Flushing, New York and
everyone across the world knows about it.
New York must
compete with eight other cities in the country, including Los Angeles, for the 2012 US
spot. The USOC will narrow down the decision to three cities by October, and then by the
fall of 2002, the USCOC will pick a city.
For Queens Kids:
Debating A Future
Home For Childrens Psychiatric Services
By ARLENE LEWIS
debate is underway in Albany over the 84 children between the ages of 7 and 18 who live
and learn to cope with life in a low-lying, Bellerose building just a short walk from the
Creedmoor mental health facility.
Pataki believes that those children, and the 160 others who visit for day treatment,
should be treated under expert care at the Creedmoor site. But Senator Frank Padavan is
standing firm that Creedmoor is no place to send a child.
proposal to relocate the existing separate childrens center into the facilitys
main building, which houses an adult population, came about when Pataki included the item
in his January budget.
A debate is
ongoing in Albany over where the children who are patients
at this mental health facility
will receive treatment.
Photo By Ira Cohen
in March, the Senate and Assembly in separate budget proposals rejected the
plan claiming relocation was not in the best interest of the children due to the threat of
co-mingling and undesirability as a treatment alternative.
Office of Mental Health (OMH) spokesman Roger Klingman disagrees with the
legislators evaluation. According to Klingman, the proposal will
co-locate QCPC in Creedmoors main building, but it will remain a
separate entity, with the same staff and treatment availability.
The proposed new
childrens facility will co-exist with the adult population, and will be housed in a
new addition to building #40 on the grounds of Creedmoor.
It will include a separate entrance for children and visitors, a separate
outdoor space, clinical offices, and a school. Appropriate
steps will be taken to insure the safety of the children and the prohibition of
co-mingling will be strictly enforced.
had other childrens units at psychiatric centers for years, Klingman
continued. There have been no incidents
of inappropriate contactnot one. We
have experience in doing this.
Against Creedmoor For Kids
minute I heard about the State Office of Mental Healths proposal to move the
children from QCPC into the Creedmoor facility, I knew it was a bad idea, Padavan
said. QCPC is a welcoming campus
setting, with ball fields and playgrounds. Creedmoor
is a secure facility...with barbed wire and chain link fences and a high rise
The proposal to
relocate the Queens Childrens Center was included in Gov. Patakis January
Photo By Ira Cohen
Senator has announced the formation of the Childrens Mental Health Partnership, an
alliance of organizations and individuals dedicated to promoting the delivery of quality
mental health services to children and adolescents at QCPC in Bellerose.
I have worked to defeat this proposal and was successful in convincing my Senate
Majority colleagues to reject it as part of our budget resolution.
that sending children there wont be traumatic for them, is abolutely
ludicrous, added Padavan. These
kids are already dealing with fear, difficult emotions, and stereotypes.
countered by explaining that the change was proposed because the role of treatment centers
has changed. He said that 30 years ago children were kept in hospitals for 180 days or
more, but in recent years the stay is 180 days or less. Smaller numbers of children are
treated for shorter periods of time.
Governor and the OMH believe the emphasis is now on community and home based
treatment, he maintained. We are
not going to emphasize in-patient treatment unless it is absolutely necesssary.
addition, we now have a 30-year old center in need of expensive renovation, he
added. High capital expeditures are needed in order to keep it accredited.
He concluded the
reported savings for the project, expected to be completed between 2003 and 2004, will be
$1.7 million in operating expenses and $11.8 mllion in capital expenses.
Senator maintained that there is no clinical justification for this proposal, but charged
that it is based entirely on budgetary concerns.
leading clinicians and experts believe that keeping separate facilities for children and
adults is essential, and that should be our first priority.
I hope my colleagues will remain opposed to the closure and relocation proposal of
QCPC, especially as we are expecting to do a contingency budget in the near future. Its now a waiting game.
President Claire Shulman supports Padavan and said, Hes right on target.
psychiatric treatment of children in Queens took place in the childrens unit of
Creedmore until 1969, when the QCPC was created and opened in the building where it is
services children from 7 to 18 years of age. There are approximately 84 residential
patients and approximately 160 children and families receiving day care treatment.
day care patients is provided through the city Board of Education and operates on their
school calendar. Theapeutic services are provided by Creedmoors clinical staff.
residential patients is provided by New York State. Teachers
are hired by QCPC education director, and must meet NYS Department of Education standards.
programs for in-patients are strictly coordinated with individual treatment plans, and may
include psychomotor skill therapy, art, music, dance, and physical education.