2002-08-24 / Columnists

On The Beach… With Beverly Baxter

Olympic Games 2012: Everywhere But Here!

Olympic Games 2012: Everywhere But Here!

   While there is lots of change on the horizon for Rockaway's future, much of the landscape around the five boroughs will change as well, as New York prepares to welcome and host the Olympics in 2012. While it's still 10 years away, it is interesting to note just where the events will be held and how much the city is willing to spend to accommodate them. Of even more interest is how the Olympic committee, in its planning, has chosen to leave Rockaway, with the exception of Breezy Point, off the charts as a host site!  The following is a comprehensive list of game activities and planned sites.
  The Brooklyn Sportsplex will bring Olympic volleyball to Coney Island, one of the city's most iconic neighborhoods. The Sportsplex, slated for development in Coney Island by the Brooklyn Sports Foundation, will meet all standards for world-class volleyball. The Brooklyn Sportsplex will make New York City a viable host for the many collegiate, amateur, and professional competitions that now lack an appropriate, efficient venue.

The new Williamsburg Waterfront Park will set Olympic archery and beach volleyball against the dramatic skyline of Manhattan. Easily accessible by subway and ferry, this world-class venue will turn 25 acres of vacant industrial land in Brooklyn into a new park with a stunning waterfront promenade. Beach volleyball will be held on two new competition courts with spectacular views of the skyline and East River.

The new Queensbridge Athletic Center, located just south of the Queensboro Bridge and midtown Manhattan, will host badminton and track cycling. When outfitted for badminton, the arena will house three competition courts and four warm-up courts, with special climate control systems designed to keep moving air away from shuttlecocks. The demountable 250-meter cycling track will give the United States its only indoor velodrome.

Olympic Village will be comprised of 4400 apartments at Queens West, just across the East River from the United Nations. Its housing facilities will place athletes at the geographic center of the Olympic games. Olympic Village will offer modern apartments, stunning skyline views, and easy access to Olympic venues. Housing 16,000 athletes and coaches, the village will be comprised of high-rise buildings, townhouses, and retail -commercial space. Buildings will be grouped around playing fields, open plazas, and a broad waterfront park. Under the plan approved by the Queens West Development Corporation, Queens West will be built as a mixed-use neighborhood. Financed and constructed by private developers selected by the Queens West Development Corp., the Olympic Village would be built on 17 acres of the 73-acre Queens West site, plus 17 adjacent acres. The Village will provide the neighborhood with increased retail space, additional recreational opportunities, and enhanced ferry and rail service. After the games, the Olympic Village's apartments will become the newest component of the Queens West area; thus revitalizing the East River waterfront.

Flushing Meadows Whitewater Center will be transformed to host whitewater canoeing. A 400-meter course with a C-shaped artificial waterway will wind its way down from the top of a dramatic berm, which will provide a 20-foot drop from start to finish. A system of moveable objects will allow the course to be fine-tuned for Olympic competition. Three boathouses will house a kayaking center that will rent boats and offer instruction for the general public after the games are completed. Also at Flushing Meadows will be a Regatta Center, which will host rowing, and flat water canoeing.

Breezy Point will be the site of a new marina for the Olympic sailing competition. It is anticipated that hundreds of thousands will pack Coney Island's beaches and boardwalks for this event. Boasting the strongest and most consistent winds, the site is ideal for competitive racing. Breezy Point Marina will serve as the launch site. A sweeping, crescent-shaped boardwalk, built on piers to preserve the natural shoreline, will link the new marina's buildings, storage yard, and boat slips. The marina will be located in the Gateway National Recreation Area and will promote water sports and maritime activities.

The Olympic games in New York will certainly be exciting; however, one can only wonder where, oh where, was Audrey, Anthony, Liz, Jonathan, and Joe?? Why did they not lobby the Olympic Planning Committee for any of the events to be held here?? After all, our Assemblywoman chairs the Tourism Committee, our Councilman chairs the Parks Committee, Jonathan is the District Manager of the Community Planning Board, our Congressman has been touting the idea of a community pool at Riis Park, and Liz is the Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce. With two hundred thousand dollars being spent on studies for the feasibility of a pool, with a newly erected multimillion dollar bathhouse at Riis park, and nearly two hundred acres left in the Arverne Urban Renewal area, and miles and miles of bay front that would be so conducive to a pier, boat slips, and a marina; not to mention the wonderful equestrian trails at both Fort Tilden and the Jamaica Bay Recreation Area, I am absolutely astonished that we were once again left out of this unique opportunity that perhaps could have been a godsend for Rockaway! With the billions of dollars already being allocated to create sandy beaches in Williamsburg, we have all the sand they could possibly need! Rockaway naturally lends itself as the perfect host for the site of all the Olympic games! And we certainly should be the beneficiaries of the permanent recreation facilities, hotels, and structures that will remain long after the games are gone.

See you...On the Beach!

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