IOC Tours Flushing Meadows
Borough President Helen Marshall (second from r.) and Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff (third from r.) speaking to tennis legend Billy Jean King, accompanied members of the International Olympics Committee (IOC) evaluation commission as they toured prospective venues for various games in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park on February 22. The IOC commission arrived in New York on Sunday night, February 20, to spend four days considering the city as a possible site for the 2012 summer Olympics.
After touring the park, the IOC commission members boarded trolley-style shuttle buses for a drive to the Queens Museum of Art, also in the park, where they stood on glass-bottomed walkways in the museum to gaze at the Panorama model of the city built for the 1964 World's Fair.
Among the city's strongest selling points in the effort to land the 2012 Games is its ethnic diversity. Queens is the most diverse county in the United States, and Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, to be renamed Olympic Park, hosts an entire United Nations of park users in the summer. To the park’s east lies Flushing, with one of the largest Chinese and Korean communities in the United States running along Main Street. Roosevelt Avenue, to the park’s west, traverses Mexican neighborhoods in Corona and Jackson Heights’ Indian, Ecuadorian and Colombian communities..
During its four-day visit, the evaluation commission saw 28 venues in all five boroughs that were part of the New York City plan for the 2012 games, and heard briefings on all 17 themes in the city’s bid book, leading to a packed schedule. Most of the commission’s time was spent in a banquet meeting hall in Manhattan’s Plaza Hotel viewing presentations, studies and proposals, and hearing speeches. Some of the news media accompanying the commission toured a $6,500-a-month duplex with views of the city and the proposed athletes' village site on the East River across from Midtown at the Avalon, a luxury high-rise building bordering the site where the proposed Olympic Village would be built. The press contingent then went to the Waterfront Crab House in Long Island City, to hear Bill Bradley, the former United States Senator and Knicks star, say that New York and the Olympics were a perfect match.