almost three months to fill
With the 2012 Olympics starting in London I was intrigued to see for myself what had happenened at Hunters Point in Long Island City, Queens. If New York’s bid for the 2012 games had been successful this area would now be the site of the athlete’s village and the geographic centre of the games. You can see what was planned here:
Much has been made over the years of the potential regeneration benefits that flow from hosting the Olympics. The bids by London and New York City for the 2012 games were no different. Those who wish the Olympics were not being held in London have however argued that constructing an Olympic park is a very expensive way to go about regenerating part of London – New York, they say, has gone ahead with its regeneration projects regardless (see, for example).
In fact, not all the regeneration proposals outlined in New York’s 2012 bid have happened. Flushing Meadow Corona Park hasn’t benefitted very much and the Frank Gehry plans for Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn aren’t happening quite as shown in the bid video. Nevertheless those behind the New York bid argue that many of the projects now happening in New York would not have happened without the impetous of the bid (see here).
Around Hunters Point, there has been a lot of development, but much of this had started before the Olympic bid. Citilights apartment building and Gantry State Park date from 1998, Trotwood Corporation Building (apartments) from 2001.
Close to the location of the athlete’s village, work appears to be ongoing…
…but the promised housing is yet to have been fully realised.
Behind the riverfront developments in nearby Vernon Boulevard life goes on; I had a pleasant lunch in Communitea, which despite the name was refreshingly unpretentious and friendly.
I like this area, and Long Island City more generally. With it’s branch of MOMA and growing collection of artists’ studios (always popular with developers) the area already provides an attractive hinterland for any river front development; with that and the spectacular views across to Manhattan I expect the whole of Hunters Point would have been developed eventually with or without the Olympic bid.