Under Cover

Condi 2012

Although the West Side stadium is now nothing more than a bad memory, dreams of hosting the 2012 Olympics are still dancing in many a New Yorker’s head. Even Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice found time in her whirlwind schedule to join Mayor Bloomberg in the June 28 send off rally at City Hall Park.

“This is the story of a city refusing to quit,” Rice cheered. “There is no better place than New York to host the Olympics.”

Packed shoulder to shoulder in the sweltering June heat, the crowd cheered and waved white flags emblazoned with the NYC2012 logo.

Past Olympians and Paralympians, athletes from the Special Olympics, gathered onstage to bid the delegation adieu as they head off to Singapore where the winning city will be announced on July 6.

“People say we’re the underdog,” said former Olympic swimmer Summer Sanders. “Well, the best races in the Olympics are when the underdog touches the wall first, and it happens often.”

Like a good underdog, Ben Vereen from Brooklyn belted a cheesy rendition of Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” and when the Olympic theme song blared over loud speakers on a loop, the crowd chanted, “New York! New York!”

Alas, there may be such a thing as too much spirit.

Burying a Wedge issue

It seems even Daniel Libeskind, World Trade Center site plan architect, no longer thinks his “Wedge of Light” plaza will have dramatic lighting effects on sunny Sept. 11 mornings. Libeskind, in a New York Times Op-Ed piece last week, did not repeat his previous claims that “the sun will shine without shadow” on the plaza on Sept. 11 from 8:46 a.m., when the first plane hit, to 10:28 a.m., when the second tower collapsed.

Gov. George Pataki was beaming about the plaza symbolism when he announced Libeskind’s selection in Feb. 2003, but then architect Eli Attia cast a cloud over the Wedge when he showed that a Downtown building he designed, the Millenium Hotel, and others nearby would produce lots of shadows on September mornings. Libeskind gave a hard to understand the explanation that somehow light and not shadows would reflect off the buildings into the plaza. Lower Manhattan Development Corporation officials said he was working on computer models to explain it, but they never came. The possibility of truth in the Wedge’s promise was put even further in doubt when Santiago Calatrava unveiled his highly-praised design for the train center last year.

Libeskind didn’t come completely clean last week, but he did write that the plaza’s “shape was inspired by the configuration of sunlight” on Sept. 11. Thanks for the triangle Dan.

The new boss

In her first move as head of Community Board 1, Julie Menin shook up the board leadership, tossing some old committee chairs aside for newer faces. “I focused on allowing some new voices to be heard, while still maintaining some continuity,” she told board members in a memo this week.

Catherine McVay Hughes will now sit at the head of the prestigious World Trade Center Redevelopment Committee with Michael Connnolly as her co-chair. The Landmarks Committee will flip its leadership, with Roger Byrom, formerly co-chair taking the reigns from Bruce Ehrmann and Ehrmann moving down a rung into Byrom’s old seat. Pat Moore, with John Fratta as co-chair, will chair a new Quality of Life Committee. Joel Kopel will chair a Small Business Task Force and Bill Love will chair an Internal Workings of the Board Task Force with Tim Lannan as his co-chair (An interesting pairing since Love opposed the board’s controversial Code of Conduct proposal and Lannan helped write it). Carole DeSaram will now chair the Tribeca Committee and Linda Belfer will steer the Battery Park City Committee. The other neighborhood committee chairs will keep their posts.

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