NEW YORK — First thing Monday morning, more than 200 high-profile New Yorkers bobbed around a Marriott Marquis conference room like carousel horses vying for a brass ring. But they also want the red, blue, green, black and yellow Olympic ones, too.
In honor of the U.S. Olympic Committee task force’s final site visit here, some of the city’s big names turned up to tout the city’s bid to host the 2012 Summer Olympics. Even Daniel Doctoroff, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding, who hosted the event with Jay Kriegel, executive director of NYC2012, was impressed by the home team’s 8 a.m. turnout three days shy of the Fourth of July.
New York aims to beat out Houston, San Francisco and Washington for hosting duties.
Like many in the crowd, Rep. Charles Rangel emphasized the city’s international draw.
“Some people have said, especially in Washington, D.C., that New Yorkers have a little more self esteem than you need to negotiate,” he said. “The truth is you will see people from all walks of life with so many different colors and complexions willing to say this is where they want to be.”
Fern Mallis, 7th on Sixth executive director and IMG vice president, summed it up another way: “What other city in the world has restaurants where people speak the languages of any Olympic team?”
A proponent of NYC2012 for at least four years, Mallis recalled how Henry Grethel suited up the U.S. delegation for the opening ceremonies at the 1992 Winter and Summer Games and noted the potential for 2012. “It would be so good for business, for the energy and fashion. Last time [in Salt Lake City], the American team wore Roots, a Canadian company.”
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, NBA Commissioner David Stern, sportswriter Bud Greenspan, former figureskater Jo Jo Starbuck, the Whitney Museum’s director Max Anderson, the New York City Planning Commission’s Amanda Burden, Everlast president George Horowitz and Modell’s president Mitchell Modell were also in the crowd.
The NBA’s Stern said he hasn’t yet talked to Reebok or any of the league’s other marketing sponsors about lobbying for New York, but he does expect the city’s proposal to be taken “very seriously,” free from any sympathy votes stemming from Sept. 11. Chelsea Piers founder and director of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., Roland Betts, who also serves on the USOC’s board of directors, was likeminded. He said he hasn’t discussed the marketing potential with Fila, Nautica or any of the other corporate sponsors at Chelsea Piers. “I have to be totally objective. I think it’s obvious that sporting companies would be very interested in any U.S. host city and doubly interested in New York.””