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Everything posted by aquaman617

  1. My god, such drama. LOL Yes, I said I didn't think retrofitting a stadium for soccer was a big deal. The conversation has shown me that I was being, perhaps, a bit glib. Rather than "not a big deal" I probably should have said not impossible. Expensive, definitely, especially if the goal is to keep the athletics oval with moveable seats like Stade de France. I'm not a stadium designer - far from it - but I could see a less expensive path being to make a large infield with a track oval and a front row set-back such that the first row seats are perhaps 10 or so feet above the playing field. Once a Games is over and the track is no longer needed, you could in-fill the lower level of the stadium, just guessing here, 50 feet (?) on all sides giving you a gradual slope for the inner-most 12 rows of seats for a soccer layout. I'm sure someone with more knowledge about how these things work will call me naive, and perhaps I am. But what I describe above was what I was thinking when I said "no big deal". The main stadium was always going to be a major challenge for a Boston bid. No question.
  2. Modern stadia can be designed to be very flexible. With the exception of Centennial Park/Turner Field, each main Olympic stadium has hosted soccer/football after the Olympics. Sure, Opening/Closing ceremonies require a huge field, but once the athletic competitions are over and a Games closes, a host stadium can always reconfigure sets for its next use. Not a big deal.
  3. My understanding is that theBeacon Yard site extends to the far side of Cambridge Street as well. The plan to re-do this transportation hub is independent of an Olympic bid and entails moving the rail yard and straightening the Mass Pike (I-90) and eliminate the tangle of on/off ramps. That entire region is under development by Harvard (housing, academic buildings, etc.) Just to the north and outside the frame of the map is Harvard's athletic complex. Harvard Business School is due north of the site and just beyond that across the river is Harvard's main campus. To the south and south east (within walking distance) is Boston University and its housing/athletic complex. There is subway service on both sides of the river near this site and the potential for water taxis to run up and down the river from both Boston and Cambridge. I think Cabot Yard is a stronger location for an Olympic park and has been all over the media, but I wouldn't be surprised if Cabot Yard was a diversion and that Beacon Yard was the true plan. But what do I know.
  4. Neither Fenway nor a Patriots move is being discussed. The Revs (soccer) have been talking about moving closer to Boston in a stadium designed for soccer. Currently they play out in Foxboro - which as a US football stadium is passable for soccer, but is too big (it sits half empty for most Revs games). The idea is that an Olympic stadium would be built in Boston and then later downsized to a 30,000 seat stadium for the Revs.
  5. If Paris is out, I see the field as being Istanbul, Madrid, Los Angeles (or Boston), Doha (out first round) and possibly Rome, with the final vote coming down to Istanbul v. the USOC choice. I could see the IOC having a god-complex and giving the Games to Istanbul thinking they'd force political stability. I remember similar sentiment when they awarded the Games to Beijing (arguments that they will continue to force the opening of China, etc.). All speculation, though.
  6. Personally, I think Cabot Yard is the best location (proximity to transit, downtown, the athlete's village, a beach next to the village, a couple of practice tracks and sports fields adjacent to the village, the media center and other venues would be less than a mile down the street, major hospital facilities within a mile or so) but there are problems with that location requiring either relocating the rail yard or decking over it. Other sites have been discussed for months (Beacon Yard, Suffolk Downs, etc.). I don't know which is the one the organizing committee is truly focused on - at this point it's all speculation by those of us outside the loop.
  7. Thread derail... no one believes the IOc is only going o pick among the top handful of cities. There's quite a benefit in reaching outside the inner circle of NYC-Paris-London-whomever. The two most spectacular Games in my lifetime were Barcelona and Sydney, neither of which is in that inner circle.
  8. I'm not trying to misrepresent LA. I have said in just about every post that I think it will end up being the USOC's choice. I never said or implied or intimated that LA's familiarity is an argument against it. I was simply saying that other cities offer more fresh visuals - in that they have either never hosted before or haven't hosted in the last century - while providing financially secure territory for the IOC. Regardless of what LA's venue plan is, LA's biggest assets (the mountains, the beaches, Hollywood, the freeways, etc.) will all provide the visuals front and center, and we've seen them before in fairly recent Olympic history. I'm just talking about the packaging, not the product, and I'm not arguing against the city's bid.
  9. Ding ding ding. But he can at this location (or he should be able to). The Revs would host at least 17 games per season and they would probably sell out each one given the convenience to public transport and the proximity of its fan base to this location. A huge chunk of the Revs' fan base lives within a 20 minute subway ride to this site. And, being so convenient to downtown Boston, I could easily see people heading over to see a game after work like they do with the Red Sox. In addition, the stadium would be able to serve as an outdoor venue for smaller concerts in the summer and for outdoor hockey tournaments in the winter. Occasionally, Fenway Park hosts concerts or outdoor hockey, but they only open it to those activities a few times per year. Kraft can make money here, definitely.
  10. Agreed. Hence what I said about taking some additional land via eminent domain. The maps used above show the smallest possible parcel. The lot size could easily be three or four times the size presented.
  11. I didn't say the Paris was the only fresh city out there. God knows, there are dozens of unique opportunities for the IOC. But among the 2024 contenders from the industrialized world we've been talking about (Paris, Rome, LA, Boston) - I am purposefully excluding Durban - I would contend that Paris and Boston present the freshest faces for the Games. LA's visuals for 2024 will be nearly identical to those from 1984 (Hollywood sign, the Coliseum, Santa Monica, the freeways, etc.). If Mexico City threw it's hat in the ring, it would be an exciting opportunity and yes, *extremely* fresh. Istanbul - fresh. Stockholm - fresh. Buenos Aires - fresh. As for Durban, of course, this would be an incredibly different location. However, depending on how Rio pulls together and what the media narrative is coming out of Rio, I wouldn't be surprised if the IOC grew reluctant to further tarnish its image by awarding a big budget-busting Games to a relatively poor (vs. USA, France, etc.), developing country.
  12. The site in Boston everyone is discussing is ideal - there are two subway stations within a few minutes' walk of the site, South Station (commuter rail) is about 10 minutes away. On top of which, the UMass campus, proposed site for the athlete's village is a five minute shuttle ride away, and the BCEC (convention center - proposed media center and potential sports venue) is down the street. The problems with the site are: although mostly owned by government bodies (MassPort, the MBTA, etc.), the city would need to re-route some heavy rail lines around the perimeter of the property, and in order to make it a comfortable fit like London's plan, some land will need to be taken by eminent domain. We also shouldn't underestimate the resistance some of the neighbors may feel about putting a 30,000 seat stadium (post Games) two blocks from their homes. I don't think any of these concerns are insurmountable or unique - just about every city bidding for the Games faces them.
  13. I'm not saying Paris is unknown to the world - it's perhaps the most iconic city in the world (or at least among the top 3). But I mean fresh in terms of not having hosted in a century. Fresh as in superior TV visuals. Fresh as in there hasn't been a Summer Games in the French-speaking world since Montreal in 1976. I don't see it this way. I think the USOC chose four cities it genuinely thinks could host, but am inclined to believe the USOC will ultimately pick LA if it decides to put up a candidate city. I see this sort of like a bidding war over a house - the seller may think a bid from one buyer is stronger the others, but he might want to see what concessions the other buyers are willing to make to land the deal.
  14. That's a role Tokyo 2020 will fill. 2024 will be about going somewhere trustworthy but fresh (i.e., Paris).
  15. The IAAF standard is for events to be held in the open air. It has a separate series of track events held in the artificial indoor environment.
  16. I think what work against a city like Miami or Houston, more than the potential for extreme weather, is the expected weather. They are simply too hot and oppressive and would require far too many of the events to be staged at night. I remember hearing stories that the IOC felt hoodwinked by the Atlanta organizers when they presented Atlanta as having a mean summer temperature in the mid-80's (F). Atlanta averaged their mean daytime temp (95F) with their mean night time temp (75F) in order to appear more temperate. The IOC loves seeing world records set, which is much more difficult when athletes are on the sidelines suffering from heat stroke.
  17. I have heard that the plan is to relocate the Revs away from Foxboro regardless of an Olympic bid. Foxboro is a great stadium, but even with direct rail access from Boston, it is not optimal for it's core supporters (urban immigrants and suburban families who are spread out over a several hundred square miles). No one is going to build a 90,000+ seat fixed stadium within Boston's urban area without a dedicated tenant. I heard that the Bird's Nest and Athens' stadium still cost tens of millions a year in upkeep alone - not to mention the debt financing - and sit empty most of the time. Unless the Patriots are going to move, there is no need for a big stadium like that. The Sox aren't going to move and a huge stadium like that is too big for them and the Revs. I don't know enough to say that the plan is start small (for the Revs), go big (for the Games) and then go back to small, or whether it is just to start big and then go small after. But downsizing to fit the Revs after a Games is almost certainly the plan. Yes, Suffolk Downs is often talked about for the Revs' new stadium. As are New Market, Somerville and the Seaport. A benefit of all four is that the are all located within a relatively short distance from major public transportation lines (subway, bus and heavy rail).
  18. Talk in the local sports and development communities is that Bob Kraft is looking for a site to build an appropriately-sized stadium within a few miles of downtown Boston for the Revs. I've heard from some architect friends that the plan is to build an under-30,000 seater that could be adapted to a larger use and than "right-sized" again after a Games. Don't forget, both London's and Atlanta's main stadia were largely temp structures that were designed to be downsized after their Games. Meanwhile, the Bird's Nest sits empty 95% of the time and Athens' venues are growing weeds.
  19. Quaker, no argument from me. IF (and this is a big "if" because I think LA will be the USOC's choice), but if Boston were to be the US' candidate city, it's only real chance of winning would be convincing the IOC that its future health and growth are better served by established cities in highly desirable media markets (US, France, Italy, Germany, Japan, etc) that don't have to take enormous financial risks to stage an amazing Games. I will admit that the IOC is going to be continually tempted by the bright shiny bauble, but if it senses that it has just about reached "peak Games" in terms of lavishness, a more conservative bid from a city like Boston could be a winner. But I agree that if a Buenos Aires or a Shanghai or a Paris were to bulldoze 1000 acres of contiguous space to put up a huge Homebush-type mega campus, a plan more restrained plan like Boston's (or like Barcelona's) would come up short. I see the Rio spin as a deciding factor. If the media narrative about the IOC leading up to and after Rio is as damning as FIFA is getting (i.e., huge global organization made up of millionaires making third world countries spend themselves into oblivion with no legacy), we could very well see the IOC pull back a little and look for a less opulent - err, well, perhaps a less bankrupting - setting.
  20. Living here, my experience is that most people are expressing support. That said, one of Boston's charms is that it is a city that operates on its own (sometimes narrow-minded) terms. If the USOC and IOC will only go for a city that will bankrupt itself building a Beijing-style mega Olympic park, then Boston will be out. Not only does it not have the hundreds and hundreds of open acres for it, and it's not going to bulldoze entire neighborhoods, but Boston is a very conservative city (conservative in its demeanor). I actually find Boston's attitude about this refreshing and something the Games needs: the host city is the one that has to live with the legacy of a Games - hosting should serve the IOC but also the long term needs of the host city. If a winnable bid can be fashioned that serves Boston's transportation, housing, commercial and venue needs once the carnival leaves, then Boston will be all in.
  21. I think you are referring to Mayor Menino of Boston who was somewhat dubious of a bid. He's no longer the mayor. From what I've seen, Mayor Walsh is supportive of Boston's bid.
  22. Honestly, I don't see this as being a factor one way or another. By the time the USOC makes up its mind in 2015 (and the IOC in 2017), the Big Dig will have been 25 years in the rear-view mirror. Aside from which, its expense and delays were all foreseeable (keeping open a major interstate through the heart of a city while building a brand new one underground, use of slurry wall construction due to the landfill through which much of the tunnel traversed, all the while not disrupting power and sewer lines or impacting the operation of the subway which ran a few feet below where the new road bed was being laid). If anything, the Big Dig was and is an engineering and planning triumph. But regardless, it will be ancient history. Boston's shortcomings are elsewhere - venue siting, transportation infrastructure needs, and a rather enthusiastic group of NIMBYs (though not as enthusiastic or powerful as they've got in SF).
  23. OK, so shall we start handicapping the four? I honestly think the two contenders will be LA and Boston because they represent such different directions for both the USOC and the IOC should it get there. After Athens, Beijing, London, Rio, Tokyo, does the IOC continue down the path of mega cities, mega budgets, mega spectacles (and limit its pool of candidate cities - I mean, look at the reluctance at hosting 2022), or do you dial it back a bit and present a more humanly scaled Olympics in a walkable, charming place? 1) LA - likely the USOC's choice. Pro's: Is more a natural fit in the Beijing-London-Rio-Tokyo parade than any other candidates, great weather, big city, big media market, big money. Con's: Nothing really new here, very auto-dependent, on the edge of time zone acceptability (an 8 pm gymnastics event in LA wouldn't start until 11pm in NYC, 4 am in London); could continue the IOC's problem of ever-larger ($$) spectacles. 2) Boston - could run an inside game against LA and win (smaller = better). Pro's: Fresh and new as a US host, New England summers are sublime, sits in the middle of the media time zone for the entire western hemisphere (9 pm events will be live at 11pm in Sao Paulo, 10 pm in Caracas, 9 pm in Santiago, 8 pm in Chicago, 7pm in Calgary, 6pm in LA). Con's: needs a big infrastructure infusion, would need a build few centerpiece venues from scratch. 3) San Francisco - Pro's: by far, the most jaw-droppingly beautiful of the four. Con's: not the best reputation for organization, same time zone issues as LA, potential problems with venue siting. 4) DC - Pro's: same time zone advantages as Boston; great city; would be a fresh host. Con's: DC's weird political structure makes the city beholden to Congress and would also require coordination of two neighboring states, essentially, a tri-"state" bid. Those are a lot of balls to juggle successfully. Just my opinion. All are free to disagree (and you will! LOL).
  24. "I see.. so we're going to emphasize the good qualities about NYC and San Fran and Boston while highlighting the bad qualities of Dallas. Yea, that seems like a fair fight. And LOL about Times Square. That may attract tourists and perhaps that'll be a selling point for the IOC, but as a native New Yorker, I generally avoid that place like the plague. Having been there during Super Bowl week this year, I cringe to think about what they might do for an Olympics. NYC has their negatives as well and we've seen that firsthand with large events hosted here. The transportation debacles of the Super Bowl would absolutely reflect poorly on a future Olympic bid, I'm sorry to say." I wasn't talking about fairness, I was talking about what the easy narrative would be for the international media that would be covering a Games in any of those cities. I'm from NYC (and now live in Boston), so I know the negatives of both those cities all too well. But what I'm saying is, yes, the foreign media will focus almost exclusively on Dallas' negatives: car dependence, open carry gun laws, megachurches, its lack of history and charm, JR Ewing-like businessmen (a complete fiction, of course), strip malls, interstates, McMansions... To the foreign media, Dallas will epitomize everything that the world dislikes about the US - conspicuous consumption, wasteful with resources, guns, bravado, ignorant of anything outside the US, and that will be the image projected around the world. Could they do the same with NYC, San Francisco or Boston - absolutely, but those cities' negatives are not nearly as damning to their overall reputation or as difficult to overcome as Dallas'. Again, I didn't say it was fair. And let's be honest, while you deride Times Square (I happen to agree), the media coverage around the Games often looks like and serves as a long tourist advertisement for the host city and host country. If the US wants positive media on that front, I cannot see how Dallas is even close to the other three. I am not talking about the merits of any of the cities' bids or their transportation or security plans. I'm simply talking about what image of each the media will project. Dallas' would overwhelmingly reinforce negative stereotypes, IMO.
  25. "Why would it have the opposite effect? NYC and San Fran and Boston don't come with stereotypes that would be reinforced with an Olympics?" They do, of course, but their stereotypes are largely positive - or, they're at least contrary to the dominant image of the US abroad. NYC: global city, Broadway, skyscrapers, Times Square. San Francisco: the Golden Gate, the Bay, great food, cable cars. Boston: History, Harvard, charming, European feeling. All of them would offer a very strong counter-narrative about the US than the word has gotten over the past 20 years. If Dallas was the host, the easy narrative by the foreign media will Big Hair, Big Jesus, Big Trucks, Big Guns, Big Arrogance. Is it fair? Probably not. Is it likely? Absolutely.
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