Karen Finley: Not In Our Town, The Olympic Stadium
week, Bloomberg’s quest to build a stadium on the West Side of New York
City died. Although I wasn’t for the stadium, I could imagine
Bloomberg’s reasoning. Lower Manhattan’s office space is not filling
up. If New York City can be a showplace in hosting the Olympics in
2012, maybe if will attract tenants to the Freedom Towers. And build a
needed momentum for New York City. The cameras will not be just on ‘the
On the front page of the New York Times last week, Assembly Speaker
Sheldon Silver is quoted ‘Am I supposed to turn my back on Lower
Manhattan as it struggles to recover? For what? A Stadium?’ Mayor
Bloomberg responds with ‘Those that were on the other side will have to
explain why they were against jobs, why they were against economic
opportunity and growth.
Let me tell you the real reason the Olympic stadium didn’t go through.
It’s pay back time. New York City is sick and tired of having the party
in their house, providing the booze, food, the space and then everyone
putting their cigarettes out on our rug. After last summer’s hosting of
the Republican Convention, (even though 75 percent of Manhattan voted
for Kerry) New Yorkers have had enough.
During the Republican Convention last year, the city turned into a
military zone, with unnecessary sweeping arrests. Citizens were held in
mass holdings at the pier. The military and police were lined along
thoroughfares, visibly armed. Pedestrians were regularly searched,
stopped. Democrats watched the Republicans USE The Red Apple, exploit
Ground Zero as a backdrop to justify the occupation and war in Iraq.
Then leave us being a standing duck.
Republicans came to our town for fun, then in a month felt guilt and
made it all better with continuing the agenda of No Stem Research, No
Gay Marriage. Everything done here, stays here. And that needs to
change. Believe me the Republicans didn’t come to New York for the
weather in August. They came for the clubs, the loving, the sex, the
art. No one said, Oh I can’t wait to have the Republican Convention in
a town that doesn’t serve liquor and you go to church when you can’t
We have had enough of our city’s Red Alert, being used as an erotic
zone for conservatives to facilitate their agenda at our expense. They
are pimping us. Ground Zero’s fear becomes propaganda to continue the
Patriot Act. Close Quatanamo, End the War and we’ll talk.
Everyday we live and go to work with a sense of High Alert. We endure
the gaze of pity, the contentment in others knowing the tragedy didn’t
happen in their ‘good city’. We endure the thousands of well meaning
tourists buying World Trade Center knick knacks and souvenirs. We
endure the questions. Did you know someone who died? How close were
We don’t want Olympics 2012 to be the goal post to work towards. The
Olympics in 2012, for those who live and work here, will be a
combination plate of Beach Blanket Babylon, Robo Cop and a S and M
session if everything goes right. Is this someone’s idea of a good time
on our dime?
The Olympics? Really, let’s give out the medals now.
We have our Olympic Gold Medallists. We have our fire fighters, our
police, our EMT. We have our Olympic teachers and we have our Olympic
artists, actors, musicians, writers. We have our record breaking
subways, buses and taxis. We have our Gold Medal pizza, our neurosis,
our 24/7, our drive, our ambition, our loudness, directness, all
wearing black, we live in small cramped quarters, we don’t invite you
up. We are a city of heroes, who stay here to build, create for our
future. We have a magnificent city that we enjoy sharing with the world
and we want to continue doing so. We don’t want to destroy our city in
hosting the Olympics.
Perhaps Bloomberg should consider hosting a Cultural Olympics. There
would be no buildings to be built. We could use the East Side Park,
Battery Park and have public art, theater, music. And yes some of it
would be controversial. Instead of funding sports we’d be funding art.
Isn’t that an original idea?
- Karen Finley
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