FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 23, 2005
MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG ANNOUNCES THE OPENING OF STATE-OF-THE-ART ICAHN STADIUM ON RANDALL'S ISLAND
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg was today joined by Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe, Chairman of the Board of the Randall's Island Sports Foundation (RISF) Richard Davis and RISF trustees and donors Carl and Gail Icahn to announce Opening Day at Icahn Stadium. The $42 million stadium is the sole International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) certified, championship-quality track and field facility in North America for local, national and international outdoor competition. It boasts a standard 400-meter Mondo surface running track, with 5,000 covered spectator seats and temporary seating available for up to 10,000 spectators. The stadium will also be home to an extensive children's program providing outdoor physical activity to Randall's Island Kids, which serves over 10,000 of New York City's children in East Harlem and the South Bronx.
"Icahn Stadium is in a class by itself," said Mayor Bloomberg. "The state-of-the-art facility will be used by thousands of athletes each year, and will restore New York City's position as an international center for track and field. The stadium will also bolster our bid for the 2012 Olympic Games by bringing our City's deep love of sports into full view, for the entire world to see. I would like to thank Carl and Gail Icahn for their generosity and dedication to this project."
"The addition of Icahn Stadium to the City's athletic facilities creates unlimited opportunities for track and field athletes at every level," said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe. "Not only will local youth and City athletic organizations use the stadium, if New York City hosts the Olympics in 2012, Olympians will compete here as well."
The Department of Parks & Recreation, New York City Economic Development Corporation, and RISF developed the new stadium. Situated on the 25-acre northwestern waterfront area of Randall's Island Park, Icahn Stadium is visible from the East Side of Manhattan. In addition to the 400-meter running track and spectator seating, the stadium also includes modern locker rooms, showers special accommodations for the disabled and meeting rooms within the seating complex. A suspended roof structure and signature light towers mirror the architecture of the Triborough Bridge, which spans the length of the Park.
"Icahn Stadium gives the City the ability to both attract world class runners and provide a place for our young people to experience the excitement of taking part in athletic competition," said RISF Chairman Richard Davis.
"Our youth are our most precious resource, and physical and academic education of our City's youth must be of the highest priority," said Carl Icahn. "I am proud to be part of this much needed movement to help meet the needs of physical education."
The stadium was named for Randall's Island Sports Foundation (RISF) trustees and donors Carl and Gail Icahn, whose $10 million gift to complete the roof and towers is the largest gift ever from a private donor to a New York City park facility. The $42 million project was also funded by $24 million in public funds and another $8 million in private donations. Construction to build Icahn Stadium began in January 2003 and was recently completed.
LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts 10th grader Conlon Bonner performed the National Anthem to kick off the Opening Day Ceremonies at 12:00 p.m. The ceremony also included a tribute to Jesse Owens, the four-time gold medallist in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, who qualified for the Games after winning the 100-meter dash on Randall's Island. Owen's daughter, Marlene Owens Rankin, was in attendance to announce the Jesse Owens Track & Field Club. The fastest man in the world, 2004 Olympic Gold medallist Justin Gatlin also honored Owens by running a commemorative 100-meter dash, "cutting" the ribbon for the stadium as he crossed the finish line surrounded by donors and honorees.
Grand opening races, including the Elite Men's 100-Meter Dash and the Adaptive Physical Education Race, preceded the opening ceremony. These races, as well as all races and field events that took place throughout the day at Icahn Stadium, comprised the New York Relays, a college and high school track and field invitational featuring more than 3,000 public and private school athletes from the tri-state area.
Edward Skyler / Robert Lawson (212) 788-2958
Warner Johnston (Parks)
View the photos
Watch the video in 56k or 300k