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  July 10, 2005

Creating Jobs, Housing and Parks Across All Five Boroughs

By Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg

Last week, I was joined by Senator Clinton, Congressman Rangel and Muhammad Ali to present New York’s bid to the International Olympic Committee. Every city that dreams of hosting the Olympics and every athlete that dreams of winning a gold medal knows that the odds are long. But win or lose, competition brings out the best in us – it makes us work harder, it improves our teamwork and it strengthens our dedication to our goals.

Over the last few years, that’s exactly what’s happened in New York. Even though we didn’t win the 2012 Olympics, just competing for it helped improve our City by galvanizing public support for more parks, housing and jobs – all the things that New York needs in order to continue flourishing in the 21st century.

For instance, we succeeded in winning approval for an expansion of the Javits Convention Center on the far West Side of Manhattan, which would have hosted various Olympic events. An expanded Javits Center will allow New York to attract large conventions that currently go to cities that have bigger facilities, like Chicago and Orlando. By bringing more visitors to New York, we will create many new jobs in our hotels, restaurants, theaters and small businesses. An expanded Javits Center was needed for more than a decade. Last year, the prospect of hosting the Olympics brought everyone together and helped make it happen.

Another example of how the Olympics served as a catalyst is the re-zoning of Greenpoint/Williamsburg. For decades, zoning regulations designed for factories had sealed off the waterfront from residents and prevented housing construction. Although the neighborhood will not become home to an Olympic Aquatic Center, the re-zoning that we adopted this spring will revitalize the waterfront with a beautiful park and create new housing for more than 10,000 New Yorkers.

New housing and parks will also be created in Hunters Point, Queens, a largely abandoned waterfront area where we had planned to build an Olympic Village. In Flushing Meadows Corona Park, we will still build a world-class Olympic swimming pool and ice hockey rink. And the privately financed stadiums for the Yankee and Mets that we recently announced will go forward as planned.

Even without the Olympics, this is a golden era for our City parks. In the last four years, we’ve added 260 acres of new parkland. On Sunday, in fact, we broke ground on a new park in Hunts Point along the Harlem River. The land used to be an environmentally degraded brownfield, but now it will become a neighborhood jewel.

Parks and recreational facilities are essential to strong neighborhoods. So are good jobs, affordable housing and safe streets. That’s why our Administration is investing $2 billion to spur economic development in all five boroughs, and $3 billion to create affordable housing for more than 200,000 New Yorkers. And it’s why we’ve found innovative new ways to drive crime down to a 40-year low.

Today, New York is safer and stronger than ever. But Thursday’s barbaric and cowardly bombings in London remind all of us that the threat of terrorism is still very real. I know that I speak for every New Yorker when I say that our hearts and prayers go out to all the victims and their families, and to the whole City of London. We will never forget the support that the world showed us in our darkest hour, and how much it meant to us.

At the same time, we are continuing to do everything in our power to prevent another attack – that’s why we’ve dedicated 1,000 of our best police officers to counter-terrorism duties. The New York Police Department is the finest in the world, and their dedication to protecting New York knows no bounds. If you see or hear anything that you suspect could be related to terrorism, call 9-1-1 immediately. But as you keep your eyes and ears open, remember that the best way to defeat terrorism is to go about your daily life. That’s what we did after 9/11, and that’s what we’ll continue to do. Because no coward is going to scare New Yorkers away from the freedoms that we love, and that we just celebrated on July 4th