New Mets stadium plan touted
NYC2012 officials released yesterday the first drawings of what a new Mets ballpark could look like - all dressed up for the Olympics.
The $600 million stadium, which could be ready for the Mets in 2009, looks like an old-time ballpark, but is outfitted with 80,000 seats and state-of-the-art track-and-field facilities.
The new entrances are depicted with old-fashioned awnings, somewhat resembling the drawings the Mets touted in 1998 when they announced plans for a retro ballpark fashioned after Ebbets Field.
But planners emphasized the renderings released yesterday could change, and are simply meant to give the International Olympic Committee an idea of how a 45,000-seat ballpark could be transformed into an 80,000-seat Olympic stadium.
"We focused on the technical details for the athletic stadium," said NYC2012 planning director Andrew Winters. "Everybody in the stadium has to be able to see the competition."
After the Olympics, the extra seats would be removed and installed at Icahn Stadium on Randalls Island.
"This would help fulfill New York's legacy for track and field," said NYC2012 spokesman Laz Benitez.
The drawings were made public two weeks after the city announced plans to put the Olympic stadium in Queens amid the nixing of the proposed West Side stadium.
The Mets would pay for their ballpark, but the state and city would pay about $100 million of the cost to convert it into an Olympic stadium.
The release of the renderings came as New York officials geared up for a push leading to the selection of the host city July 6 in Singapore.
Today, NYC2012, the city's bid committee, plans to release the names of the athletes who will be traveling to Singapore as part of the city's delegation. Tomorrow, Secretary of State Rice will join Mayor Bloomberg and Gov. Pataki to headline a kickoff event at City Hall Park.
Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff, the founder of the city's bid, said New York still has a "terrific chance" of beating Paris, London, Madrid and Moscow and hosting the 2012 Games.
He said he doesn't believe the city's stumble over an Olympic stadium - with the sudden transfer from Manhattan to Queens - will prove fatal.
"It all happened so quickly, people's heads are spinning a little bit," Doctoroff conceded. "But I think the overriding impression that people have had is, 'Wow, if they can do this in three days, imagine what they could do in seven years.'"
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