Is That a Luge in Times Square?
by Larry Buchanan, Joe Burgess, Shan Carter, Ford Fessenden, Mika Gröndahl, Jeremy White, Wilson Andrews, Becky Lebowitz Hanger and Catherine Spangler
photographs by Angel Franco and Richard Perry
Former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s vision of new sporting venues across the boroughs fizzled, and New York lost its bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics. But what if the city had tried to get the Winter Olympics instead? It would probably take more hubris than even this city can muster, but the exercise provides some telling measures of scale.
Alpine events would be challenging. But if you could fashion a facsimile of the 2.2-mile downhill course at Rosa Khutor Alpine Center, it would tower over Central Park. Starting above 59th Street at a height of two Empire State Buildings, the course (without many of its notorious turns) would end on the ballfields of the North Meadow.
Luge, Bobsled and Skeleton
Racers might begin their starting sprints 40 stories up and several blocks north of Times Square for the run down the city’s own version of the Sanki Sliding Center’s track, finishing in a big turn on the plaza in front of the Armed Services Recruiting Center.
The New York Public Library and Bryant Park provide a surfeit of air rights, and scaffolding repurposed from the Fashion Week tent could support the jumps and starting box. Competitors could finish with a breathtaking hockey stop just short of Sixth Avenue, spraying snow and scattering pigeons.
The trickle of traffic that now uses Broadway south of Times Square would hardly be inconvenienced by the installation of a long ice sheet for the 5,000-meter speedskating between Madison Square Park and Battery Park.
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