Hey, New Yorkers, cheer up: Imagine if instead of going to your usual local bar after work tonight, you were planning to fight your way through packed subways to get to a billion-dollar stadium on the West Side of Manhattan for the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 New York Olympics!
That was almost the reality, until that fateful day seven years ago when the International Olympic Committee rejected a American bid to the 2012 Summer Games and gave them to London instead. Or it could have been Paris, which narrowly missed out one of the closest votes ever. New York actually came in fourth, partly because the citizens' enthusiasm for the bid was less than overwhelming.
Reading about London's traffic snarls and taxi strikes and anti-aircraft guns on top of apartment buildings today, we're sure that most New Yorkers have no regrets about not getting that bid. Still, it's hard not visualize how the city might be different today had that vote gone another way. The New York Jets would be waiting for their massive new home on the West Side rail yards to open.. The Barclays Center in Brooklyn might be bigger and already finished and not even named the Barclays Center. Willets Point might have a fun new kayak course sitting next to Citi Field. Williamburg hipsters would be lining up to watch beach volleyball matches, and Long Island City's new luxury waterfront condos would be the more spartan dorms of the Olympic Village. And yes, the traffic would just as horrible as you can imagine.