Parks and Recreation Sports

New York City loves the Olympics — despite never hosting them

OLYMPICS ROUNDUP Starting today Tokyo, the biggest city in the world, will host the Games of the XXXII Olympiad aka the Tokyo Olympics 2020 (in 2021). The Japanese city first hosted the games back in 1964. New York City, the biggest city in the United States, has never hosted the Olympics Games. The city did aim… Read More

Neighborhoods Parks and Recreation

Nostalgia for Astoria Pool, an early Robert Moses project with a high diving, Olympic-sized history

Astoria Pool is the largest venue for swimmers in New York, outside of the Hudson and East Rivers and, of course, the ocean. Its location in Astoria Park is certainly theatrical, parallel with the river and in sight of two spectacular bridges (the Robert F. Kennedy and the Hell Gate) that sail over to Randall’s Island.… Read More

Re-visiting the secrets of Randall’s and Ward’s Islands

“Gimme penny, poppy?” The desperate scene at the Randalls Island nurseries, circa 1867, according to Harpers Weekly journal. (image courtesy NYPL) Tom was hit with the flu this week (not the swine kind as far as I can tell) so we don’t have a regular podcast for you. It’ll be ready by next week! In… Read More

Is that any way to treat an Olympian?

Has an internationally famous monument ever had to endure such grave indignities as the Discus Thrower of Randall’s Island? Scandal! Nothing proclaims the revitalization of Randall’s Island more than this distinctive, classically inspired statue by Greek sculptor Kostas Dimitriadis. The Discus Thrower is the most graphic symbol of the changing island and a hallmark of… Read More

Podcasts Sports

PODCAST: Randall’s Island and the 1936 Olympic trials

PODCAST The smaller islands of the East River reveal fascinating secrets of the city’s past, and Randall’s and Ward’s Islands are no exceptions. Found out how these former potter’s fields are related to the most important Olympics-related event New York City has ever seen. The cast includes a swashbuckling British engineer, Jesse Owens, Tony Bennett,… Read More

The oddest bridge in New York City

I’ve never quite understood the Ward’s Island Footbridge which sits at the mouth of the Harlem River like a half-finished child-sized model of an actual bridge. It’s intriguing, mystifying and quaint, rather like some rusting antique in a flea market. This bridge, with its entrance at 103rd street, connects Manhattan to Ward’s Island. Why would… Read More

Boycott the Olympic Games!

It’s been awhile since America faced the potential of an Olympic Games boycott. The debate about Beijing is still being waged in the press. America withdrew from the Moscow Olympics in 1980. And in 1936, there was an equally emphatic cry to boycott the Olympics in Berlin, Germany — and New York City led the… Read More