How New York City’s transformation began with a bid to host the Olympics

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Dan Doctoroff, currently CEO of Google’s Sidewalk Labs, earlier in his career founded a nonprofit, NYC2012, to bring the Olympic Games to New York City. After the September 11th 2001 attacks on the city, he became a deputy mayor, and led the rebuilding effort. However, he continued to champion the city’s Olympics bid.

As Doctoroff recounts in this conversation with Quartz editor-in-chief Kevin J. Delaney, the bid ultimately failed, but the detailed plans provided a blueprint that has essentially guided the city’s development ever since. That experience has taught him many lessons, not least, the power of the deadline.

New York’s strength, Doctoroff says, is “that this was sort of the world second home. A place where all kinds of people from around the world felt comfortable coming.”

The city’s transformation has seen the development of multiple projects, including the High Line, Hudson Yards, the World Trade Center Complex, Williamsburg and Greenpoint waterfronts, Governor’s Island, the new Yankee Stadium, and Barclays Center, the seeds of which can all be traced back to the Olympic bid.