In New York City, things move pretty quickly, so shouldn’t the Big Apple’s premier track and field venue boast the world’s fastest running surface?
The answer is yes, according to the New York City Council, which last week earmarked $1.2 million for the installation of a new surface at the New Balance Track and Field Center at the Armory.
The upgrade will give the Armory—located on Fort Washington Avenue in Manhattan’s uptown Washington Heights neighborhood—the same state-of-the-art Mondo surface being used at next month’s IAAF World Championships in Moscow and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The project had a major champion in outgoing City Councilman Robert Jackson, a representative of Washington Heights, Harlem, and Inwood. Other supporters included the Council’s Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus and Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
Given the city’s fast-tracking of the funds (pun very much intended), work is expected to finish by December 1, when the 2013–14 indoor track season kicks off with the PSAL Pilgrim Games. The Armory has hosted the event since 2012, and earlier this year, at the 106th running, more than 60 new records were set.
With a new Mondo surface underfoot, runners may break even more records this year, but world-class athletes won’t be the only ones thankful for the new surface. The Armory Foundation has long worked with local student athletes, and in a press release, Quinn praised the agency and looked ahead to December’s grand unveiling.
“For over 20 years, the Armory Foundation has served as an invaluable resource for New York City’s youth,” said Quinn. “I thank the Armory Foundation for their continued work to provide sports and educational programming to the community, and look forward to celebrating the new track’s inaugural race at the 2013 PSAL Pilgrim Games.”
Jackson called the Armory Prep Program “a beacon of hope” for thousands of young people and congratulated Armory Foundation executive director Dr. Norb Sander on making the Armory one of the world’s premier track facilities.
"As a great advocate and supporter of the Armory, I am glad that my colleagues are in line with the Armory’s vision by providing financial support that will keep this facility in tip-top shape,” Jackson said.
“Our races are to our sport what Wimbledon and the Australian, U.S., and French Opens are to tennis, and what the Masters, U.S., and British Opens and PGA Championship are to golf. Each race has the history, the tradition, the honor roll of legendary champions, and a special place in the eyes of all to make them stand apart from the other events.” Mary Wittenberg