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HindustanTimes Sun,31 Aug 2014

London's Laurel Wreath

Geetika Jain  London, July 03, 2012
First Published: 18:16 IST(3/7/2012) | Last Updated: 10:59 IST(3/9/2012)
One party is barely over in London and the next one is about to start; the buntings of British flags from the Queen's Jubilee will still be festooned on lamp-posts, criss-crossing many streets when athletes and spectators arrive. London is putting on lipstick and the wettest spring in a 100 years has turned the Emerald Isle into 40 Shades of Green. Londoners are proud that their city is the only one to hold Olympics for the third time.

Regeneration of "Badlands"
Sebastian Coe, head of the Olympics committee, has proven his genius yet again; having earlier won a host of medals for running, he has now run an effective and intelligent campaign where the benefits from the Olympics will far outlast the event with minimal wastage.

The East London site in Stratford, one of London's poorest areas, had been derelict for decades. German bombs from World War II were mired in the marshes and the disused factories were a lamentable sight. The structures were pulled down, everything was cleaned up and a whole new neighbourhood has been generated. The real spectacle will start when the Olympics are over. The upper ring of the beautiful crown shaped stadium will dismantle and go from seating 80, 000 people to 20,000 in the bowl. Several other buildings such as the bubble basketball courts will be whisked off elsewhere and the housing for 17,000 athletes will become flats. This new 500 acre neighbourhood will benefit from a botanical garden and vast, parkland around the River Lee, access to swift public transport and some noteworthy brands to shop. Architectural jewels such as Zaha Hadid's Aquatics centre, Hopkin's wooden velodrome and Anish Kapoor's red steel viewing platform will remain.

The seduction agenda
Giant screens in plenty of outdoor venues and high definition television will ensure that everyone gets a good look even if they don't have tickets to the events.

The Cultural Olympiad is already on way, with Pina Bauch's Tanztheatre Wupertal dance performances, carnivals, Shakespeare's plays, extreme athletics and film shows all over the city, and these will go on until early September.

The favourite new
restaurants are Bodega Negra for Mexican, Kateh for Persian and Yashin for sushi. Membership clubs are all the rage; see if you can join friends at The Arts Club and The Little House.

Tours of the Olymic site

Blue badge tours: This Company will continue to give two-hour walking tours during and after the Olympics. From 11am and 1pm daily. Meet at Bromley by Bow Undersground station.
Price: £9 ( Rs. 780) per head.
London walks: Tours before and after the Olympic Games. 2.15pm daily and 10.45am on weekends.
Show up at the West Ham Underground station.
Price: £9 ( Rs. 780) per head.

London cultural
Festival: www.london 2012.com/festival

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