With New York City still reeling from Superstorm Sandy – millions of residents without power, homes, even food – Mayor Michael Bloomberg has decided that the New York City Marathon will go on Sunday as planned.
The mayor, in defending his decision on Thursday, said the running of the marathon will not divert resources from Sandy’s victims.
“This city is a city where we have to go on," Bloomberg said at a news conference.
The marathon, the world’s largest, spans 42.195 miles and touches all five of New York City’s boroughs and draws as many as 50,000 runners throughout the world. More than 2 million people watch the event, which is broadcast internationally.
The New York City Marathon produces about $340 million in economic activity for the city, according to a study produced by the New York Road Runners, which hosts the event, according to The New York Times.
Bloomberg told reporters on Thursday that electricity is expected to be back on in downtown Manhattan by Sunday, freeing up an "enormous number of police."
Sanitation workers and fire fighters who are aiding storm victims are not involved in the marathon, Bloomberg said.
Further, race organizers have said that they plan to use more private contractors than in past years to minimize the strain on city services, he said.
Superstorm Sandy blew into the New York-New Jersey area on Monday, cutting a wide swath and leaving at least 50 people dead, hundreds of thousands without homes and power and air, rail and ferry service struggling.
The storm paralyzed New York’s massive public transportation system – with limited service just beginning on Thursday – and forced Bloomberg to limit cars entering Manhattan since the storm’s passing to three or more passengers in a bid to control massive gridlock.
The fallout has led to long lines at gasoline stations, widespread looting – even people foraging for food in dumpsters on the city’s Lower East Side.
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