Tags: new | york | marathon | uneasy

Storm-hit New Yorkers Uneasy About Decision to Hold Marathon

Thursday, 01 Nov 2012 11:18 PM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
A symbol of resilience, or tactless and ill-timed? New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's decision to proceed with the world's largest marathon on Sunday is stirring up controversy in the storm-ravaged metropolis.

As emergency workers wade through flooded homes to look for survivors and millions of people remain without power in the U.S. Northeast, the death toll from superstorm Sandy has swelled to 95.

"If they take one first responder from Staten Island to cover this marathon, I will scream," New York City Councilman James Oddo said on his Twitter account. "We have people with no homes and no hope right now."

Urgent Poll: Cast Your Vote for Romney, Obama Early!

Bloomberg has vowed the marathon will not divert any resources from victims, and expects power to be restored to downtown Manhattan by race day. In defending his decision to go forward, the mayor cited the thousands of out-of-town visitors who come for the marathon.

"There's an awful lot of small businesses that depend on these people. We have to have an economy," Bloomberg told a news conference on Wednesday.

"It's a great event for New York, and I think for those who were lost, you know, you've got to believe they would want us to have an economy and have a city go on for those that they left behind."

"If the city is able to put on the marathon safely and it doesn't divert resources away from rescue, then runners should take to the street," said Lisa Tobin, 35, a pastry cook from the Bronx who will be running in the ING New York City Marathon for the first time.

Dave Jaffares, who tends bar at Mullanes Bar & Grill, said they usually make $2,000 to $3,000 more on marathon day. The bar is along the marathon route in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

"It needs to happen. The marathon is coming at a great time. It gets people back into the idea that we are New York," said Jaffares. "This is what we do, we do a marathon every year. Nothing stops us."

The New York Road Runners, which organizes the marathon, said the event will bring $340 million to the city. The club also announced on Thursday that it will donate at least $1 million, or $26.20 for each of the more than 40,000 runners expected to participate, to aid New Yorkers affected by Sandy.

The Rudin Family, one of the founding members of the marathon, said it would donate $1.1 million and the ING Foundation said it would give $500,000.

"We're not looking to be a drain on any of the city resources," NYRR spokesman Richard Finn told Reuters. NYRR had hiked the race fee this year, in part to pay police overtime.

Urgent Poll: Cast Your Vote for Romney, Obama Early!

RUNNERS AMBIVALENT

On Thursday, there were signs of recovery in city life: some subway service was restored, and Bloomberg said city parks would re-open on Saturday.

But much of the region was still a disaster zone. The southern third of Manhattan was largely without electricity, and many towns in New Jersey remained crippled from record flooding. Many trees in Central Park, where the race ends, were also uprooted by near hurricane-force winds.

The Marathon will shut more than 20 miles of city roads and typically requires more than 1,000 police to man the route.

"Things are everything but normal for so many people," said Patricia Profita, a teacher who lives in the Great Kills neighborhood of Staten Island. "People should not be running through the boroughs, but instead running to aid those people."

The storm has killed at least 39 people in New York City, almost half of whom were in Staten Island.

The NYRR club announced on its Facebook page last night that this year's marathon is dedicated to the City of New York, the victims of the hurricane and their families.

But the majority of the more than 270 comments on the page were critical of the decision. Dana Donadio wrote, "As a former Staten Island resident, current Manhattan resident and runner of 2 NYC Marathons I have to say this is an extremely bad idea. The city's resources could be put to much better use at this time."

Urgent Poll: Cast Your Vote for Romney, Obama Early!

Scott Cohen, 52, who is running his 18th New York City Marathon in a row, admitted it "seems frivolous in light of the death, disruption and despair in parts of the city."

Still, the fitness trainer expects that by Sunday most New Yorkers will be supportive. "The race has always been a 26.2 mile block party and the city feels the love." (Reporting by Mike Erman and Phil Wahba; Additional reporting by Nadia Damouni and Caryn Trokie; Editing by Tiffany Wu and Todd Eastham)

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Black Friday Gun Buys Test Background Check System

Wednesday, 26 Nov 2014 06:21 AM

Black Friday isn't just when shoppers rush to stores for holiday sales. It's also one of the busiest days of the year fo . . .

Judge Overturns Mississippi Same-sex Marriage Ban

Tuesday, 25 Nov 2014 21:52 PM

A federal judge has overturned Mississippi's ban on same-sex marriage, but he is putting his order on hold for two weeks . . .

Judge Rules Arkansas Ban on Same-Sex Marriage Is Unconstitutional

Tuesday, 25 Nov 2014 20:45 PM

A U.S. district judge ruled on Tuesday that an Arkansas constitutional amendment defining marriage as being only the uni . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved