With the crane atop a high-rise that collapsed during Sandy visible in the… (Richard Drew / Associated…)
In an effort to return life back to normal after Sandy and raise money for the recovery effort, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the city's Road Runners Club President Mary Wittenberg have decided to hold the NYC Marathon as scheduled Sunday, less than a week after many parts of the city were devastated by the super storm.
“This city is a city where we have to go on,” Bloomberg said.
There was little damage along the course of the marathon, so that will not be changed. Still, getting to the race could prove to be a challenge -- Wittenberg predicted more than 8,000 of the 47,500 entrants originally expected won't make it.
But, she said, postponing the race would result in the loss of a significant amount of revenue for local businesses since many of the nearly 30,000 out-of-town entrants would not be able to re-book their flights and hotel rooms.
In addition to the $340 million the marathon already brings to the city, the NYRR will donate $1 million to the recovery effort and says that $1.5 million in pledges already have been made by sponsors.
“It's hard in these moments to know what's best to do,” she said. “The city believes this is best to do right now.”
Some people agree with that view, including first-time participant Latif Peracha, who was evacuated from the Lower Manhattan neighborhood of TriBeCa. “I think it'll be a great testament to the city's resilience,” he said.
But there are many who see it differently. City Councilman Domenic Recchia Jr. said it's “just wrong” to hold such an event when there's so many people without food, shelter or electricity. An online petition asking for the race to be postponed until spring has more than 5,700 supporters.
Although Bloomberg insists resources won't be diverted from storm victims, the New York Post reported Friday morning that two "massive" generators are running nonstop in Central Park to juice the marathon's media tent, with a third sitting idle just in case.
According to the report, the three generators are "enough to power 400 homes in ravaged areas like Staten Island, the Rockaways and downtown Manhattan."
Do you think it's a good idea to hold the race right now? Vote in the poll, then leave a comment explaining why you voted the way you did.