Friday, November 2, 2012

Just In: New York Marathon Canceled

Some sanity prevailed after all.

From NBC News (11/2/2012):

New York Marathon canceled, Bloomberg says

NEW YORK – The New York Marathon will not be held Sunday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Friday, backtracking just a few hours after he defended the decision to hold it despite heavy criticism as the city struggles back from Superstorm Sandy.

"The Marathon has been an integral part of New York City's life for 40 years and is an event tens of thousands of New Yorkers participate in and millions more watch," he said in a statement Friday evening. "While holding the race would not require diverting resources from the recovery effort, it is clear that it has become the source of controversy and division."

"We would not want a cloud to hang over the race or its participants, and so we have decided to cancel it," he added. "We cannot allow a controversy over an athletic event -- even one as meaningful as this -- to distract attention away from all the critically important work that is being done to recover from the storm and get our city back on track."

A few hours earlier, Bloomberg told a press conference that holding the marathon would be a morale and money boost for the city.

(Full article at the link)

(H/T reader NYUltraBuddha)


NYultrabuddha said...

Sanity had nothing to do with it. It was fear. Fear of all the petitions against the marathon that were circulating and being sent in to City Hall. Fear of the protests that were being organized via facebook, some organized by local runners themselves. Fear of some hotel owners, like one interviewed on local news who flat out said he would not kick out homeless Sandy refugees to make way for marathoners. I think the mayor finally realized he was setting up a confrontation that was a powder keg on many levels. And not what the city needs right now.

"While holding the race would not require diverting resources from the recovery effort..."

Is he kidding? Do you know how many police it takes to babysit the marathon every year. We need those police protecting devastated neighborhoods from looters and making sure people don't shoot each other at gas lines, where it was reported earlier today someone drew a gun. We have two major hospitals - NYU and Bellevue - evacuated with a loss of about a thousand beds. Every year marathoners suffer cardiac issues and other self-imposed injuries. Do we want them taking up beds in the midst of a disaster when there already is a shortage?

The tunnels between Bklyn and Manhattan are still flooded. Yet, as much-needed supplies are being rushed into the city, the mayor wanted to shut down bridges that are the only major links between boroughs for a full day for a non-essential sporting event?

The Central Park generators - which were to be used to fuel cafeterias for runners and media centers - can provide power for 400 homes. I'm still waiting/hoping to hear an announcement from the event organizers about them will be moving them to the areas that need help, hopefully with the professional chefs and food that was to be prepared for the runners. Instead they were talking about how the event needed to be cancelled because it "was becoming divisive." Well, yeah but in more than the way they were thinking, More like "divisive" in the sense of highlighting the divide between haves and have nots.

Contrast this with Victoria's Secret, which cancelled a fashion show and soon after voluntarily without request sent over the generators meant to be used for the show to the 69th Armory, where they have been fueling a National Guard operation center distributing aid.

Well, at least nice to live in a country where people can voice their outrage and have leaders listen and even change their minds.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Why couldn't he just have the marathon in part of Manhattan that wasn't much affected, where rich bankers live in high style? He could also have asked these bankers to have their spare bedrooms available for international runners. Or residents from Staten Island. And serve them breakfast.

NYultrabuddha said...

It was reported there was discussion about having a symbolic, limited run. But apparently Bloomberg rejected it. The whole attraction of the marathon is the excitement of shutting down major parts of the city and creating what is frankly a fantasy playground out of those majestic bridges and roadways for tourists and wealthy New Yorkers. The participation fees cost a couple of hundred dollars, and most of the runners tend to be well-off. The runners are definitely not representative of NY as a whole. As for the tourists and international runners, I'm getting sick of watching these idiots whining about how Bloomberg should have called it off earlier or else not at all since they are here now for nothing. They're bored?!? Much of Manhattan is up and running. I'm sure they can find something to do to entertain themselves and help out the local economy in the process. Or better yet, go to lower Manhattan and volunteer with some of the organizations handing out food, ice and other supplies. Some areas down there are still without power, even though it was proudly announced the lights were turned back on a few hrs ago. I'm sure there are plenty of elderly and disabled stuck in apartment buildings that could really use some athletic runners carrying water and other necessities up the stairs to them.

NYultrabuddha said...

The photo that says it all, NY style:

Meanwhile, also reported in the Post, electrical crews are getting pelted with eggs in CT as they try to restore power there. And I thought Brooklyn was bad! Sad that the workers on the front lines, whether here or in Fukushima, end up getting abused.

NYultrabuddha said...

Some steps in the right direction:

NYC Marathoners Organize to Aid Staten Island

Post a Comment