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Marathon not what New York needs
As of Friday afternoon, the New York City Marathon is still scheduled to run on Sunday as planned. That's a damn shame.
The race starts in Staten Island. Meanwhile they're still finding dead bodies washed up there with many others reported missing.
These are human beings. Our friends, family members and neighbors. All in desperate need. And you want to stage a foot race?
Some people are saying that running the marathon will help with the healing. People need a lot more than chicken soup for the runner's soul. They need cops to conduct traffic and ensure there's no looting. They need food and water. They need heat. They don't need this race. Not now.
Somehow I doubt that a family from Breezy Point, whose house in Queens has been reduced to cinders, will find solace in knowing that the runners have fresh water and orange slices.
Healing? The marathon is a wonderful New York City tradition, but it is a parade. A festival. It requires the attention and resources of thousands of employees and volunteers.
There are legitimate concerns about safety right now. To use resources on monitoring and operating this event is a horrific miscalculation of the gravity of the situation.
I am told there will be a media tent in Central Park as there usually is, and that those tents are being powered by generators big and strong enough to provide power for hundreds of families.
That's a gross injustice.
Don't get me wrong. I understand sports have the ability to lift our spirits, and I am looking forward to Sunday's Giants game. But the NFL game is in a specific location, has a finite beginning and end, and won't require any more resources than it would have consumed prior to the storm. The Marathon is a logistical challenge in the best of times. And these are far from the best of times.
The city appreciates the NYC Marathon. It's a fun day. But even the most level-headed, running enthusiast would understand postponing this. And making charitable contributions, or turning the pre-race party into a soup kitchen for the displaced, isn't going to change the fact that the city needs every last ounce of available resources this weekend.
Humans, water, attention, money. All urgently needed.
A foot race? I can't imagine that's what anyone — including the runners — are focused on.
Mayor Bloomberg, you've been great this week. Tremendous, really. But this is extremely disappointing. Please postpone the race. Don't cancel it. Run it in a few weeks.
It's not too late to change your mind, and send those generators where they can do some good.