As we mentioned this morning, the city of New York has been split on whether or not to go forward with the annual New York Marathon this Sunday. And by “split,” we mean “overwhelmingly but not unanimously opposed to.” Concerns about resource allocation, lodging, and deployment of police and emergency personnel made the marginal bonus of tourist dollars seem like a poor counterargument. (That the media tent generators are already humming didn’t help.)
The post we ran this morning detailed the destruction seen in Staten Island, the New York borough that is also home to the marathon’s start. This afternoon, BuzzFeed compiled 21 photographs taken near the starting line, showing litter-choked streets, overturned cars, and abandoned possessions. Nineteen of New York City’s 41 Sandy-related deaths occurred on Staten Island — and officials expect that figure could rise.
The marathon is a great event, intentionally winding throughout the five boroughs and ending in the city’s crown jewel, Central Park. But New Yorkers broadly felt that this year, after this past week, it sent a much different and unwelcome message. This Sunday, instead of cheering on runners, they can get back to a much less fun and much more urgent task: cleaning up.
Update: ABC News has additional information:
“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,” the mayor said in a statement. “The marathon has always brought our city together and inspired us with stories of courage and determination. 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.”