Friday, November 2, 2012

NYC politician calls mayor's refusal to cancel marathon 'idiotic'

The number of New Yorkers calling for Mayor Michael Bloomberg to call off Sunday's ING New York City Marathon in the wake of Hurricane Sandy is growing.

Staten Island,  one of the hardest hit areas in New York City and the starting point for the 26.2-mile race, is still cleaning up their storm-ravaged neighborhoods and the anger in the crippled borough is so high, a local councilman has called the mayor's refusal to call off the race "idiotic" on his Facebook page.

"The notion of diverting even one police officer, one first responder, one asset away from this carnage is beyond irrational," Councilman James Oddo told The New York Daily News.

Staten Island is the scene of some of the most tragic stories and images to come out of the devastating storm.  Just yesterday, two young brothers' bodies were found, after they were swept away from their mother, and numerous photos of trapped residents being rescued from their homes on the South Shore were all over the news.  Residents are still pleading for help from the city.

The thought of tents, food, water and generator-supplied power catering to the perky 47,000 runners at the marathon's starting line — while despondent people go cold, wet and without power nearby — is just one reason Staten Island residents are joining a "Boycott the 2012 NYC Marathon."

Bloomberg, meanwhile, held firm on holding the race.

"This city is a city where we have to go on."

"Keep in mind by Sunday we'll have electricity back downtown," he said.  "That will free up an enormous number of police.  Also, a lot of the transportation needs that we have during the week aren't there on the weekends."

A lot of the registered participants, who have trained for the race, are having second thoughts about running through a course with a backdrop of destruction and despair.

The New York Road Runners Facebook page has been filling up with requests to cancel this year's race — or at least postpone it.

The NYRRC has promised to donate $1 million to the Sandy relief.

Ironically, the runners will begin their run with a carnival-like start at the entrance to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, then jog forward into Brooklyn leaving their disposable clothing and empty water bottles amongst the destruction Sandy left behind.

Maybe some will look back over their shoulders.

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