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Friday, November 2, 2012

Anger Over Marathon Plans In Storm-Ravaged New York

Workers assemble the finish line for the New York City Marathon in New York’s Central Park on Thursday. The crane atop a high rise that collapsed during Superstorm Sandy is visible at background left. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

The death toll in New York following Superstorm Sandy now tops 40, including at least 19 on Staten Island, where hundreds of homes were destroyed.

Staten Island is sometimes called the forgotten borough, and residents said they have felt forgotten in the wake of the storm.

The Red Cross is now on the scene, offering bottled water and ready-to-eat meals at five distribution centers.

Staten Island is also where the New York marathon will start on Sunday. More than 40,000 runners will line up at the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge toll plaza.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg decided the marathon should go on, despite the disaster.

Reverend Steve Martino of the Movement Church on Staten Island has set up a small distribution center at New Dorp Beach with a few volunteers.

“We’re having an issue with runners now, people are arriving to run the marathon, they’ve booked hotel rooms but the hotels are refusing to evict the people who came there when they lost their houses,” Martino told Here & Now’s Robin Young. “If this mayor is worried about his legacy he shouldn’t worry about a marathon, he should worry that the people are getting what they need and that they’re being helped.”


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  • nancycarm

    I am also hearing reports of generators and other vital resources being diverted to help the marathon.  I really thought someone was making that up… but now that I see that even NPR is reporting on this…  wow. 

    • Mysterlyle

      After Hurricane Ivan passed over Pensacola, some of us were without electricity for three weeks.  New Yorkers are not special in their desire to stay home even during a mandatory evacuation (many here did also).  Disaster preparedness can absolutely become a matter of life or death.  Storm surge really will fill half your house and if you go out during the storm you have made a decision that could cost you your life.  

  • Thinkin5

    Why are people out of gas? Where are they driving around and using up the gas? Didn’t they fill up before the predicted major hurricane? Plan for the worst and hope for the best. Next time.
    Do the people in these badly hit areas have any idea how wide spread the damage is? Do they know about the millions of others in the same bad straights? Probably not because their power is out.
    How about after the run all the marathoners go help clear debris or deliver meals? All that additional help would be great!

  • Jenny

    Hi – you just said you would look for resources for children and parents during superstorm Sandy. Mercy Corps in Portland, Oregon has a nice article up on their home page about how to talk to kids and help them stay safe.  Just FYI!

  • SDJets

    I find this false opposition between the NYC Marathon and relief efforts to be most unfortunate.  The athletes in the NYC Marathon are community members, supporters, and — especially important for a recovering city — customers.  The Pastor speaks as though the alternative to having 40,000 athletes run in Staten Island is 40,000 people helping to clean the streets of the city.  But it doesn’t work that way.  The alternative is 40,000 people staying home, not being part of the community, not spending their money in Staten Island and elsewhere.  (And a destination race like this cannot be postponed — too many have made plans that can’t be changed.  The only options are hold the race or cancel it.  Should millions in revenue be turned away because some don’t like the image of athletes running by hurricane-affected streets?)

    C’mon Here and Now.  Step up and support the sane point that we can have strong relief efforts AND we can forge forward with life as planned in New York City.

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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