The organizers of the annual New York City Marathon and Mayor Michael Bloomberg are going ahead and staging the marathon Sunday, just days after Superstorm Sandy swept through the area.
I’ve seen the pictures, but I really don’t know the extent of the damage Sandy caused New York City, New Jersey and other areas of the Northeast. I do know that the borough president of Staten Island is not happy with Mayor Bloomberg. The Staten Island president said this is no time for a parade, and that’s what a marathon is, a parade.
The New York City Marathon starts in Staten Island, crosses the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in to Brooklyn, then through Queens, into Manhattan to the Bronx and back to Manhattan where it finishes in Central Park.
More than 40,000 runners are expected to line up in Staten Island on Sunday morning. A few of those runners will be done in a little more than 2 hours. Some will need 8 hours to finish the race. That’s a long time to keep roads closed.
Could organizers have delayed the race for a week? I suppose, but when you have 40,000 people planning to converge on your city for a weekend, delaying it could be difficult, especially when several thousand of those are coming from out of the country.
I can’t imagine the logistics it takes to get 40,000 people on an island that is served by ferries, a couple of bridges from New Jersey and the aforementioned Verrazano-Narrows Bridge from Brooklyn when there has been no disruption by a devastating superstorm. Race organizers plan to supply shuttle service into Staten Island.
I don’t live in New York and haven’t been there since 1999, so I’m sure my comments don’t really add anything to the discussion on whether Mayor Bloomberg is right to give the marathon the go-ahead, because, frankly, I don’t know if he’s right, or if the borough president of Staten Island is right. It does seem rather soon to be running a race through the five boroughs.
UPDATE: On Friday afternoon, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg canceled this year’s race. He caught a lot of flak, not only from the Staten Island borough president but also from Manhattan’s.