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New York Marathon Diverts Scarce Resources After Sandy

Mayor Bloomberg has decided to hold the New York Marathon Sunday even though  millions are still without power and the city infrastructure is unable to cope with normal activity.

NYT (“Marathon Presses On as Backlash Builds“):

With the death count from Hurricane Sandy growing, hundreds of thousands still without power, and air, rail and ferry service struggling to resume, some runners and elected officials have called for Sunday’s marathon to be canceled or postponed. Police, fire and other essential public services, they said, should be focused on helping those most in need.

Nevertheless, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, aware that the marathon generates hundreds of millions of dollars for the city, repeated Thursday that the race would go on. He did not expect the Police Department to be overly burdened because the race is on a Sunday, when street traffic is limited. Many parts of the city, including Lower Manhattan, are expected to have their power back, freeing other workers.

“The city is a city where we have to go on,” Bloomberg said at a news conference Thursday afternoon.

[...]

With air and rail service only now starting to resume, many runners have yet to reach the city. Once they do, other accommodations will be needed. For now, the Staten Island Ferry transportation option to the start line is in doubt, and runners who hoped to get to the start line by ferry may need to take a bus instead. Typically, about half of the runners in the marathon take that route to get to the start line at the toll plaza to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge on Staten Island.

Runners will have until Saturday, instead of Wednesday, to withdraw from the race. They will be guaranteed a spot in next year’s race, but will not have this year’s entry fee refunded.

The marathon has escalated into political fodder, with elected officials issuing statements about the appropriateness of staging the race.

The likely Democratic candidates for mayor of New York offered their opinions. William C. Thompson said the race should be canceled because “our neighbors are hurting and our city needs to make them its priority.” John Liu, the comptroller, told Reuters that it should go on because “it’s a big economic generator.” Bill de Blasio, the public advocate, also supported the decision to hold the race, saying, “The event is a city institution that delivers tremendous economic activity.”

New York Daily News (“Staten Island residents plead for help from Mayor Bloomberg after storm“):

Outer-borough residents pleaded for help Thursday, claiming their Sandy-ravaged neighborhoods are the forgotten victims of the killer hurricane — and nowhere was the anger more palpable at the storm’s Ground Zero: Staten Island.

Even as the city and feds rushed food, water and generators to the borough, residents and their elected officials fumed that Staten Island was being prepped as the starting line for Sunday’s New York City Marathon, even as the rest of the island is left to deal with the aftershocks of the mega-storm.

“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 Daily News. Earlier, Oddo called the idea of hosting the marathon as “idiotic” on his Facebook page.

[...]

Meanwhile, FEMA and the city were trucking badly needed food, water and hundreds of generators — donated by the Caterpillar Corp. — to the hardest hit parts of the island. Free food distribution centers were hastily prepared at two drop off points: Mill Road and New Dorp Lane, and at an empty lot at Yetman Ave. and Hylan Blvd. Food will be handed out again Friday.

“We have the worst tragedy that’s ever happened in Staten Island, and I’d say New York City, since 9/11,” said Borough President James Molinaro. “We need help … We need food, we need clothing, we need everything you can possibly think of.”

New York Post (“Marathon is power mad!“):

Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers huddle in the dark each night after the most devastating storm in city history — while two massive generators chug away in Central Park and a third sits idle waiting to power a media center during Sunday’s NYC Marathon.

Like hell.

Those generators could power 400 homes on Staten Island or the Rockaways or any storm-wracked neighborhood in the city certain to be suffering the after-effects of Hurricane Sandy on Sunday morning.

Shouldn’t they come first? Shouldn’t the race just be canceled?

Damned straight.

But Mayor Mike’s trademark Manhattan myopia is back: While ravaged outer-borough New Yorkers shiver in the dark, he declares the race will go on.

(Can anyone say “Christmas Blizzard?”)

As The Post reports today, the industrial-strength generators have been set up to power a marathon tent.

Meanwhile, NYPD vehicles — and cops themselves — were diverted yesterday to race duty. More than a dozen flatbed trucks used to shuttle people and supplies to and from devastated areas were dispatched to help put up . . . spectator barriers.

Meanwhile, the notion that so much as a flashlight battery would be devoted to a sporting event is outrageous.

The mayor’s rationale is not without merit: aside from being a huge tradition, the Marathon is a source of significant revenue and civic pride. And, presumably, things will in fact be better on Sunday than they are today. Still, even pre-race preparations are a massive diversion of resources for a city that can ill afford it.

Yesterday, Bloomberg ordered that no passenger car be allowed into the city carrying fewer than three people. There are checkpoints and people violating the order are being turned away, usually after having been on the road for hours trying to get in to the city to make a living. While I’m not sure where exactly Bloomberg derives the authority to impose such rules, it nonetheless strikes me as a reasonable measure under such extreme circumstances.

But at a time when it takes heroic measures for people in the outer boroughs to get into the city to work, why would you allow tens of thousands of outsiders to come in to run a race? At a time when huge numbers of locals are displaced from their homes and forced to live in hotels, why would you turn them away to accommodate out-of-towners engaging in recreation?

UPDATE: Apparently, at least some hoteliers have decided to not honor the reservations of marathoners so as not to displace Sandy refugees. Fine. But what kind of moron do you have to be to make that call and yet not have the courtesy to contact those who you’ve promised rooms to so that they can make other plans?

UPDATE (Doug Matacconis): Mayor Bloomberg announced late Friday afternoon that the Marathon has been canceled.

via Mike Lyons

Related Posts:

About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Rob in CT says:

    Dumb. Particularly when paired up with the complaints from Staten Island.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  2. Fiona says:

    I’m pretty amazed that they decided to go ahead with the marathon. Seems they’d have other priorities.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  3. DC Loser says:

    I don’t understand it either. Where are his priorities? That the race starts in Staten Island is an irony that’s not lost on anyone. But I guess Mayor Bloomberg is trying to project the British stiff upper lip “Carry On” attitude in the face of crisis. But then again New Yorkers are a tough bunch and not a bunch of wusses either.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  4. Idiot says:

    It’s amazing that there semi-serious calls to delay the election over Sandy, but not the NYC marathon. It’s all about priorities.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  5. john personna says:

    It’s NY’s call. It wouldn’t surprise me if it was their consensus.

    @DC Loser:

    Less “keep calm” than “you lookin’ at me?”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  6. Mikey says:

    I’m a marathoner and I initially liked the idea of keeping the NYC Marathon on schedule, but after seeing how bad things still are and talking to friends and relatives on Staten Island and in New Jersey, I think it’s too soon. Too many people are still displaced and too many resources that would be better used for storm relief are being diverted to race support.

    They should postpone the race. A week might even be enough. But right now there are still too many people needing help.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  7. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Believe it or not there actually is more at work here than the obvious points that Bloomberg is a loopy statist with misplaced priorities. It touches upon cultural and provincial issues that are very unique to New Yorkers and especially to effete New York liberals, like Bloomberg. The New York Post in that quoted article touched upon it.

    There is a micro class of New York liberals who view Manhattan as the center of the entire universe and even the other boroughs of New York City as “the sticks.” Bloomberg falls within that demographic. Things in Manhattan are not so terrible, ergo in the cocooned mind of Bloomberg things elsewhere in the City must not be so terrible.

    This sort of deranged thought process goes back decades. In the 1970′s, when the South Bronx looked a lot like Stalingrad circa 1942, and murders were being committed daily in places like Brownsville and South Jamaica, New York liberals in Manhattan were busy with cocktail parties and art shows and if you asked them how things were in the City they would have told you things never had been better. Not only were they cocooned as to what was going on nationally they were cocooned from what was happening only miles away from their penthouses and lofts.

    Bloomberg is the embodiment of the Manhattanite liberal space cadet. It’s not at all surprising that he’s insouciant of the reasons to postpone or to cancel the marathon.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 16

  8. john personna says:

    This kind of thing is going on:

    Helping to get deep cycle batteries, chargers, etc to disabled couple on 12th floor of dark Manhattan apartment building, to run survival necessities

    It’s being done by crowdsourcing … but I hope there is enough organization to make it systematic

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  9. JKB says:

    Bloomberg is a moron. The stress hasn’t peaked yet. In Katrina about day 5 or 6 you could see it on people’s faces. A civility reigned because most people just wanted to punch somebody. I’d expect to see that happening this weekend in NYC.

    And we shouldn’t forget with every MSM and blogger obsessed with NYC and particularly Manhattan, just like Katrina and the obsession with New Orleans, that the real devastation isn’t being discussed and the victims in NJ being mostly ignored. Remember most of Manhattan’s “victims” are only impacted by loss of power and some flooded transportation infrastructure, not flooded or wiped out homes and businesses like the real disaster areas. NYC thinks it is the center of the country but really they are only the center of the backside of the country.

    On the upside, this is a deep blue area where people are learning not to put their trust in government. Use it but don’t count on it when you are in distress.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 18

  10. The problem is that most of the people running the marathon aren’t professional runners. They’re normal people who have spent the last year preparing for this, including amassing thousands of dollars to pay for their entrance fee. Postponing the race is not going to also postpone their airline tickets, hotel rooms, time off work etc.

    Is it fair to tell all those people, “Sorry, you just completely wasted your time and money because Bloomberg wants the chance to look more sensitive”?

    It’s really easy for us all to sit here judging, when the decision doesn’t impact us either way. How many of you calling for a postponment are offering to help the runners impacted by it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 8

  11. Rob in CT says:

    Is it fair to tell all those people, “Sorry, you just completely wasted your time and money because Bloomberg wants the chance to look more sensitive”?

    That’s how you see this? Wow.

    How about, sorry, you just completely wasted your time and money because a catastrophic storm struck the area. Disaster relief is priority 1 and sorry but you don’t rate. We really do apologize for the inconvenience.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1

  12. Franklin says:

    I haven’t been paying much attention, but New York is a big city. Not everything needs to stop just because one section is disabled. BUT, if the race is really starting on Staten Island, which is one of the most troubled areas, this does seem wrong. And I’m a runner and a “the show must go on” type of person.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  13. Rob in CT says:

    the real devastation isn’t being discussed and the victims in NJ being mostly ignored

    This is simply not true. Pictures/stories about New Jersey are everywhere. Also, too: by yesterday afternoon, Staten Island was highlighted in story after story, as having been ignored relative to Manhattan.

    How do I know that these things are, in fact, being discussed? Simple. Google news. Story after story after story. In the awful, terrible, no-good “MSM.”

    NYC thinks it is the center of the country but really they are only the center of the backside of the country.

    Ah, yes. There it is. I’m sure the folks in the non-Manhattan buroughs and New Jersey appreciate your concern.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  14. JKB says:

    @Franklin:

    let it go on but without city police, medical and other resources needed to meet the needs of those in the disaster. Or simply pull all those resources from those now serving the un-impacted areas leaving them bereft for the duration.

    Starting it in Staten Island might mean a good start for the race as the runners are chased off the island by the residents. I hope the training included a little bit of sprint training.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  15. Rob in CT says:

    Here’s a comprehensive roundup of the status of things, if folks are interested:

    http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Hurricane-Sandy-MTA-Seaside-Heights-Breezy-Point-Chris-Christie-PSEG-NJ-Transit-176699531.html

    Coastal CT is still pretty screwed up, but the rest of us are nearly back to normal. I had power back when I got home from work yesterday, which was nice (generator is certainly better than nothing, but line power > generator!).

    The transit lines are slowly coming back up. Metro North is running again. The LIRR has some (very limited) service, but is still mostly down.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  16. @Rob in CT:

    Disaster relief is priority 1 and sorry but you don’t rate. We really do apologize for the inconvenience.

    Is the marathon actually using resources that would have otherwise been used for disaster relief? It’s not like search and rescue teams or utility repair crews are in high demand for foot races. I get the impression this is almost an entirely an optics issue.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  17. Ben says:

    @Rob in CT:

    Things are not as “back-to-normal” for everyone, you know. My wife’s cousins in Brooklyn are still functionally homeless since their entire house still full of raw sewage.

    Screw the marathoners. People are suffering, and resources and manpower that could be used to help the people still affected are being wasted on a BS event like this.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  18. Mikey says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    My heart really goes out to the runners. It sucks to have to defer (I know this first hand), it really sucks if you bought a plane ticket you can’t use, it sucks to train for six months and have the race cancelled.

    But it sucks a lot worse if you lost your house and your car and have to stay in a hotel and then you’re told you have to find somewhere else to stay because someone from someplace unaffected by Sandy is showing up to run a marathon. It sucks a lot worse if you’ve been without power and water for a week and the generator that could have powered your block is being used to power something marathon-related.

    Sandy was utterly catastrophic. I’ve heard it may end up second only to Katrina in cost. I know it will be hard on a lot of people who hoped to run the marathon, but their hardship is nothing in comparison to many of those who lost nearly everything to the storm.

    Here’s what a New York friend just told me: “Bloomberg is getting hammered now because he hasn’t cancelled the marathon. There are dozens of huge generators sitting in Central Park, not being used in places they are needed. FEMA and the Red Cross just got to Staten Island last night. Cabs in NYC are stopped cause they have no more gas. If you find a gas station that’s pumping, you’ll be on line for hours. There is no subway service south of 34th St. Busses are a joke. The best way around Manhattan is by foot. And Jersey, Staten Island and Long Island have been hit much worse by far. If the people of America think this disaster has been overcome, they are sorely mistaken.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  19. @Mikey:

    It sucks a lot worse if you’ve been without power and water for a week and the generator that could have powered your block is being used to power something marathon-related.

    This is what I mean about it seeming to be mostly optics. Could that generator be powering your home? Sure. That doesn’t mean if the race is cancelled that it’s going to be. Cancelling the race isn’t going to improve the lives of people in Staten Island; it’s an entirely symbolic sacrifice.

    And again, it’s easy for us to sit here an cluck our tongues when there is not personal cost to doing so. If you’re so worried about generators, why not go buy one and send it to the disaster area?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  20. michael reynolds says:

    Bloomberg is right.

    This goes to core self-definition. Are they victims or they New Yorkers? There are always other places that resources could be applied. I mean, should the NYPD be directing limo traffic around Lincoln Center while crime us afoot?

    It’s the defiant thing to do, it’s the economically smart thing to do, it’s the New York thing to do.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  21. Mikey says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Could that generator be powering your home? Sure. That doesn’t mean if the race is cancelled that it’s going to be.

    But if the race goes on, it definitely won’t be. Read what James put up in his post–resources being used in storm relief have already been diverted to marathon-related duties.

    Another item from my New York friend: “Right now thousands of displaced people have been told they must leave their hotels by marathon day.”

    The “optics” here are those of Mayor Bloomberg and others who want to put up a brave front and show how “tough” New Yorkers are. Well, they’re tough, that’s certain, but there are higher priorities that are getting pushed aside to “prove” it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  22. JKB says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Well, Bloomy can all up George W. Bush and learn about how optics can be used against you.

    For some reason, a comment regarding NJ turning away non-union power crews got spam foldered.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  23. JKB says:

    @michael reynolds: It’s the defiant thing to do, it’s the economically smart thing to do, it’s the New York thing to do.

    Defiant of the terrorists after 9/11, good.

    Being defiant in the face of Mother Nature, loony.
    Sandy doesn’t care, neither will the next storm.
    The only thing that matters here is recovery and moving on. Reality bites.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  24. Rob in CT says:

    @Ben:

    My comment was unclear. “Most of us” meaning here in central Connecticut. Not in NYC, Long Island, New Jersey…

    My wording was careless.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  25. michael reynolds says:

    @JKB:
    Defiance isn’t just about the defied, it’s about the defier. It’s not good for people to start seeing themselves as victims. It used to be that conservatives believed that, until of course they became the biggest whiners in the country.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  26. Geek, Esq. says:

    @john personna:

    It’s not the consensus here. We can’t even take a train between Manhattan and Brooklyn, but we’re supposed to allocate precious recovery resources for a road race going all over the place (including areas that were severely hit by the floods)?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  27. @Mikey:

    But if the race goes on, it definitely won’t be. Read what James put up in his post–resources being used in storm relief have already been diverted to marathon-related duties.

    The resources aren’t be diverted though. From the New York Post:

    The New York Road Runners Club, which organizes the world-famous race, is paying for the generators, which were supplied by Long Island-based On Site Energy

    These aren’t city owned generators that would otherwise being used for rescue efforts. They’re privately owned generators that a private organization paid to bring in from outside the city. If the marathon were cancelled, they wouldn’t be helping people in Staten Island, they’d be back in Long Island with all the other generators the company is right this minute offering for rent.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  28. James Joyner says:

    @michael reynolds: I’m all for defiance and getting on with it. But this is less than a week after the greatest natural disaster to ever hit the city. And when the city can’t even get people in to go to work yet.

    Will they be able to pull off the race? Probably. But at what cost to New Yorkers?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  29. Rob in CT says:

    Michael,

    That really is a strange argument you’re pushing. It’s not encouraging a victim mentality to actually use all available resources to respond to a natural disaster. There are people w/o shelter. I don’t know if you know this, but it’s getting a tad nippy up here in the Northeast. If you’ve got a generator that could help with that but you’d rather use it to run a sporting event, your priorities are screwed up.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  30. Rob in CT says:

    If the marathon were cancelled, they wouldn’t be helping people in Staten Island, they’d be back in Long Island with all the other generators the company is right this minute offering for rent.

    Which should be rented and used in the recovery effort.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  31. Rob in CT says:

    Because, you know, a massive % of LI has no power. Powering extra shelters so there is heat might – just might – be an intelligent thing to do.

    I hope someone at FEMA is having a word with Bloomberg about this. Or maybe Cuomo is the proper person, being one step up rather than 2. Either way. Somebody talk sense to the man, please.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  32. @Rob in CT:

    Which should be rented and used in the recovery effort.

    Maybe they should, but they aren’t, as evidenced by the fact the company still has generators available. Cancelling the marathon isn’t going to change that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  33. michael reynolds says:

    Close the race down and not only does NYC lose millions, it sends the message that NYC is out of business, prostrate. It’s not. The stock market is open, the city north of 39th has power, everyone I talk to in my slice of the business community expects publishing to be back on Monday. Want to say this marginalizes Staten Island? Staten Island doesn’t pay the bills, Manhattan does. NYC is going to need money, which means taxes collected from businesses. The last thing they should be doing is sending the message that they’re out of business.

    A few months from now New Yorkers will be bragging about how, a week after Sandy, they staged the NYC marathon. It will become part of the New York legend.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  34. Rafer Janders says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Is the marathon actually using resources that would have otherwise been used for disaster relief? It’s not like search and rescue teams or utility repair crews are in high demand for foot races.

    Well, yes, it does use resources, mainly in the form of cops — lots and lots of cops — who line the route, set up crowd barricades, etc. Right now those police are all extremely busy helping direct traffic, doing clean-up, guarding sites, assisting in rescue and recovery, etc. etc.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  35. rudderpedals says:

    I’m not sure about the diversion of resources point. The presence or absence of a marathon isn’t going to amount to a hill of beans difference in the time to get power restored.

    If I worked for The Racing Club I’d tell the suits to turn the race around and have folks carry cans of gas from Central Park to Staten Island. It would be a terrific opportunity to pitch in for the host city that nourished it and help turn away the bad publicity the Club’s gotten in the last few years re increased fees and such.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  36. Rafer Janders says:

    @Geek, Esq.:

    We can’t even take a train between Manhattan and Brooklyn, but we’re supposed to allocate precious recovery resources for a road race going all over the place (including areas that were severely hit by the floods)?

    Actually, the race route entirely avoids areas that flooded.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  37. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Is it fair to tell all those people, “Sorry, you just completely wasted your time and money because Bloomberg wants the chance to look more sensitive”?

    See: God, Act Of.

    Also: Shit Happens.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  38. @Jenos Idanian #13:

    See: God, Act Of.

    No, the actual storm would not be what’s preventing the marthon. And as much as Bloomberg may think he’s god, that does not make his edicts Acts thereof.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  39. mattb says:

    @Rob in CT:

    Because, you know, a massive % of LI has no power.

    Not just power, but gas. Areas where homes flooded have had the gas turned off for fear of explosions — many folks didn’t turn off the gas prior to the flooding. The possibility of an out pilot light filling the house with gas is not a good one.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  40. Franklin says:

    @Ben:

    Screw the marathoners …

    Your colors are showing through here. You don’t participate in marathons therefore it’s a “BS event”. There are other people in the world beside you, Ben.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  41. Franklin says:

    By the way, I’m leaning towards your side of the issue, you just sound like one of those people who is oh-so-irritated by events like parades or anything else that gets in the way of your precious busy life.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  42. Ben says:

    @Franklin:

    I understand it sounds callous, but I was being provocative on purpose to show how ridiculous it is. Really, where are our priorities here? This would be akin (although not quite on the same level) to trying to have the Super Bowl at the Superdome a week after Katrina.

    If people really are being thrown out of hotels in favor of people coming into town for the marathon, that is is despicable. And the car traffic situation is so ridiculously out of control, wouldn’t the hundreds and hundreds of cops be better put to use elsewhere? And not only that, I bet you that a good portion of those cops are going to get overtime pay to work the marathon. That’s yet more money the city could spend instead on flood relief and power restoration.

    And that’s not even to get into the idea of the generators. I understand that they aren’t city-owned, and were privately rented. Why ISN’T the city renting them and using them to restore power temporarily?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  43. Mikey says:

    @Stormy Dragon: It’s more than just the generators–public safety personnel and transportation assets that had been working in the devastated areas have been diverted.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  44. @Ben:

    And not only that, I bet you that a good portion of those cops are going to get overtime pay to work the marathon. That’s yet more money the city could spend instead on flood relief and power restoration.

    They are, but like most events of this nature, that overtime will be paid for by the organization running event (in this case the New York Road Runners Club and their corporate sponsor ING), not out of tax dollars.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  45. JKB says:

    I’m convinced. The race should go on. The 1% should not be denied their amusements just because the working class were wiped out by a historic storm.

    Love the optics. Where’s Obama? Does he hate white working class people?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  46. @Ben:

    Why ISN’T the city renting them and using them to restore power temporarily?

    To whom? Setting aside how they afford this, it’s unlikely there’s enough generators for more than a tiny fraction of the homes without power right now. How do you decide which homes get them?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  47. john personna says:

    FWIW, I think there is a lot of back-seat driving from people who are not New Yorkers and have less data.

    I think it would be pretty silly for me to have an opinion from the opposite coast.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  48. Janis Gore says:

    @john personna: Yeah, john. That’s a local issue.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  49. Mikey says:

    @john personna: I have plenty of family in New York, and none of them favors the race happening this weekend.

    Your family may vary, of course…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  50. michael reynolds says:

    @john personna:

    I think it would be pretty silly for me to have an opinion from the opposite coast.

    Jeez, John, you’re undercutting the entire premise of OTB. What’s next? Insisting we actually know what we’re talking about?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  51. Jen says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    The problem is that most of the people running the marathon aren’t professional runners. They’re normal people who have spent the last year preparing for this, including amassing thousands of dollars to pay for their entrance fee. Postponing the race is not going to also postpone their airline tickets, hotel rooms, time off work etc.

    I’m reminded of the story from earlier this year (I believe) of the man climbing Everest who saw a fellow climber struggling. He stopped to help, even though it meant that he wouldn’t summit that year–which meant, of course, that he might not ever make it to the summit because of the time, training and expense it takes to climb Mt. Everest. When asked why he stopped, he said it was the right thing to do.

    People can run another marathon. I just cannot fathom why the city would divert resources when there are people who need help.

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  52. Janis Gore says:

    I just donated to the American Red Cross through weather.com. They and their partners will match your donation.

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  53. wr says:

    @Ben: “And not only that, I bet you that a good portion of those cops are going to get overtime pay to work the marathon. That’s yet more money the city could spend instead on flood relief and power restoration.”

    When cops get overtime pay to work an event like this, it’s not the city that’s paying — it’s the event. Certainly that was the case with the cops who worked at the bottom of my street when I lived right above the Rose Bowl, and I doubt that New York is any different from Pasadena in that regard.

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  54. wr says:

    @JKB: “The 1% should not be denied their amusements just because the working class were wiped out by a historic storm. Love the optics. Where’s Obama? Does he hate white working class people?”

    Ooh, look, something else JKB knows nothing about. A marathon isn’t a polo match or a yacht race. If you’d ever participated in one you’d know that the racers (and volunteers) come from all across the socio-economic spectrum.

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  55. wr says:

    When did Republicans become such p*ssies and losers? They’re always talking about their can-do, pioneer spirit, but whenever there’s a challenge, whatever it is turns out to be too hard, and we should just give up on it. This is a perfect example.

    I’m with Reynolds. New York should give a big upraised finger to those whiners who say the city is too darned battered to go on with a world-class event.

    You Republicans want to lay down and die whenever there’s a challenge. Well, be my guest. But while you’re busy whining about how hard everything is, try to stand out of the way of people who are willing to do the real work.

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  56. Mikey says:

    @wr:

    A marathon isn’t a polo match or a yacht race. If you’d ever participated in one you’d know that the racers (and volunteers) come from all across the socio-economic spectrum.

    That’s the great thing about running–all you really need is a decent pair of shoes. You can go in for all the other fancy stuff–”technical” shirts, nutritional supplements, a coach, whatever–but the basic things are just a decent pair of shoes and the great wide world.

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  57. john personna says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Talking smack is fun, but I see limits.

    Geez, on a more serious note, JKB talking smack about how he’d direct the gunships.

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  58. sam says:

    I dunno. New York City: We’re gonna run the marathon. Fvck You, Sandy.

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  59. Janis Gore says:

    I’ve heard that Sandy gives as good as she gets.

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  60. Just Me says:

    Having the marathon is stupid.

    I realize that some people will be out money they spent on plane fair and the like, but I think the dumbest thing ever would be to divert various first responders to manage a marathon when people have no power and may lack or be low on supplies.

    Helping to get the city cleaned up and people in their homes or a home seems like it should be the priority.

    There just seems to be a disconnect here.

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  61. Geek, Esq. says:

    @JKB:

    You get the “excrable attempt to race bait the President’ award for the day.

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  62. LCB says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Oh, I don’t know. How about to power shelters for those who have, yah know, lost there fricken houses due to the storm.

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  63. LCB says:

    I’m sorry, but to me this ranks right up there with Bush telling us to go on with our lives as normal after the first 9/11. Uh, NO…we were at war people. Either put the country on war footing or don’t go to war. You can’t really have it both ways and do a good job.

    Same with Sandy. Use all of your resources for ALL of your burrows…THEN worry about stuff like the marathon. Like someone suggested above…delay it a week or two. Yeah, some people wouldn’t be able to make it, but sometimes life just sucks!

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  64. Janis Gore says:

    The Weather Channel just reported that the marathon has been canceled.

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  65. Janis Gore says:

    New report: confirmed through the mayor.

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  66. JKB says:

    @Geek, Esq.:

    yes, because in 2005 that moron black entertainer didn’t accuse Bush of hating black people. Simply because he didn’t pick up the slack fast enough after the Democrat mayor and governor proved incompetent.

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  67. @LCB:

    Oh, I don’t know. How about to power shelters for those who have, yah know, lost there fricken houses due to the storm.

    So you’re advocating that the city government start siezing privately owned generators based on whether it thinks the actual owners are the “right people”?

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  68. @LCB:

    Yeah, some people wouldn’t be able to make it, but sometimes life just sucks!

    Yeah, some people don’t have power, but sometimes life just sucks!

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  69. Michael says:

    @michael reynolds: From what I understand, most of the people in the most effected areas are Working Class Liberal Democrats who’ve paid their taxes and contributed their fair share to their communities. in many cases, they’ve helped their fellow New Yorkers with their own time and money. If they’re whining, it’s because they’re being mistreated by Mayor Bloomberg and other Liberal Elites who seem to either have no idea what’s happening to them or to not care what’s happening to them. That’s the reason they’re being asked to sacrifice in the middle of this and the reason they’re complaining now.
    This has nothing to do with politics or whether someone is Liberal or Conservative – This has become an issue of simple fairness.

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  70. Green Line says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

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  71. Green Line says:

    I don’t know who gave the thumbs down, but you hit the nail right on the head. It was probably mostly Manhattanites who gave the thumbs down because you called them out on it. I see this from Manhattanies (that they think Manhattan is the center of the universe), and the media feeds right into it. Turn on a comedy on television that’s set in New York City. The characters almost always live in Manhattan, and they have disparaging remarks about the other boroughs. I even saw one show where a character was talking about moving from Manhattan to Brooklyn, and friends and co-workers were looking at her likes she crazy or was talking about moving to Siberia or something.

    Manhattanites must realize that ALL five boroughs make up the “city”, not just Manhattan. Would New York City have 8 million people if it wasn’t for the other boroughs? Would New York City have the largest subway/elevated network if it wasn’t for the rails that run through the other boroughs as well? Why is Manhattan called “the city” and the other boroughs are not considered that? It should be that if you are in any of the five boroughs you are in “the city”, and everything around that is not the city. Don’t leave the other boroughs out of “the city” moniker.

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