As New Yorkers pick up the pieces in Sandy's wake, they're tearing something else to pieces: the city's plan to hold Sunday's New York City Marathon as scheduled. Outrage has been growing since Mayor Bloomberg's green-light announcement on Wednesday. Here's why:
- The starting point: As the Atlantic Wire explains, the race is slotted to kick off in Staten Island, which has been particularly hard-hit and is dealing with some pretty awful tragedies. "We are still taking people out of the water and we're supposed to spruce up the parks for a race?" Rep. Michael Grimm told the Staten Island Advance.
- The resource shift: "To take one resource, one police officer to supervise a stupid marathon is a slap in the face to the borough," Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis told the Advance. The New York Post gripes that one generator that could be providing electricity to many homes "sits idle waiting to power a media center" during the race.
- What some critics want: The race to be held in the spring instead; they've started a petition to that effect.
- The argument for going ahead with it: It is a money maker, explains the AP. The city itself should benefit from about $340 million in race-related spending. And organizers plan to use the race as a launchpad for seeking donations; they plan to pony up $1 million for recovery efforts, and have gotten race sponsors to promise another $1.5 million.
- The hero: One Staten Island hotel owner is being praised for his decision to refuse to boot displaced locals who sought refuge in his hotel in order to honor marathon reservations. Richard Nicotra tells NY1, "How do I tell people that have no place to go, that have no home, that have no heat, that you have to leave because I need to make room for somebody that wants to run that marathon?"