Days after Hurricane Sandy ravaged a good chunk of the East Coast, Mayor Michael Bloomberg made a bold announcement: the New York City Marathon would go on as planned.
Understandably, this decision has garnered mixed reactions.
On one hand, you have supporters of Mayor Bloomberg’s “This city is a city where we have to go on” approach, who point to the estimated $340 million economic boost that this marathon brings with it and note that it is exactly what New York needs right now. Plus, they argue, there is something inspirational about not letting a natural disaster derail citizens from doing what they want to do – despite all obstacles.
On the other hand, you have people dismissing Mayor Bloomberg’s decision as nothing more than a blatant money grab. They point to the fact that more than 8,000 of the 47,500 entrants originally expected to participate won’t be able to. They point to the 20+ miles of road that needs to be shut down, and the thousands of police and medical personnel that need to be on hand to make sure that everything goes according to plan. They, quite movingly, point out that painting a rosy picture with a high-profile event doesn’t change the horrific, tragic reality that people hit by Hurricane Sandy will have to deal with in the coming weeks and months.
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The arguments from both sides are compelling.
As someone who isn’t from the East Coast and wasn’t impacted by this hurricane in the slightest, I have no opinion on this. New Yorkers are more than qualified to determine what should or shouldn’t occur in their city without outside opinion. That said, I couldn’t help but be moved what Kris LoPresto’s wrote today in the Huffington Post. And while I don’t want to sway public sentiment either way, his words are what I’ll leave you with:
I don't want to have streets cleared along the marathon route unless every street has been cleared of downed trees and power lines. I don't want to be handed a free cup of Gatorade unless every single family in Rockaway has the same luxury. I don't want people cheering me on when nurses who saved thousands of lives did so in complete darkness. I don't want to reach that finish line before the city I love and live in crosses that finish line and cleans up after this natural disaster. I love the NYC Marathon. It changed my life. 75 hours and 401 miles later; I say to hell with it. Just postpone the damn thing.