The Show Doesn’t Always Have to Go On
I’m a Jersey girl, born and bred. Yet I remain far removed from the tragedy that has swept my home state and the boroughs and outlying areas of New York City. Physically, anyway.
We live outside of D.C. now, in a suburb in Virginia. We were apparently in the storm’s path as well, but it swept by with minimal damage in comparison to what we have endured through other storms that have hit our area.
From the updates I receive, friends and family are safe. Power outages abound. Trees have fallen but our homes and property have been able to survive it. The Jersey Shore as I knew as a child is gone. Most of my friends who have seen it believe it can never be restored.
This is a picture from Staten Island, NY. Staten Island is one of the most devastated of the outer boroughs of NYC. Every person living here has been impacted or has had loved ones impacted.
The casualties in Staten Island account for half of the number of casualties throughout the New York metropolis. And while help is coming, Staten Island residents wonder why it’s not coming faster.
Amidst all this devastation, Staten Island will also be the starting point for the ING New York Marathon, still scheduled to start on Sunday morning. Mayor Bloomberg’s decision seems to be heavily influenced by the fact that the race generates hundreds of millions of dollars for the city.
I get that. I actually even get how powerful of a message a race like this could be towards New York’s recovery and healing. In 2001, just a few weeks after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, I participated in the Marine Corps Marathon and we ran past the Western side of the Pentagon, where the devastating wreckage was visible for all the runners to see.
But we were further down the path to recovery. The full death count had been tallied. Families were grieving but some level of normalcy had been established, there was no lack of electricity, running water and critical resources, like food and gas. Public transportation had been fully re-established.
I imagine that the 2001 New York City Marathon must have also been incredibly healing for the city, restoring pride for citizens. Creating hope. A beautiful symbol of the resiliency of a city that would not allow a treacherous terrorist attack to maim it any further.
As we sit here in 2012, we are facing different circumstances. A week ago, a natural disaster which was beyond anybody’s control left with it a wave of destruction that very few have recovered from. Not far from the starting line for the Marathon is the wreckage that we once knew as Staten Island.
It is no longer recognizable.
They have no light. No homes. No water.
Some have lost family.
Bloomberg says that none of the resources being used for the Marathon (EMTs, Police Officers) are being diverted from the efforts to assist those still recovering from Sandy. However, if the resources are available, why are not they being sent to provide further aid to the boroughs of Queens and Staten Island?
The Verrazano and Queensboro bridges will be closed that day, leaving Staten Island further isolated from New York City.
So where am I going with this? Why in the hell are we holding a Marathon right now when we should be helping people get back on their feet? Restore critical resources. Stop the risk of additional looting, a threat to the safety and security of the citizens in all five boroughs.
I am not vilifying anybody, especially not the runners, many of whom I know have worked hard to qualify for this race and have travelled great distances to participate.
I just am very confused. And really shocked that Mayor Bloomberg, a man I hold great respect for, is allowing this to happen.
I will continue to pray for those who still need help.
And I hope you will too.
NOTE: As of this evening, Friday, November 2nd – the Marathon has been officially cancelled. Thank you, Mayor Bloomberg.