Yesterday, Mayor Bloomberg announced the New York City Marathon would go ahead this weekend. But with some parts of the city still in desperate need of attention, the decision to go ahead with the race is increasingly coming under fire.
This morning we showed you seven reasons why New Yorkers are against running the marathon. Chief among them was that the race would draw emergency personel away from storm affected areas to monitor the safety of the race, and that they would be using three generators to house the runners that could be used for more essential purposes. Marathon organizers tried to calm the criticism by donating $1 million to Sandy relief efforts, but it didn't take.
The focus of the criticism is quickly becoming the race's starting point in Staten Island. The area has emerged as one of the hardest hit areas of the City, and relief efforts have been slow to make their way over. One Staten Island hotel owner is receiving some (deserved) praise for choosing to let stranded Sandy victims continue to stay at his hotel instead of honoring reservations he made with marathon participants. There's also a petition being passed around imploring the mayor to delay the race that currently has over 3,000 signatures (and they're coming fast).
Local Staten Island officials are appalled the race is still going considering the shape their borough is in. "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 Staten Island Advance. "To begin this one mile away from where we are still looking for bodies is sinful," Councilman James Oddo told the Advance.
The newspaper columns have started to roll in, too. The Wall Street Journal's Jason Gay isn't sure the race is a great idea. "Still, it is difficult to look out at this city right now and see how 26.2 miles Sunday makes a tremendous amount of sense. New York remains a mess. The city is slowly mending, but downtown is stuck in darkness, and too much public transit remains shut," he writes. The entirety of the New York Post's editorial board decided to take a stand against the race. "Shouldn’t [victims] come first? Shouldn’t the race just be canceled? Damned straight," the Post says.
We have a feeling there won't be very much of the traditional backlash-to-the-backlash here.