Why Canceling the NYC Marathon was the Right thing to Do

When you’re a New Yorker life on the water becomes an afterthought, never mind the fact that we’re surrounded on all sides by the stuff. Between chaotic traffic, ever rising fare prices everywhere you move and a little thing called life it’s all too easy to forget that the essence of life itself could cause so much destruction.

By now everyone has bore witness to the horrendous aftermath that Superstorm Sandy left in her wake. For most New Yorkers it feels as if the aftermath was worse than the storm itself–suspended mass transportation, closed business, massive loss of power resulting in city wide blackouts…complete and utter devastation. Then there’s the harshest pill to swallow, the total loss of lives from Sandy have now hit 85 from toddlers to the elderly, the storm has now left indelible damage to the psyche of those impacted.

So, it would seem like with all the damage and death left behind that canceling something as frivolous and demanding on a city such as a marathon would be self-explanatory. Unfortunately for NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg it took much needed pleading, bordering on utterly shameful to get him to wake up and realize why at a time like this the last thing a city in mourning needs is a resource exhausting event.

Lower Manhattan sits cloaked in darkness. Subways (the city’s trademark and lifeline) remain paralyzed south of 42nd street, because of unparallelled damage not seen in the Subway system’s over century old existence. Staten Island, the marathon’s starting place was the hardest hit in all of New York City–bodies were still being out of the rubble while the Mayor was touting about how the marathon should go on.

New York and Long Island respectively have been rocked by another major issue on top of all the aforementioned burdens–gas shortage. Now gas shortage in this instance doesn’t mean a physical shortage of gas, but lack of gas stations providing gas because THERE’S NO POWER. People are lining up by the hundreds in lines hours long for gas as if we’re in a third world nation waiting on food lines. You’d think the Mayor Bloomberg would be more preoccupied with making sure businesses get back up and running, than giving two thoughts about a marathon which at a time like this, couldn’t be more irrelevant.

Thank God the marathon has been postponed, but the very fact that it even came to being a debate instead of common knowledge to move the race at a time when half the city is either under water or in the dark is kind of scary. Have we become a society so enslaved to trivial matters that we’ve lost sight of the bigger picture? This has been nothing short of a travesty–and in the Nation’s hub NYC no less, and we can’t even have the foresight to take into account the loss of life and devastation before our dollars. Proponents in favor of the marathon said that the race would should showcase New York’s resilience to the world. Resilience to what? What in the hell would racers running through storm ravaged neighborhoods with National Guard officers rummaging through the ruins looking for survivors showcase, besides the fact that we’re an immoral society with our priorities totally and completely out of whack.

I thought it was important that I was the one who wrote this article, because I’ve seen first hand just how much devastation has been caused. I’m actually one of the ‘lucky’ ones with power, with a dry home and my biggest gripe being the fact that the trains run once an hour. Sadly I have friends and loved ones not so fortunate, as I type they sit in darkened homes waiting for aid that won’t reach them for 10 days–but they too are the ‘lucky’ ones. Those who’ve lost homes and lives, are the ones who I feel I’m writing this article for. As New Yorker’s we take so many mundane things for granted until they’re all gone and for dozens they learned the hard way through no fault of their own. If Mayor Bloomberg or anyone else wishes to show off NYC’s strength and heart through disaster how about we get the lights turned back on, displaced souls back home, funerals for those lost paid for and towns rebuilt. Maybe they wanted to settle for the abstract meaning in showcasing the city’s fortitude, but at a time like this we can’t rest on a facade doing our bidding we need concrete results to show to the world how truly bulletproof we are.