Despite the ongoing efforts to recover from the devastation Hurricane Sandy left in its wake throughout many areas of New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced that the annual NYC Marathon will go on as planned — but some find the idea ridiculous.
With thousands of residents still without power and many of them homeless, New Yorkers, and observers around the nation, have balked at Bloomberg's intention to carry out the 2012 NYC Marathon this Sunday.
Stephen Gordon, a Virginia resident, tweeted sarcastically, "Good to see NY/NJ back on their feet. Resources, like water and generators, can now be moved to the NYC marathon where they are needed."
Many observers were appalled that Bloomberg reportedly decided to divert food supplies and power generators from struggling residents in areas like Staten Island, which was hard hit by the storm.
Aura Seay also found it shocking, writing on Twitter, "Wait, the NYC Marathon hasn't been postponed?!? Are they crazy? Security, water, etc. will be diverted from relief efforts!"
One Twitter user suggested, however, that the city had more to lose by cancelling the marathon, writing, "I understand concerns about the NYC Marathon, but cancelling it would also lose MILLIONS of tourist dollars at a time they really need it."
Mayor Bloomberg said as much during a press conference Thursday.
"The bottom line is, some people said you shouldn't run the marathon. There are an awful lot of small businesses that depend on these people," the mayor told reporters.
However, many New Yorkers saw the needs of their neighbors devastated by Hurricane Sandy to be of more pressing concern. Even those who had planned to participate in the NYC Marathon have dropped out, and are encouraging others to do the same.
As Gawker reports, "A Brooklyn woman scheduled to run in the NYC Marathon is gathering a group of runners to volunteer on hurricane-battered Staten Island Sunday instead of running the race."
Others have launched petitions and a Facebook page, titled "Cancel the 2012 NYC Marathon", in hopes of persuading Mayor Bloomberg and other city officials to change their minds about keeping up the event this Sunday.
A Change.org petition started by Brooklyn resident Desiree Borrero, and titled "Mayor Bloomberg, Governor Cuomo, NYC Road Runners: Cancel or Postpone NYC Marathon on November 4, 2012", is directed at "the president of the United States". The petition states as among its reasons for wanting the marathon postponed or cancelled:
"People have lost their children from their arms while fleeing the surges, houses have collapsed, businesses have been destroyed, and loved ones have perished. People don't have shoes to walk the streets, clothes on their backs, gas to get around, or even food. Homes are still underwater. Power isn't even close to being restored and looters have begun to hit the streets. There are homes still to be searched, missing people to be found, hungry people to be feed, children to clothe and families to shelter."
The petition has received more than 3,000 supporting signatures, while the "Cancel the 2012 NYC Marathon" Facebook page has attracted more than 3,000 likes Friday morning.
Despite the dissent, many runners remain supportive of the NYC Marathon going on as planned, and have expressed appreciation for the many volunteers who will help make it happen. The Associated Press news report below offers that side of the story: