Storm Sandy: New York marathon cancelled after protests

3 November 2012

The BBC’s Mike Wooldridge: “In some places frustration is now boiling over”

This year’s New York City marathon has been cancelled in the aftermath of the super storm Sandy, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced.

In a statement, he said: “We would not want a cloud to hang over the race or its participants, and so we have decided to cancel it.”

Plans to press ahead with Sunday’s event had prompted widespread anger in cyclone-ravaged parts of the city.

Ninety-six US deaths, 40 of them in New York, have been blamed on Sandy.

The storm had already killed 69 people as it swept across the Caribbean.

Across the US East Coast, some 3.5 million homes and businesses – 1.2 million in New York state alone – still have no electricity, four days after the storm made landfall.

Petrol shortages have also caused forecourt confrontations from New Jersey to Connecticut – one motorist was arrested after pulling a gun during an argument at a petrol queue.

In a bid to ease the fuel crunch on Friday, the US waived a law that normally bans foreign oil tankers from entering its north-eastern ports. Continue reading

Hurricane Sandy and the Mayor’s “Disaster Capitalist” Priority: The New York Marathon

Friday, Nov 02 2012

‘The city is talking about getting ready for the marathon… we’re pulling bodies out of the water’: Congressman lashes out at New York officials for pushing ahead with event … New York residents are angry that emergency services are diverted towards Sunday’s marathon … Generators could be used to provide power for homes left without electricity for four days

By Eddie Wrenn and Beth Stebner, One News Page (UK)

2 November 2012

Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers are still suffering black-outs, with wide swathes of the city still without electricity.  But the media centre for this Sunday’s New York Marathon – which is still going ahead despite the widespread devastation landed on the city – will no suffer such problems.  For organisers have installed two emergency generators, as well as a back-up, to keep news of the event flowing.

The three generators could provide power for 400 homes – and the revelation has prompted outrage in a city which, in parts, has suffered four nights without heat or electricity.

In Central Park today…

Ready for action: The New York Marathon will still go on despite the city's widespread devastationReady for action: The New York Marathon will still go on despite the city’s widespread devastation

In Staten Island today…

The other side: Dulce Espino (left) and Viridiana Cruz weep in their Staten Island neighborhood where many houses were completely destroyedThe other side: Dulce Espino (left) and Viridiana Cruz weep in their Staten Island neighborhood where many houses were completely destroyed

At a news conference Friday, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended his decision to go ahead with the marathon as a way to raise money for the city and boost morale less than a week after Sandy knocked out power and left a death toll of nearly 100 people.

He noted that his predecessor, Rudolph Giuliani, went ahead with the New York Marathon two months after 9/11.

‘If you go back to 9/11, Rudy made the right decision in those days to run the marathon and pull people together,’ Bloomberg said.

The mayor added that the marathon’s organizers are ‘running this race to help New York City, and the donations from all the runners in the club will be a great help for our relief efforts.’

Earlier this week, the mayor said the race wouldn’t siphon off resources from the storm recovery, noting electricity is expected to be restored to all of Manhattan by race day, freeing up ‘an enormous number of police.’

The course runs from the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge on hard-hit Staten Island to Central Park, sending runners through all five boroughs. Continue reading