This past week, Hurricane Sandy ravaged & savaged a good chunk of the US East Coast. Houses & businesses damaged or destroyed, coastline washed away, power sources knocked out, water supplies contaminated – the whole Hurrican Disaster Scenario.
The difference this time was the utter disinterest ahead of time by so many in the affected areas – after all, there was a big hoo-ha about Irene last year & nothing came of it (although people in Vermont could argue that point). So, a lot of people in the coastal & low lying areas stayed put, thought it would be great fun. Nope.
Power out to over 8 million people, subway & tunnels flooded, gasoline shortages for the few vehicles which could get through the flooded streets & for gas powered generators, entire neighborhoods burned down because fire trucks couldn’t get to the areas, Staten Island & Hoboken still under water, people trapped in their houses, 40 deaths. So, what is the subject of conversation today in the NYC area?
THE NEW YORK CITY MARATHON HAS BEEN CANCELLED!!!
A story in the New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/04/sports/marathons-cancellation-sure-to-carry-huge-costs.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20121104&_r=0 (may be behind paywall) gives both sides of the argument, although it’s mainly complaining about how much good it would have done for the city & should have proceeded as scheduled. Loss of tax revenue from hotels, restaurants, & other businesses along the route are given as one reason for bemoaning the cancellation; “It would make the City feel good!” is given as another reason to hold the race.
Let’s think this through. When the race was officially cancelled on Friday, a good chunk of the 5 boroughs & surrounding area were still without electricity, no water or questionable water quality, some places still under water. This is where you’re going to host 40,000+ out of towners? Doesn’t seem like a good idea. I realize a lot of these people had already arrived by the Friday afternoon cancellation, but telling everyone to come on & enjoy our half drowned & hurting City seems a bad idea.
As for “making the City feel good!” ? Really? No home, no food, no clean drinking water, some suffered deaths of family members or friends, but they want to go cheer on a bunch of people running through the City? You really think so?
This is so tone-deaf to the actual needs of the citizens, it’s a totally different song. When a close family member dies, the last thing wanted is a boisterous party, esp. if you don’t know how you’ll pay the expenses, pay outstanding bills,raise the kids, etc. Maybe in a month or two after the freshest of grief is passed & the money questions have been answered – not the same week. Granted, if it’s a distant cousin who died, you might not be as loathe to attend a party that week.
This was a death in the civic family, where neighborhoods died & others are barely on life support. Saying to the members of your civic family their pain & fear isn’t reason enough to cancel a party in what’s left of their yards is heartless, & so callous as to question the humanity of all who question the decision.