Hurricane Sandy

Manhattan Borough President: City should 'postpone the marathon'

Nov. 2, 2012 at 7:53 AM ET

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer reversed his support Friday to hold the New York City Marathon this weekend, saying the region is far from ready to hold such a monumental sporting event.

“The prudent course of action here — postpone the marathon, come back a different day,” he told TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie. “Our first priority, let’s help people who lost their homes, who are missing loved ones."

Stringer said downtown Manhattan, the city’s financial hub, “looks like a wasteland” and is nowhere close to being ready for the race, which snakes through each of New York’s five boroughs.

Stringer said he understands why New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg decided to move forward with Sunday’s race because "mayors have to think big and try to hold the great events." But this weekend is not the appropriate time to prove its resilience to the world.

“When we fight for our city, we also have to recognize that this time it’s about helping New Yorkers, not the marathon,” he said. “We’ll come back and do that another time.”

Vote: Do you think the New York City Marathon should be cancelled?

Rep. Scott Grimm, whose district includes Staten Island, said he’s angry about the decision, and so are the people he has met this week while assessing the damage left by Hurricane Sandy.

“There are people right now that have absolutely no heat.  They’re still in the dark right now and they have no food,” he said.

Grimm said diverting items such as food, water, generators and fuel to Sunday's marathon just doesn't make sense. 

Read: Companies step up to help victims of Sandy

"To say that we have enough resources is just isn’t accurate. It’s not true, There are still many people who have no idea where they are going to be living for the next 30 days,” he said.

Grimm also disagreed with race supporters who argue that the marathon will bring an economic boost to the region. That reasoning doesn't hold much weight for the people in Staten Island, which has dealt with two days of continuous looting.

“The people that live in these neighborhoods feel that if there’s going be any resources for police officers, let’s have them here and let’s stop looting and things like that before we send them to take care of the marathon,” he said. “I know it’s apples and oranges, but it’s symbolic for us, and it’s how we feel.”

 

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