"We're gonna die! We're gonna freeze! We've got 90-year-old people!"-A Staten Island resident who doesn't appreciate how important the NYC Marathon is.
There are no words to describe Michael Bloomberg's decision to allow the NYC Marathon to be run as scheduled this Sunday. If there were they would include, callous, despicable, contemptible and criminal. But those words do not convey the level of stupidity and cruelty involved.
Each year the NYC Marathon starts its five borough tour of the city on Staten Island. Right now Staten Island is a disaster area in every sense of the term. The majority of the deaths in NYC from Sandy happened on Staten Island and vast swaths of the Island (which is essentially a barrier island for Manhattan) are still flooded, homes have been destroyed, people are missing (door to door searches for the dead haven't begun yet) and survivors have been left with out food, water and shelter.
Just yesterday the bodies of two young boys who were ripped from their mother's arms by raging floodwater were discovered.
It's much worse than we knew in NYC. Outrage In The Powerless Zone: A Dispatch From Downtown Manhattan
I just returned from Manhattan. I ran for 5 hours with stops, covering 12 miles in total, scoping the island from west to east. You will not hear these stories from the Mayor or Governor; these are my observations, informed by discussions with real people who live in lower Manhattan:
1) Virtually every retailer, restaurant and grocery store south of 38th street is CLOSED. This is in an area covering 8 square miles. I only observed a handful of bodegas in Soho and the East Village, along with Ben’s Pizza on W3rd and MacDougal serving customers. Whole Foods Union Square had a sign reading “because there is no electricity, we cannot open.” There is no food, other than what you have in your refrigerator.
2) To that point, there are close to 400,000 people living below 38th street without power. The mayor earlier said it could be 3 days without power; some Con Ed guys I spoke with in the East Village think it could be longer. Nobody knows.
4) For now, this is an economic crisis - hourly workers cannot be paid, freelancers have no clients, small businesses have no sales, office buildings are shuttered. In my estimate, the lost output is $1 billion dollars EVERY SINGLE DAY that goes by without power for lower Manhattan. Included in this number is the shutdown of our major airports and transportation system. (Note that NYC’s economy generates $2.8 bn daily and over $1 trillion annually - which makes it the world’s 17th largest economy, if it was a country).
5) There is no running water or flushing toilets for people living in the Jacob Riis Houses and surrounding NYCHA buildings on the Lower East Side. In my estimate, this is roughly 20,000 people. One family I spoke with is packing their bags and moving to Brooklyn until services are restored. But it did not appear that all residents were evacuating, even as their toilets did not flush.
6) I did not witness a single Red Cross Truck or FEMA Vehicle or in lower Manhattan. Recall the assistance these agencies provided after 9/11 - this is NOT HAPPENING. There are bound to be hundreds of elderly people, rich and poor, who live on the upper floors of buildings with elevators that are now disabled. IF POWER IS NOT RESTORED, THIS WILL MOVE FROM BEING AN ECONOMIC DISASTER TO A HUMANITARIAN DISASTER.
7) If you think Chinatown normally has an unpleasant odor, imagine what it smells like 24 hours following no refrigeration. Street vendors were trying to unload perishables at bargain prices. I saw a fish weighing roughly 20 pounds and spanning 3 feet from head to tail go to a buyer for $1 dollar. $1 dollar!!!!!