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Sunday, November 4, 2012


Though I had recognized it could be viewed tactless, initially I supported Mayor Bloomberg’s decision to hold the NY's Marathon as scheduled, believing it would imitate a return to normalcy after the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy. 

Living on the seventeenth floor in a building on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and hardly affected by the storm (though my neighborhood was flooded by the East River) I could afford such thinking. But as the suffering faces of those who were less fortunate than I kept appearing on TV, especially residents of Staten Island (from where the Marathon was to start), I became increasingly ambivalent about holding the race this weekend. 

But then I walked in Central Park today, as I had done yesterday and the day before, and I made up my mind, siding with those who demanded that the Marathon be canceled or postponed. 

Deviating from my regular path, I found myself at the finishing line of the canceled Marathon, where one could hardly recognize that the event was canceled: Amid cheering crowds there were hundreds of registered runners who refused to let the canceled race spoil their plans.  Many wore their orange shirts, some with their bibs attached. Their resilience was not what bothered me. On the contrary.

Before calling off the race the mayor had assured Staten Islanders and residents of other devastated communities, who were both angered and offended by the Mayor’s original decision, that the resources they needed for recovery would not be channeled toward the Marathon.  But it could hardly be the truth. When I looked today at the completed preparations for the race, including the park cleanup after the storm, the installed bleachers and the portable toilets, I knew the preparations 
required many working hands that should have been cleaning Sandy’s aftermath in those destroyed communities. 

As for the storm, first I watched it through my windows. The East River promenade and the FDR were immersed in water, transformed into one big river. I dared to go out onto my terrace, seeing nature in its mighty grandeur. The sight was fierce but awesome. Standing on the 17th floor feeling the strong winds and seeing the gushing river was a powerful experience. Then, like a few other crazies from the neighborhood I went down to the water to take pictures. The wind was ferocious, knocking down trees, the water mad. It was truly unforgettable.

My daughter, her husband, and my two grandchildren, who live in Long Island, have been staying with my husband and me since last Sunday. They have had no power in their home and it may not return for another week. Cousins who live in downtown Manhattan had no power till Friday. They came to our home daily to bath and charge their electronic devices. I have been cooking and cleaning round the clock, playing with and reading to my grandchildren, feeling extremely lucky in the aftermath of Sandy. 


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