Hurricane Sandy: New York Marathon cancelled as city recovers

 

Hours after he said the New York City Marathon would inspire the city to move on after Superstorm Sandy, Mayor Michael Bloomberg did a U-turn and cancelled the race amid outrage over holding a sports event while thousands of residents were without power or, in some cases, a place to live.

Six days after Sandy slammed the mid-Atlantic and the Northeast, the US death toll topped 100 in 10 states, including two young brothers who were torn from their mother's grasp by rushing floodwaters in Staten Island during the storm. Their bodies were found in a marshy area on Thursday. As a hurricane, Sandy earlier left at least 69 people dead when it swept through the Caribbean.

Heading into the weekend, there were clear signs of progress: The Manhattan skyline was mostly lit last night. But the pace of recovery was torturously slow in other ways, with long lines at petrol stations that brought tempers to a boil.

Bloomberg said the Con Edison utility company hoped to resolve most Manhattan power outages by midnight Friday. The news was not as good for the city's outer boroughs and parts of New Jersey, however, where customers may not have electricity until mid-November.

The total damage in the US from superstorm Sandy could run as high as $50bn (£31 billion), according to the forecasting firm Eqecat. That would make it the second-costliest storm in US history after Hurricane Katrina. The estimate includes property damage and lost business.

Bloomberg initially defended his plan to hold the 26.2-mile New York City Marathon as scheduled, then abruptly cancelled it later in the day. Many New Yorkers complained it would be insensitive and divert city resources at a time when many are suffering.

The race had been scheduled to start tomorrow morning in Staten Island, one of the hardest-hit areas by this week's storm, and the site of half the New York fatalities.

"We would not want a cloud to hang over the race or its participants, and so we have decided to cancel it," the mayor said in a statement.

Thousands of out of town runners had arrived for the marathon.

At the midtown New Yorker Hotel, the lobby was filled with anguished runners, some crying and others with puffy eyes. In one corner, a group of Italian runners watched the news with blank looks. "I have no words," said Roberto Dell'Olmo, from Vercelli, Italy. Then later: "I would like that the money I give from the marathon goes to victims."

With fuel deliveries in the East disrupted by storm damage and many petrol stations lacking electricity to run their pumps, petrol became a precious commodity, especially for those who depend on their cars for their livelihoods.

Some drivers complained of waiting three and four hours in line, only to see the pumps run dry when it was almost their turn. Others ran out of petrol before they reached the front of the line.

Police officers were assigned to petrol stations to maintain order. In Queens, a man was charged on Thursday with flashing a gun at another motorist who complained he was cutting in line.

More 3.8 million homes and business in the East were still without power, down from a peak of 8.5 million. Still, across the New York metropolitan area, there were signs that life was beginning to return to something approaching normal.

More subway and rail lines started operating again Friday, and the Holland Tunnel into New York was open to buses.

In New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie said Atlantic City's 12 casinos could reopen immediately after a nearly five-day shutdown. Sandy slammed into the shoreline Monday night just a few miles from Atlantic City, which was flooded and lost a section of its word-famous boardwalk but fared much better than other parts of New Jersey's coast.

The prospect of better times ahead did little to mollify residents who spent another day and night in the dark.

"It's too much. You're in your house. You're freezing," said Geraldine Giordano, 82, a lifelong resident of New York's West Village. Near her home, city employees had set up a sink where residents could get fresh water, if they needed it.

There were few takers. "Nobody wants to drink that water," Giordano said.

There was increasing worry about the elderly. Community groups have been going door-to-door on the upper floors of darkened Manhattan apartment buildings, and city workers and volunteers in hard-hit Newark, New Jersey, delivered meals to seniors and others stuck in their buildings.

"It's been mostly older folks who aren't able to get out," said Monique George of Manhattan-based Community Voices Heard. "In some cases, they hadn't talked to folks in a few days. They haven't even seen anybody because the neighbors evacuated. They're actually happy that folks are checking, happy to see another person. To not see someone for a few days, in this city, it's kind of weird."

On Thursday, police recovered the bodies of two brothers, ages 2 and 4, who were swept away after the SUV driven by their mother, Glenda Moore, stalled in Sandy's floodwaters Monday evening.

The discovery was another heartbreaking blow to Staten Island, whose residents complained has been largely forgotten. At least 19 people have been killed in Staten Island, about half the death toll for all of New York City.

Garbage piled up, a stench hung in the air and mud-caked mattresses and couches lined the borough's streets. Residents picked through their belongings, searching for anything that could be salvaged.

"We have hundreds of people in shelters," said James Molinaro, the borough's president. "Many of them, when the shelters close, have nowhere to go because their homes are destroyed. These are not homeless people. They're homeless now."

A relief fund is being created just for storm survivors on Staten Island, Molinaro and former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said yesterday. And Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and a top Federal Emergency Management Agency official planned to tour the island.

Along the devastated Jersey Shore, residents were allowed back in their neighborhoods Thursday for the first time since Sandy slammed the coast. Some were relieved to find only minor damage, but many others were wiped out.

AP

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Disruption at Waterloo after a person was hit by a train
newsCancellations and disrupted service after person hit by train
Arts and Entertainment
music
Arts and Entertainment
The almost deserted Liverpool Echo Arena on Monday
tvCan X Factor last in the face of plummeting numbers auditioning
News
Kirsty Bertarelli is launching a singing career with an album of songs detailing her observations of “real life”
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Photographer / Floorplanner / Domestic Energy Assessor

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Surrey - £40,000

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Assistant

£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence