As more parts of the city regained power, as Julia and I walked past the entrance to the great park on Central Park West and 100th Street, the nearest playground to our home, an area less than fifty-feet away from the barricade remained closed-off with crime scene yellow tape and a gang of dull metal gates.
The trees I had spotted with snapped limbs and angled trunks, pulled up by their roots from the force of the hurricane were long evacuated by workmen the day after the storm. And still the park did not open to the stressed out public in need of some mental nurturing from nature instead of the kick in the face we experienced days earlier. So, I begin to think all this park safety was not for the citizens.
As the city hastily prepared for the 42nd New York Road Runners Marathon, the annual love fest for the world’s runners hosted by the city, The New York Post reported on Friday that four generators were set-up in Central Park to power the media coverage of the race, powerful enough to light 400 homes, each. New Yorkers love a party. but this was a party that should not go on. After I and thousands of people mounted up their Twitter accounts and Facebook pages and posted their rage at this misuse of power, as our fellow New Yorkers still trapped in the devastation of a ravaged Staten Island calls for help went unanswered, on Friday afternoon, the marathon committee canceled the race.
Power to the people.
Truth is, on some level I understood why they wanted to hold the race. I am a runner. Julia and I regularly hit Central Park, she in the jogging stroller, me as the running mommy, working to stay connect to a sport I have loved since McMichael Junior High.
But each day since the storm blew out, it became clear that the city was not ready emotionally, nor physically to host this marathon, that the marathon hit the runner’s wall just as Hurricane Sandy rolled out Tuesday morning, and the rising sun revealed the devastation left in her wake, a fact that Mayor Bloomberg did not want to concede to anyone or anything until the media+social pressure became too great. Became too loud, powered by the people.
So, no cheers at the finish line in Central Park today. No classic shots of the last marathoner valiantly struggling across the last few miles, alone in the dark, accompanied by the NYPD to finish the race now cloaked in darkness. But plenty of cheers as the power was restored to more homes across more and more of New York City, witnessed while I watched the local news last night. Plenty of smiles as misplaced marathoners donated their time and delivered food and water to those in need Sunday afternoon.
I do not think, as some do, that Mayor Bloomberg is an insensitive lout. Bloomberg, just like many New Yorkers, believed so strongly in his will of accomplishment. So much so, he could not see the big picture, the complete road ahead for his city’s recovery.
Sort of like a single baby mama who decided, after months of harassment from her mother who ships pull-up diapers from Michigan, non-stop , so Julia could begin the potty training my daughter’s pediatrician said was still six months away, so I could “ have them on hand,” grandma had proclaimed, I decided to start potty training Julia, on Monday, during a state of emergency on the east coast of the United States. And I learned, in no uncertain terms, a whole new level of what the phrase “state of emergency” means.