A runner passes by a large portable generator near the finish Line of the ING 2012 43rd New York City November 2, 2012. Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images
By Andrew Siff, NBC New York
The marathon will not take place in storm-ravaged New York City this Sunday, officials and organizers announced Friday.
Mayor Bloomberg had defended his decision to hold the 26.2-mile race as scheduled on Sunday, although many New Yorkers complained it would be insensitive and divert city resources at a time when many are suffering.
"Those of us who love this city and those of us who love this race recognize that it wasn't the marathon if it wasn't a unifying event," Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson said.
Bloomberg earlier in the day said the marathon would "give people something to cheer about in what has been a very dismal week for a lot of people."
But after growing criticism, the event was called off. Organizers said changing the course or the date didn't make sense.
"The marathon has always brought our city together and inspired us with stories of courage and determination," Bloomberg said in a statement. "We would not want a cloud to hang over the race or its participants, so we have decided to cancel it."
The race had been scheduled to start in Staten Island, one of the hardest-hit areas by this week's storm. Storm victim Josephine Prestovino was emotional as she heard the news.
"Thank God," she said.
Prestovino said the argument that the marathon would help begin to restore a sense of normalcy in the city was naive.
"When it's back to normal -- and I'm speaking for everyone who's been hurt by this disaster -- normal means a roof over their head, a warm bed to sleep in, a meal that you could cook and eat. To wash yourself. That's normal," said Prestovino. "That's where the normalcy begins. That's what people need, that's where it starts, in the home."
An estimated 40,000 runners from around the world had been expected to take part in the event.
Bloomberg still insisted that holding the race would not require diverting resources from the recovery effort.
First Coast News