You have to admire Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He's can get it remarkably right in one public instance and then fail really bad, falling flat on his face in another. His endorsement of President Obama was spot on and timely. As a citizen of the city, I can say that his leadership during this storm has been pretty good considering. But then in the midst of this horrible city tragedy, he announces that this weekends ING NYC Marathon will go on as scheduled leaving critics, supporters and even sports figures dazed and confused. It's no secret that this past week in NYC has been a tragic eye opening experience. Never in my life have I ever felt like a refugee in my own city, my own Borough of Kings, Brooklyn. But that's what Hurricane Sandy left us with. New York City is experiencing civil calamity with limited trains, power, patience, traffic; you name it, it's limited. Sadly, it seems Sandy has also dimmed the mayor's sensibility.
Wednesday night, Mayor Bloomberg asked the NBA to postpone the opener of the Knicks versus the Brooklyn Nets game in Brooklyn. Obviously the city had just barely come out of the storm and with the water flooding the city and all the power issues, NYC was in no shape or form to host anything. Broadway was called off, schools were closed and the subways were shut down. Search and rescue efforts were still ongoing. New York was mobilizing its emergency efforts. All throughout Tuesday, but especially Wednesday, the total devastation in the Tri-State Area slowly and painfully became apparent. People had lost everything including loved ones in an instant. The power being out in lower Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn mixed with the dangerous standing flood waters in the train and car tunnels paralyzed the city. Four hour traffic jams, people rummaging through dumpsters to find food, bad store owners price gouging helpless people; it's all going down in parts of the city severely affected by the storm. Meanwhile in the rest of the city, albeit the heavy traffic, it's business as usual.
Bloomberg, to his credit is a very aggressive mayor, sometimes for bad, more times then not though, for good. But choosing to allow the Marathon to be run through the city during a time when so many people are hurting has sent the wrong message. Now I don't in anyway condone or support the New York Post, but their front page headline "Abuse of Power," which shows a picture of two power generators powering up a marathon tent, is pretty spot on. I agree that NYC is a resilient city in every aspect. When it comes to tragedy we must and always do move on. But the marathon is run through every borough. People line the streets and clap for runners marveling at these amateur and professional athletes who are brave enough to run in this famous long race. Make no mistake with all that has happened, there will be a lot less people out there to clap or who even feel like clapping. Some participants can't even get into the city with the extensive traffic delays and canceled flights.
Right now this city needs some morale boosting and I don't know if a marathon is going to do it. I don't know if a few ball games can do it. The borough of Staten Island and some of the communities in southern Brooklyn and Queens are crippled really bad. It takes a lot of police and volunteer man power to commandeer a race that encompasses a large city. That great man power could be used to help give some of those communities cope. Yes, New York needs to show that it is resilient and can move forward, but we also need to catch our breaths and make sure we've rescued everybody. Even the Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade and LeBron James questioned tonight's game at Madison Square Garden versus the Knicks. The NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers are altering their flying plans by coming to NY for their game against the Giants on Sunday, game day, so they won't take hotel space from victims. A lot of people lost their lives in Staten Island and right now the residents feel very neglected by the city. Yet the Mayor is insistent about running the marathon through the borough across the Verrazano, the symbol of this borough, in a time of need.
There are some that argue these games and this marathon need to happen for fiscal purposes. The marathon brings in a lot of money through sponsorships and commerce. I think Bloomberg is smart enough to realize that most New Yorkers and Americans for that matter, know how to move on through adversity. But all those police who police these events, those emergency personnel on hand for these events, especially the marathon, you have to ask yourself why their mayor can't figure out this is a "bad call." Other people need these officials' help. I'm just saying.
Until we read again...
Brandon 'TNT' West
Music Exec / Industry Insider/ The Andy Rooney of Hip Hop Culture
Holla at him @tnt718