When you cancel a marathon, like the New York City Marathon on Friday, you're left with a bunch of bottled water, generators, mylar blankets, and lots of energy-giving foods like apples and peanuts. But instead of sending them to the Rockaways or Staten Island, much of those supplies sat unused at the finish line Sunday. It's almost like the New York Road Runners, the marathon's organizer, hadn't learned its lesson in PR over the past week. "The city left more than a dozen generators desperately needed by cold and hungry New Yorkers who lost their homes to Hurricane Sandy still stranded in Central Park yesterday," report The New York Post's Antonio Antenucci, Reuven Fenton, C.J. Sullivan, and Aaron Feids this morning. They add: "[S]tashed near the finish line of the canceled marathon were 20 heaters, tens of thousands of Mylar 'space' blankets, jackets, 106 crates of apples and peanuts, at least 14 pallets of bottled water and 22 five-gallon jugs of water."
The Post's team doesn't say if the supplies were eventually moved to other parts of New York City , but the fact that the supplies sat there at the finish line on Sunday while the race was canceled two days earlier is puzzling considering the marathon had been facing a brutal public relations fallout over its plan to use generators to power a media tent—generators which were powerful enough to light 400 homes—and didn't foresee the public relations problem that would cause. And those pictures of unused goods waiting for runners that weren't coming undercuts the Marathon and its organizers' generous contributions. As NY1's Pat Kiernan reported, they did do their part in donating:
NYRR releases list of marathon supplies donated to victims: 104,000 bottles of water, 35,000 shirts, 23,000 Powerbars & more.— Pat Kiernan (@patkiernan) November 4, 2012
And of course, it's puzzling on a human level considering the stories in the news stream over this past weekend (some just a few blocks down from Central Park). "I no got water. No steam. I'm a sick person. I got problems ... My daughter she is not healthy. My husband is sick, too. This is terrible," a Manhattan public housing resident in the East Village told WNYC in a report on Monday, while the line "We don’t dare throw out garbage at night ... We make sure everything’s done" was found in The New York Times's Cara Buckley and Michael Wilson report on the city's public housing.
Update: This is the official statement from Julie Wood, a spokesman for Mayor Bloomberg:
New York Road Runners rented a number of generators for the marathon. They rented them from several independent vendors around the New York City area - neither the City nor the NYRR owns the generators. When the event was canceled, those vendors determined where to send them, and filled some orders in places outside of New York City - for instance, New Jersey. The City reached out to all vendors but many were unable to fulfill our requests due to lack of large generators, lack of trucks and lack of personnel. However, please note that many of the generators being used for marathon events are not the types of generators most in need for hard-hit areas in New York City - their power output does not match the levels we are looking for.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.