Environment, News

NYC Marathon Cancelled In Aftermath Of Superstorm Sandy

New York marathon on Verrazano bridge
Runners during the New York marathon on Verrazano bridge, 2005. Image: Martineric

Two days before this year’s New York City Marathon was to take place, it was cancelled.

The marathon is one of the largest in the world, with more than 47,500 runners, most of whom travel from out of town to the city for the 42.2-kilometre run. The run was to have been held on Sunday.

New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg cancelled the event because New York was still trying to clean up after having been hit by a devastating storm.

Superstorm Sandy hit the Caribbean and the eastern coast of Canada and the United States last week.

It came onto land in New Jersey (the state south of New York State) on the east coast of the U.S., on Monday, Oct. 29.

The storm did massive damage to New York and New Jersey as well as more than a dozen other states and provinces. More than 8.5 million people lost power at some point during the storm. The storm caused flooding in many homes and its powerful wind destroyed many buildings. It also flooded many streets and the New York subway system.

Damage from the storm is estimated in the U.S. alone at more than $50 billion.

Because so many people lost their homes, possessions and even their lives (about 90 people were killed in the storm), Mayor Bloomberg made the difficult decision to cancel the annual marathon.

He had originally said the race should go on as a symbol of perserverence; however, he changed his mind two days before the race in the face of New Yorkers’s outrage.

Now, New Yorkers are busy trying to get the city back on its feet. Emergency mobile gas stations are going around the city, distributing free gas to people (up to 38 litres per person).

The power has come back in millions of homes but as of the weekend there were still millions more who haven’t had power since Sandy hit.

The New York skyline during the blackout
New York skyline when half the city was in blackout due to a power failure during Hurricane Sandy. Image: David Shankbone

U.S. president Barack Obama praised the heroism of Americans who helped each other during the worst moments of the storm. He said the country was humbled by nature’s destructive power.

By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Here is some more information to consider:

1) The New York marathon is a massive race, requiring many police officers, fire fighters and even the U.S. Coast Guard and army reserve personnel to help keep all of the runners safe.

2) Its starting line is in Staten Island, one of the areas hardest hit by the storm.

3) More than 30,000 people travelled to New York to take part in the race; they rented hotel rooms (which are particularly expensive in New York City).

4) The marathon brings more than $340-million to the city (the money that visitors spend on hotel rooms, food and other expenses).

Given that information, why do you think the race was cancelled? Did Mayor Bloomberg make the right call? What else could he have done?

Reading Prompt: Extending Understanding
Before you read this article, what did you already know about Superstorm Sandy? How did you find out this information?

How does what you learned in this article compare to what you already knew about the storm?

Extend understanding of texts by con- necting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Extend understanding of texts, including increasingly complex or difficult texts, by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Grammar Feature: Naming Storms
Since a storm can last for a few days or more, there can be more than one storm happening in the world at the same time. So storms are not confused, weather forecasters give each storm a name. How they name the storm is according to a rule. Each year, the first tropical storm of the season is given a name that starts with A, the second storm is given a name that starts with a B, and so on. The letters Q, U, X, Y, and Z are not used because there are few names that begin with these letters. Male and female names are alternated.

Knowing this, what could the next storm be called?