A heart-wrenching segment from last night's Rock Center shows residents in the Staten Island borough of New York City, still without power, shelter, clean clothes. And they're also without answers about why, in just two days, the city is going on with its plans to divert resources away from cleanup efforts in order to hold a marathon. The whole report's pretty hard to watch - especially the part where the elderly woman is gathering her family photos from a flooded field and crying about not having a house anymore - but it brings into sharp relief how much help is still needed in parts of New York and New Jersey. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano is finally making her way to the island today, and the Red Cross says that it has ten trucks providing aid to residents. But getting to the people who need help has been a challenge; ferry service had been suspended, trains aren't running, and gas is hard to come by. Residents of the borough have expressed disgust over the city's decision to hold a marathon on Sunday, especially since the race's starting line is in the borough and the first stretch of the race takes runners over the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge into the Bay Ridge neighborhood of Brooklyn. One running group in Staten Island is encouraging runners to line up in the start corrals, and then when the starting gun sounds, turning around and running toward victims of Hurricane Sandy and spending their day aiding storm cleanup efforts rather than pursuit of personal athletic goals at the expense of storm cleanup. Non-marathon runners who are in NYC can volunteer in a few ways, although Staten Island-specific relief efforts are tricky because it's tough to get to the island for most New Yorkers who rely on public transportation. The ferry between Manhattan and Staten Island will be open this weekend, though, and people interested in volunteering for the relief effort can sign up here. According to the MTA's website, bus service from the 86th St. R Train to Staten Island should be in operation. Also check out the #sandyvolunteer hashtag on Twitter.
People who insist on running through the middle of a downtown city on streets made for cars when there is a perfectly good wide world of nature out there are....questionable decision makers. Stop holding up traffic, taking city resources, etc, just so that people can watch you run closer to their homes. Run in the opposite direction of downtown for 13 miles, then just...turn around. That, right there, is my super grumpy old man rant of the day. But seriously, they're smug.