What a run-around!
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.
And that’s not all — stashed 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.
This while people who lost their homes in the Rockaways, Coney Island and Staten Island were freezing and going hungry.
Michael Murphy, of Staten Island, who had no power and no heat, said yesterday, “We needed 100 percent of the resources here.”
“If those generators were here, we maybe could have had some light for the cleanup effort,” he said. “Those generators would really have come in handy.’’
Larry Gold, 61, of Rockaway Park, who has difficulty breathing, can’t use his oxygen tank without electricity.
“I need power to breathe,’’ he said.
“Right now all I can do is sit outside my house and pray that they bring us a generator.’’
A marathon security worker still working yesterday from a generator-powered trailer in the park, said the power sources had not been moved to devastated areas of the city because of an impromptu race run by marathon holdovers in the park.
“Once we found out they’d still be running a marathon, we had to call all the towing vendors and tell them they couldn’t come,” he said.
“We can’t have these trucks coming in with the runners. It’s a safety issue.”
But most runners in the non-sanctioned run around the park were upset to learn they were being held responsible for disrupting rescue efforts.
“I’m sure they could have asked the runners to pause to remove the things,” said Scott Hawley, 31, of Hell’s Kitchen.
“It shouldn’t take long, and if any of us knew this, we would want that to be the priority.”
And the city had no explanation for why it didn’t simply ask the runners to stay out of the way of the trucks — or send cops to clear a path.
City Hall also did not explain why the equipment and food were not moved out of the park on Saturday — since the race had been canceled a day earlier.
Richard Finn, a spokesman for the New York Road Runners, which pledged all its supplies for disaster relief, also declined to say why the food and equipment weren’t moved out earlier.
The club “focused on routing any available resources to the needy in partnership with local authorities, and making our own personal contributions where we can,” he said.
A few of the generators were moved out of the park yesterday morning and Saturday, but Mayor Bloomberg was clueless about where they went.
“I think they went to New Jersey for refurbishment and [to] change trucks and then went elsewhere, if I remember that,” he said, lecturing reporters that the fate of the marathon’s generators was “not a story.”
The Post first reported last week that powerful generators were providing juice for a massive marathon tent in Central Park while hundreds of thousands of storm victims were huddling in the dark and cold.
Bloomberg aide Julie Wood put the blame on the companies that own the rental generators.
She said the firms wanted them back, without explaining why they were still in Central Park.
Wood added the city had also been looking to acquire more generators.
We “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,” she said.
Wood also insisted 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.”
On Staten Island, hundreds of would-be marathoners opted to bring bags of emergency supplies to hand out to homeless and powerless residents.
Justin Siegel, 32, of Manhattan, carried a sack stuffed with fruit bars, baby wipes, hand sanitizer, hats and gloves.
“Rather than pouting about not being able to run, I’m happy to be able to help,” he said.
Staten Islander Anthony Gatti, whose house sustained massive flood damage, scarfed down a granola bar he got from one of the runners.
He said that aside from a ham sandwich and a bowl of soup, it was all he’d eaten in the past three days, “The runners are very selfless to be doing what they’re doing,” said Gatti, 44.
Another Staten Islander, Beth Barton, said nearly a dozen runners helped remove flood-soaked items from her home.
“I thought it’s outstanding that they’re giving their help when they could have been running through the city and enjoying their sport,” said Barton.
“They’re turning their energy that they would have used running to help other people.”
Two marathon generators that were removed from the park before yesterday’s run were chugging away outside the Surfside Manor Home for Adults in Rockaway and the north campus of the Coler-Goldwater Specialty Hospital & Nursing Facility on Roosevelt Island.
Surfside manager Sura Field said the facility was paying inflated rates for diesel fuel for the generator, which she said was big enough “to power the whole building.”
But she was upset that help did not come sooner. “Why did it take so long?’ she asked.
“The storm happened Monday. Then came Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday! If the mayor hadn’t canceled the marathon, we never would have gotten it,” she said.
“It’s horrible. The residents didn’t deserve this. The city should have taken more interest.’’
Coler patient Joe Barnett, who suffers from seizures, said until the generator arrived, there “were no lights on” and “no heat at all.”
“You gotta go to bed with four, five blankets on you,” said Barnett, 68.
“And no hot food! Just sandwiches. Since last week we ain’t got s--t. Some medicine, but that’s about it.”
Monday, November 5, 2012
Bloomberg Still Refuses To Use Marathon Resources For Storm Victims
The NY Post has been covering this story for days. Today they have more: