Addressing a question about complaints from disappointed marathon participants, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said “I wish that we didn’t have a hurricane and that we could have had a great event. Should’ve, would’ve and could’ve isn’t something that I have to worry that I deal with.”
Bloomberg, who spoke during a Saturday evening news conference at City Hall, initially brushed aside a question about the marathon cancellation, saying storm recovery issues were more important. But he turned back to the marathon issue at the end of the briefing.
“What simply happened was that it became a source of dissension, and we don’t need that right now,” said Bloomberg. “And hopefully next year we’ll have a great event where people can come to the city and enjoy what the city has to offer and compete and participate. The spirit of the race is to bring people together. When it became a divisive issue, I just made the decision that it should not go on.”
He said the cancellation led to some good news: about 600 medical blankets readied for the marathon were instead delivered to hard hit residents of Staten Island’s Midland Beach area by volunteers who went door to door Saturday. And 10,000 cases of water were redirected to a central distribution center at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn.
“The situation changes, and it’s a shame that it had to happen, but we’ve got to do the right thing each time,” said Bloomberg. “I’m looking forward and I’m sure all those runners are, to coming back next year.”
On Sunday, more resources are expected to be redistributed.
Earlier Saturday, in an interview with WCBS-TV New York, Bloomberg said, “I still think that we had the resources to do both, and that we want people to take a break and that sort of thing. There are lots of people in this city – some hurt, some not. It’s a big part of our economy. But it was just becoming so divisive that whether it’s a good idea or not, we just don’t need the distraction.”
As many across New York continued to recover from superstorm Sandy, Bloomberg came under fire for saying that the race should be run as planned. Local politicians voiced their concern, and thousands of critics took to Twitter and Facebook to protest the decision.
Bloomberg defended the decision Friday just hours before the race was called off by city and marathon officials, saying, “It does use some resources but not resources that can make a difference in recovery. It’s a relatively small amount.”
The mayor drew a parallel between 2001 and 2012, saying “Rudy (Guiliani) made the right decision” holding the 2001 race after 9/11.
A day later he spoke of the visitors who came to New York for the race. “I’m sorry,” he said in the WCBS interview. “I fought the battle, and sometimes things don’t work out.”
Source: USA TODAY