Does the NYC Marathon Override the Human Heart and Human Need?

Staten Island Destruction: AP Photo

Hurricane Sandy has been devastating to New York City. With at least 32 deaths, a crippled mass transit system, burned-out homes and an unimaginable $20 billion in damages, New York has been left staggering.

How do we deal with adversity? How do we respond to difficulties and misfortunes? Do we just take care of our own needs, staying safe and cozy indoors and taking advantage of the time to stay in? Or do we offer help to others? Or, if we are victims of disaster, are we capable of receiving help, if needed?

Living in New York City, many people have felt that nothing as monstrous as Hurricane Sandy could ever happen to them. But natural disasters seem to come out of nowhere. They can happen anytime and anywhere, and it raises the question: what do you do when hard times come upon you in a fell swoop?

I remember living downtown in NYC during the blackout. It was incredibly challenging. I remember having to climb up and down 25 flights of stairs to get to my apartment. We did not have power for three days. I realized how ill-prepared we were for this unexpected outage of electricity. I can’t help but also think about how in the face of Hurricane Sandy, so many people do not have stockpiles of food, water, flashlights, candles, batteries. How can we help them?

Which leads me to the decision to have the NYC Marathon on Sunday, November 4th.  How can the city and the mayor possibly make that kind of a decision when the folks in Staten Island are crying out for food, for people to pay attention to them? Where is FEMA? It is like watching the folks of New Orleans in the lower wards all over again.
Is it because the Mayor think it is important to bring money into the city by having the NYC Marathon? Folks need gas to get to their jobs, restaurants need food and power to be able to be up in business, people need showers, food and to keep warm.  It takes gas to run the generators they have for the NYC Marathon runners. The same gas that families are dependent upon for warmth and electricity in their own homes.  What is more important now?
We are learning in a very harsh way of the interdependence of everything. Who knew that the crane that was on top of the building on W. 57th St.  before Hurricane Sandy, could actually topple over and kill many people. (Fortunately it did not, but it’s still there.) It may be common sense, but who thinks about all of these things before a disaster?

Help does not need to be epic in scale. We can all do things big and small to help our neighbors. For example, something as simple as the joy of children and Halloween lifted my spirits during these trying times. The children were given a Halloween party in my building and they came to trick or treat. Their joy and life encouraged everyone, and helped them to take their minds off what we were going to be in the middle of. Also, my sons called me during the eye of the storm. It was such a simple thing, but it made me feel so good to hear their voices. It was important to know that my son, who lives downtown, did not have power, so I would not worry if I could not get a hold of him.

Little things can sometimes be big things. Hurricanes are big, but they are not as big as the human heart. So no matter what comes our way, let us love big. Love really can change the world, one moment or gift at a time.

About Sherri Rosen

Sherri Rosen began her own publicity firm in NYC more than sixteen years ago. She gives a powerful voice to people that are doing great things in the world. Sherri also writes for Redhead's Rap at Sherri Rosen Publicity Intl, NYC, Mr. Bellers Neighborhood and Elephant Journal. You can connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.


  1. Richard Aubrey says:

    It’s pretty simple. Bloomberg endorsed Obama and he’s against global warming. Plus, he took your salt, transfats and sodas.
    Everything else is irrelevant.
    He’s perfect.

Speak Your Mind