In New York, Lights Are Back On But The Race Is Off

In New York City on Friday, the lights came on in more of Manhattan and the annual marathon was called off. Margot Adler talks to Robert Siegel.

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

In New York City, the lights are coming back on and the race has been called off. For details, I'm joined now by NPR's Margot Adler in New York. And, Margot, first, where has the electricity been restored?

MARGOT ADLER, BYLINE: Well, to about 65,000 homes mostly on the Lower East Side and the East Village. But remember that there are about 200,000 people that lost power. And I'm going to walk out in a couple of minutes and I wonder if two blocks from here, where the black out area begins, I wonder if Lord & Taylor's has lights, maybe not.

SIEGEL: And Mayor Bloomberg said this weekend's New York City Marathon has been called off. What's the reason for that?

ADLER: Well, you know, Bloomberg really wanted it to go on and there are many reasons for it to go on. The marathon brings hundreds of millions of dollars into the city. And even before Sandy, I saw that Monday during the beginning of the storm, I saw all these runners from all over the world, you know, running, streaming - and people were streaming in New York, foreign accents everywhere and foreign languages everywhere, people were training. It brings in all this money.

But there was so much criticism. Basically, politicians were telling him, you can't do this. People were saying this is insensitive. There are people without food, without water, and here you're going to have this race, you're going to use all this police, basically, that should be dealing with the question of looters.

So suddenly, he was essentially forced to put out a statement just, you know, very, very recently to basically say that even though the marathon brings all these people, brings New York together, that it's a tradition that's gone on for 40 years, that he doesn't want a cloud to hang over the race and its participants. And so, he just called it off.

SIEGEL: And it was that image of the diversion of resources toward a race when people are in such dire straights that seems to have done it, you're saying?

ADLER: Yes. And I think also the pressure from all kinds of politicians and people.

SIEGEL: OK. Thank you, Margot.

ADLER: It's a pleasure.

SIEGEL: That's NPR's Margot Adler in New York.

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