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November 02, 2012

NYC Mayor Cancels Marathon After Criticism

by VOA News

The mayor of New York City has reversed a decision to hold the city's annual marathon, following pressure to cancel the event in the wake of the devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Friday he does not want a cloud to hang over the race or its participants.

Earlier in the day, the mayor said Sunday's race should go ahead, arguing it would boost morale and help the city to raise money.

The initial plans to hold the race angered many New Yorkers, especially those in the hard-hit borough of Staten Island, where about half of the city's 41 deaths were recorded. Residents said any resources that would be used to host the marathon should be focused on the recovery effort.

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Much work ahead

Bloomberg also said Friday that most of downtown Manhattan - the part of New York City renowned for its towering skyscrapers - could soon have power back, although he admitted the work was far from finished.

"For the people who have lost their houses or don't know where they're going to get food or water, have some confidence that we are going to be there for them. We are doing what we can as fast as we can," he said.

​​Bloomberg said while the city's official death toll stood at 41 Friday it could still go higher.  

"For New Yorkers that have lost loved ones the storm left a wound that I think will never heal," he said.

Meanwhile, the entire U.S. East Coast is still trying to get back to business after getting slammed by superstorm Sandy, but it is still anything but business as usual.

Residents hoping to get to work got in their cars very early Friday morning, with New York City's subways and buses still operating on limited schedules.

Gas crunch

The U.S. government said Friday that the Defense Department will buy and transport 22 million gallons of extra fuel to the region to help ease the shortages.

It also said it is allowing foreign ships to help carry fuel from one U.S. port to another, something that is normally illegal. 

Still, for many, the frustration is mounting. Betty Bethea in nearby Newark, New Jersey spent much of Thursday trying to find someplace to gas-up her car.

"It's terrible. You can't even get there. The police have blocked everything off," Bethea lamented. "You cannot get no gas. Everywhere I went the police said 'no gas.' So I come down here and I've been in line over two hours. He said two hours, I've been here almost three hours."

And it could be days before the fuel-crunch eases. 

The American Automobile Association says about 60 percent of gas stations in New Jersey and about 70 percent of those on New York's Long Island are closed.  Many gas stations are unable to operate because they still do not have power.

Lacking basic necessities

For others across the New York area, the concerns are much more basic. New York City's Stephanie Laureano was one of hundreds of city residents waiting in line Thursday for supplies.

"We have no water at all, no electricity, all the food we had to throw out of the refrigerator, so this is very needed right now," said Laureano.

Police say at least 59 people were killed as Sandy pummeled New York City and New Jersey.  Overall, officials now say more than 90 people died when Sandy slammed into the U.S. East Coast.
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​Preliminary estimates have put the total cost of the storm for the East Coast at between $20 and $50 billion. And each day businesses remain closed reduces the region's economic output by about $200 million a day.

Cleanup effort

Emergency workers are pumping out flooded tunnels and buildings as the city and its suburbs struggle to recover. To avoid traffic gridlock, cars with fewer than three people inside are not allowed into the city.

Many transit systems are still operating on limited schedules, and many gas stations are unable to operate because they still do not have power.  The American Automobile Association ((a nationwide motor club)) says about 60 percent of gas stations in New Jersey and about 70 percent of those on New York's Long Island are closed.  

Mayor Bloomberg said the fuel crunch should start to ease soon now that power has been restored to a major pipeline.  He also confirmed the federal government is allowing foreign ships to help carry fuel from one U.S. port to another, something that is normally illegal.  

Still, for many, the frustration is mounting. Betty Bethea in nearby Newark, New Jersey spent much of Thursday trying to find someplace to fill her car's gas tank.

"It's terrible. You can't even get there - the police have blocked everything off. You cannot get no gas," said Bethea. "Everywhere I went the police said 'no gas.' So I come down here and I've been in line over two hours. He said two hours, I've been here almost three hours."

For others across the New York area, the concerns are much more basic. New York City's Stephanie Laureano was one of hundreds of city residents waiting in line Thursday for supplies.

"We have no water at all, no electricity, all the food we had to throw out of the refrigerator, so this is very needed right now," she said.

Overall, officials now say more than 90 people died when Sandy slammed into the U.S. East Coast.

In addition to the deaths in the United States, Sandy claimed 65 lives in the Bahamas, Cuba, Haiti and Jamaica.

Sandy disrupted life across much of the Atlantic seaboard, bringing power outages and floods to coastal cities and heavy snow to the mountains.

In addition to the deaths in the United States, Sandy claimed 65 lives in the Bahamas, Cuba, Haiti and Jamaica.

Sandy disrupted life across much of the Atlantic seaboard, bringing power outages and floods to coastal cities and heavy snow to the mountains.