The boom in people on bicycles, skateboards, push scooters other people powered transportation in the aftermath of Sandy has been amazing to witness over the last few days. With NYC’s public transit system crippled, more people learned it was the quickest and easiest way to get around town.
That’s been the beautiful part.
The tragic part is that there are so many people in NYC and NJ whose lives have been upended by the devastation that Sandy caused. Whether or not they can travel safely by ‘alternative’ modes of transportation is the least of their worries right now. These people need food, water, shelter, electricity, heat and other basic living necessities. They need our help.
This morning I was talking with a friend about how upset I was that the NYC Marathon was still scheduled to take place. I told him that I just didn’t think it was the right thing to do, knowing the situation that so many people were in. In my opinion, I felt if it would take place, they should turn it into a way to get relief to those that needed it most instead of an athletic competition.
Kudos to Mayor Bloomberg to listening to the many voices who spoke out today. He cancelled the Marathon. On a symbolic and economic leavel, I understand his initial reasoning for wanting the Marathon to go on. But he did the right thing. Tears of joy came to my eyes when I saw this:
So I’ll be out there tomorrow with my friend Kim Burgas and our bicycles doing our best to help out with the relief efforts too.
If you live in NYC and can help out, please do what you can. If you don’t live in NYC and want to help out do what you can.
I had originally planned to do a photo post of all the people I saw getting around today by bicycle. It just doesn’t seem right. I’ll put together a photo set later.
But I will end with one photo
These folks are from the Netherlands. They came to NYC to run the Marathon. I met them while volunteering at the Transportation Alternatives Commuter station hub in Times Square.
I asked them about how they felt about the Marathon being still scheduled to go on (the cancellation hadn’t been announced yet). They patiently listened to me as I told them my misgivings about holding the Marathon as usual and my ideas as to how the runners could turn this into an amazing act of humanitarian aid instead of athletic competition.
Having lived in the Netherlands for a year and half, I can attest to how awesome the Dutch are. My friends from my time living there are my family. Whether or not the brief conversation I had with the people in the photo above had anything to do with the tweet below, I thank them for listening.
There’s a lot that’s unsaid in this post. I’m just too emotional about the situation to write at any more depth. Let’s get to work helping out those that need. Period.