My wife, kids and I returned to New York in October 2001 to visit the WTC site, family and friends, and to pay respects to my fellow Seido black belt, Captain Patrick Brown, who died with his colleagues from Ladder 3 in the north Tower. It was an unforgettable visit for all of us.
Fast forward to November, and to the third game of the World Series.My family and I were all at our television as President George W. Bush threw out the first ball.
I have to contrast this with the unbelievably crass, emotionally tone deaf proposal to run the 2012 New York Marathon on schedule. Mayor Bloomberg, who seems increasingly jaded by his thankless job, has given himself over more and more to bad advice from his consiglieres. The New York Times recently lionized Mary Wittenberg, the CEO of New York Road Runners. Wittenberg is portrayed in the New York Times,
"Mary Wittenberg, chief executive of the New York Road Runners, had attempted to recast the marathon as a "Race to Recovery" highlighted by a fundraising drive to support relief efforts. Already those efforts have raised $1.1 million from the Rudin family, a longtime sponsor of the marathon, a $1 million commitment from the Road Runners, $500,000 from ING, the event's title sponsor, and what will likely be hundreds of thousands more from runners who have been asked to donate $26.20 to recovery efforts."Let's set the scene. Hundreds of thousands of healthy runners, moving through the five boroughs for their own pleasure, supported by race staff providing them with water, energy drinks and medical attention. Police and fire fighters monitoring roads and bridges still scarred by wind, water and dirt. Fans cheering them on. The roads littered by paper cups and Gatorade containers. Medals and speeches at the end. Would President Obama show up at the finish line to support the "Race to Recovery" as the "Recovery President?" Would Mayor Bloomberg be there for the obligatory photo op to reaffirm their mutual affirmation of global climate change as the biggest problem we've all endured?
Meanwhile, thousands of New Yorkers are just tonight having their power turned on--including my sister--and the hotels are gouging New Yorkers for $500+ per night because of the demand by displaced residents, tourists and friends. What about the New Yorkers who live in Breezy Point who still have to look at this?
Julia Xanthos/New York Daily News
Should the displaced residents take time out to cheer for the marathoners after their homes have been destroyed? You get the idea. There was nothing genuine about the idea to run the race: it smacks of emotional ignorance, arrogance, or of a cynical calculation. Thank goodness someone read the Tweets, blogs and social media to take the public's temperature.
Our family had a chance this year to go back to the former World Trade Center area, where I found an old friend.