Superstorm Sandy has ravaged the East Coast, leaving millions without electricity and resulting in the canceling of major events. But the resilience of New Yorkers might just shine through again if the annual ING New York Marathon goes on as planned.
New York City was hit with record waves, and parts of Manhattan are now "underwater," according to a New York Fire Department spokesman. Obama has issued disaster declarations for New York and New Jersey.
But the 2012 New York City Marathon is still scheduled for Sunday.
"New York Road Runners is carefully monitoring Hurricane Sandy and its possible impact on the marathon and Race Week events. At this time, we anticipate no changes to any of our public events," the organization said in a statement posted on the marathon's website.
On a conference call today, the Associated Press reported that New York Road Runners President Mary Wittenberg indicated that there was still time for the city to recover before Sunday's big event, which snakes across all five New York City boroughs and over a number of major bridges that are still closed.
"We're extraordinarily lucky the marathon is not today," Wittenberg said. "We have time on our side.''
From the starting point at Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island to the finish line in Central Park, the marathon for the most part sidesteps the low-lying areas that were most affected by Sandy.
The Jacob Javits Center, where 20,000 runners slated to race traditionally pick up their numbers, could prove a trouble spot, however, as it's located in New York's Zone A, which is under flood-related evacuation orders. Organizers said the Javits Center would open on Thursday as scheduled, and the expo hours would be extended to accommodate late arrivals, said Wittenberg.
New York Road Runners stages more than 100 events a year, but the marathon is its biggest. The 40,000-plus member organization has staved off severe weather challenges in the past, including last year, when it managed to hold the marathon in the wake of a severe storm that struck the region the previous week.
Runners who can't make it to New York because of canceled flights or other thwarted travel plans can defer running in the marathon until next year, said Wittenberg.
"We are going to give everyone time to get here, and if they have to cancel, we will give them the chance to cancel up to Saturday," Wittenberg said. "We remain extremely confident we will have an amazing weekend."
Another late October bright spot for New Yorkers is the annual Village Halloween Parade, a massive spectacle that takes over Sixth Avenue in Lower Manhattan on the evening of Oct. 31.
The parade, typically attended by thousands of New Yorkers and tourists too, includes hundreds of floats, performances, puppets and dance artists, and was slated to go on at 7 p.m. Wednesday, according to the parade's website. But on Tuesday it was announced that for the first time in nearly four decades, the parade would not go on this year.
"For the first time in our 39 year history, the Mayor's Office of Emergency Management and the New York Police Department have canceled the parade," the organizers said in a statement on the parade's official website. "We hope that everyone who would have come to the parade is safe, and that those who can volunteer to help out at one of the Emergency Outreach Centers near you."
As of now, New York City's subway system remains closed in the face of what officials said was the biggest disaster in its 108 years of existence. Buses will start running on limited service at 5 p.m. today, but many of the bridges and tunnels that connect New York's boroughs and New Jersey to Manhattan still remain closed.