As you may have heard, things are not going so well for New York City* of late. Lower Manhattan has been without power for days. A hundred or so houses that once stood in Queens are now rubble. Staten Island has been destroyed. Those living uptown and in other areas that emerged relatively unscathed are dealing with survivor’s guilt. In spite of all that, Mayor Bloomberg has declared that the Marathon, scheduled for this Sunday, will go on, a decision that has been met with major outrage by people who believe the considerable resources that go toward putting on the race should be put to more critical use elsewhere, that the city does not need the strain of putting up an additional 40,000 people, that the supposed economic benefit would be a drop in the bucket of what NYC needs, that the generators sitting in Central Park right now could be helping those sitting in darkness, and that considering dead bodies are still being pulled of the water, it’s generally “too soon.” One guy who’d beg to differ? Ed Koch. Twenty-five years out of his mayorship, he still gets these people and while the media would have you believe holding the marathon has caused an enormously heated debate, he’s here to tell you that’s bull. New Yorkers want this and if Koch were still King? He’d be throwing a parade come Sunday, with A-Rod as Grand Marshal.
“I’m telling you — and I think I’ve got pretty good judgment in this matter —that the people of New York City want the marathon to be run, and I applaud what the mayor is doing,” Koch told CNBC. “I think the media is creating a fuss that doesn’t exist, and that the people of New York City want this marathon,” he said on “Fast Money.” “If I were mayor, I would be doing exactly the same thing.” Koch, who served as mayor from 1978 to 1989, said that he faced the same decision when the city was near bankruptcy and still threw a ticker-tape parade for the Yankees following their World Series win. The parade came despite opposition from the media. “I said, ‘New York Times, you have your head screwed on wrong.’ What the people of New York City need is a celebration, something that will lift their spirits, and there’s nothing comparable to the marathon with respects to lifting the spirits of this city,” he said.
*And the East Coast in general, Haiti, Jamaica and Cuba.