I Could Have Use a Marathon Today

An update follows this post from this morning.

The New York City Marathon would have gone a long way to making me feel better today. I’m fine really, all I lost was the food in my refrigerator, and I was cold for a few nights, and while my friends and family have varying degrees of loss, no one died. (My father went into the hospital though! He’s out and stable, but poor him!) We’ll see how many people leave Echo because we were down for a day, but I’m guessing not many.

I’m wondering how many of the people who thought the Marathon should be cancelled have actually ever attended a marathon. It’s not that I’m insensitive to the fact that people died and lost their homes. It’s in part because all the stories are destroying me. I wish I could explain it. It’s the sight of people who have been training all year, and for years, war veterans running on prosthetic limbs, people racing in wheelchairs, people with cancer, or who have children with cancer, and all the people running for charity—one of which I supported and of course the money goes to the charity anyway.

There’s nothing like it. Maybe it’s because I always position myself somewhere along the last mile, as close to the end that I can get. The runners are almost at the finish line and they know it. It brings something out of each of them. Many look like they can’t take another step, except they all just keep on going even if the best they can do is limp. Through sweat, tears, and blood (lots of blood) they summon something, something absolutely determined and miraculous, and I get to see that happen over and over, thousands of times. I can never watch without crying and walking away believing anything is possible, one can always strive and try again, and even people who have been totally screwed over by life in some way, shape or form, can win.

UPDATE: Well, the marathon runners made me cry even without running. This picture comes via @911BUFF. It’s a crowd of runners boarding the Staten Island Ferry to volunteer instead of running. Thank you wonderful runners!

Con Ed employees by the generator they set up so people could recharge their phones and computers. My grandfather worked for Con Ed his entire life so I have a soft spot for Con Ed employees. He never missed a day of work and one day, when he didn’t come in, one of his fellow employees joked, “Oh! Walter didn’t come in today, he must be dead.” And he was!

Wishful thinking on the part of one of my neighbors. I thought it was a great idea when I saw it, and we did get our power back yesterday morning. But I’d spent the day cleaning up and I was just too exhausted to leave the house last night. I’m guessing most of us were feeling the same.

All the trees we lost. It breaks my heart. God knows how old many of these trees were. It’s one of the greatest things about the neighborhood, all the great big beautiful trees.

Sob. I’m not showing the half of it, because, as I said, I seemed to have broken my camera AGAIN. But there were downed trees everywhere. Oh, and thank you Department of Sanitation! Talk about being exhausted after all the clean-up.

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

5 thoughts on “I Could Have Use a Marathon Today

  1. Glad you have electricity again. Oh the loss of huge old trees — you’ll never stop missing them, ever. I still can’t adjust to the tree loss here, changed the neighborhood forever. Hopefully your neighborhood didn’t lose as many, but still…

    Take care!

  2. Hi Stacy
    It’s a wonderful event and I enjoy it too – I just couldn’t accept diverting police and other service personnel from helping the tens of thousands who still don’t have light, heat, water, or security. It’s a shame but maybe it’s for the best.

    The trees are a sadder loss. So many down, and difficult to replace in the City. What’s happened to Home Depot’s 1,000,000 Trees program?

    Glad you’re lit and warm.

  3. Thanks for the photos so I can get a small glimpse of what is going on. Even though I have been gone from NY a long time, it is where I grew up and holds a very special place in my heart. I love the resilience of New Yorkers and how tragedy tends to draw people together. Keep us posted on FB please.

  4. I will and you’re welcome!

    Eline, I appreciate that point about the marathon. I guess I believed that those police wouldn’t have been doing emergency hurricane duty, and that they had enough to do that.

    But yes, the trees. Cara, I thought of you because I remember you tweeting and posting about the trees you lost. I know understand how awful that it.

    Nadine, thank you. Those of us who have power are feeling a lot better.

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