New York City and New Jersey sports are getting back on their feet after being hindered by Hurricane Sandy on October 29. Employees have returned to their offices and games are being played as scheduled. The rest of NYC and New Jersey, however, are still dealing with the aftermath of the storm.
It was called a “superstorm” and was compared to The Perfect Storm. For days, people along the East Coast were urged to begin preparations or ordered to evacuate. Hurricane Sandy was on its’ way and the storm didn’t promise to pass by easily.
Both New York and New Jerseys’ governors ordered mass evacuations of their respective states before the storm hit. Public transportation was shut down, businesses and schools were closed, and the streets were silent. On October 29, Superstorm Sandy made landfall and her impact was felt. Massive flooding and property damage occurred in both New York and New Jersey. Millions of people were left without power.
Seaside, NJ, home to the popular MTV series The Jersey Shore, was completely flooded and wiped out. The famous boardwalk and the historic Seaside Heights roller coaster was washed out to sea and destroyed. Half of Hoboken was flooded and Mayor Dawn Zimmer asked the National Guard for their assistance. Several counties were devastated by flooding, which was as high as five feet in some areas. At least 24 people from New Jersey were killed.
Governor Andrew Cuomo called in the National Guard as well to help his citizens. The New York City area received the worst of the storms effects, while Upstate New York was spared for the most part. Public schools were closed for six days. Lower Manhattan dealt with flooding from the East River. Battery Park had a water surge of 13 ft. Seven subway tunnels under the East River were flooded, which, according to MTA personnel, was the worst disaster in the 108-year history of the New York City subway system. The Ground Zero site was flooded with sea water as well as numerous parking garages. Staten Island was perhaps the hardest hit of all areas in New York. Out of the 41 recorded fatalities from the storm, Staten Island accounted for 19 of them. Hundreds of families were homeless and displaced due to the mass amounts of flooding that occurred. The number of people without power on Staten Island was upwards of 100,000, which was roughly 65 percent of the islands population.
Sporting events were put into question in both New Jersey and New York. One such event which garnered a lot of controversy was the running of the annual New York City marathon. The race was scheduled to be run on November 4. There was, however, a roar of disapproval for running the marathon while numerous areas were still trying to climb back. There were concerns that the race would take away resources needed for survivors of the storm and that emergency personnel would be diverted to help the marathon runners and not people who actually needed the assistance. Pressured to cancel, Mayor Michael Bloomberg called off the race, saying that it wouldn’t be right to run it at that point in time, which caused the city to lose millions in revenue. The race was run unofficially, as planned, with athletes taking supplies to victims and shelters. A large group of runners did laps around Central Park in order to run the full 26 miles they needed. No winner was crowned and no awards were given, the personal satisfaction was more than enough for the people who had trained years for that moment.
The New York Knicks faced problems of their own. They were originally scheduled to open their season against the Brooklyn Nets on November 1. The game was postponed due to not only the devastation, but also because the transportation lines to Barclays Center in Brooklyn were damaged and unable to be utilized. The Knicks were then scheduled to open their season against the Miami Heat, at home, on November 2, just days after the storm. Again, many people called in to question the need to play a basketball game after such a tragedy had occurred. Even players from both teams discussed their hesitance to play. Before the game started, fans began to pour into Madison Square Garden and filled the seats. The game went on as planned and the Knicks defeated the Heat 104-84. Emotions were high and the win allowed fans to celebrate as if their team had just won the NBA Championship. It was the spark of joy that New Yorkers needed.
Today, both New York and New Jersey are starting to rebuild their lives and get back to how things were. Nearly 99 percent of homes have been restored power. However, 90,000 customers in New York still cannot receive power because their homes or buildings were so heavily damaged or destroyed. The return of the power means that New Jersey residents no longer has to deal with long lines at the pumps after a brief gas-rationing policy was enacted. However, five petroleum terminals remain closed for some areas. New York areas are still under some form of gas rationing, but they are not as strict regulations as they previously were. Rationing will continue in New York until November 19, Governor Cuomo announced. For now New Yorkers will have to deal with this issue and the raised gas prices, which have topped out at $3.99 a gallon, 45 cents above the national average.
There is no doubt that New York and New Jersey will return to their normal forms once some time has passed, as New Orleans did after Hurricane Katrina. The damage and destruction, however, will be hard to deal with, for now. Citizens of the East Coast will need a tremendous amount of help to rebuild their homes and businesses. Numerous relief efforts have been formed and donations are always accepted. We must stay together as a country and help our fellow Americans come out of their situations safely.
*Note: If you would like to help your fellow sports fans in storm ravaged areas of the country, please text REDCROSS to 90999. This will automatically allow you to donate $10 to the Red Cross’s Disaster Relief Fund.
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