NEW YORK — New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg says New York City Marathon has been canceled.
His statement Friday came after mounting criticism that this was not the time for a race.
With people in storm-ravaged areas still shivering without electricity and the death toll in New York City at more than 40, many New Yorkers recoiled at the prospect of police officers being assigned to protect a marathon on Sunday.
Joan Wacks, whose Staten Island waterfront condo was swamped with 4 feet of water, predicted authorities will still be recovering bodies when the estimated 40,000 runners from around the world would have hit the streets for the 26.2-mile race Sunday, and she called the mayor "tone deaf."
"He is clueless without a paddle to the reality of what everyone else is dealing with," she said before the cancellation announcement. "If there are any resources being put toward the marathon, that's wrong. I'm sorry, that's wrong."
At an earlier news conference, Bloomberg defended his decision as a way to raise money for the stricken city and boost morale less than a week after Sandy flooded neighborhoods, knocked out power to hundreds of thousands homes and businesses and killed at least 39 people.
"New York has to show we are here and we are going to recover ... to give people something to cheer about in what has been a dismal week for a lot of people," he said.
He noted that his predecessor, Rudolph Giuliani, went ahead with the New York Marathon two months after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"If you go back to 9/11, Rudy made the right decision in those days to run the marathon and pull people together," Bloomberg said. He said the marathon's organizers are "running this race to help New York City, and the donations from all the runners in the club will be a great help for our relief efforts."
One of the world's pre-eminent road races, the New York Marathon generates an estimated $340 million into the city.
The course runs from the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge on hard-hit Staten Island to Central Park, sending runners through all five boroughs. The course will not be changed, since there was little damage along the route.
Earlier this week, the mayor said the race wouldn't siphon off resources from the storm recovery, noting electricity is expected to be restored to all of Manhattan by race day, freeing up "up an enormous number of police."