I’m really confused right now.
While Hurricane Sandy left the majority of my friends and many of my neighbors without power or a warm place to sleep, I remained largely unaffected. With my apartment in the Upper East Side and my work building in fully-powered Midtown, the most Sandy has done to me is made my commute to work maybe ten minutes longer. But then I get online and see pictures of the streets I used to live on while at NYU and I can’t believe the damage I see when I feel perfectly comfortable in my uptown bubble.
Because I work during the day and have a dog to take care of at night, there hasn’t been time for me to volunteer the past few days. I really feel at a loss for how to help. I’ve hosted two friends who needed a place to sleep, but still don’t feel like I’m doing much at all. I have been left confused, disoriented, disheartened, and frustrated. And to top it all off, New Yorkers are starting to turn on each other as we argue about whether or not Mayor Bloomberg is doing the right thing by having the marathon take place this Sunday.
Thankfully, some runners have taken the marathon as an opportunity to raise money for New York. When I saw my friend (who is running on Sunday) post an American Red Cross fundraiser led by runners, I saw the perfect opportunity to make the best of a frustrating situation. The marathon is happening, and protesting it won’t change that. You can complain all you want, but there is something to be said for the good the marathon does for the city, as it brings in nearly $360 million that New York desperately needs right now.
So regardless of how I feel about the marathon happening, feelings of which I am still unsure, I think I’ll take this controversial event as a fantastic opportunity to give money where its needed. While it’s true that I can give to the Red Cross with or without the marathon, it is inspiring to see the marathon runners use their media attention to raise money, and that is really why I’m giving.