The owner of the Staten Island, New York’s Hilton Garden Inn is refusing to evict local refugees from Hurricane Sandy, even though his decision has drawn fire from marathoners who made reservations to stay and run the 43rd annual ING New York City Marathon this weekend.
“How do I tell people who have no place to go, that have no home, no heat, that you have to leave because I have to make room for somebody that wants to run the marathon?” asked hotel owner Richard Nicotra. “I can’t do that,” he said.
Mary Wittington, the president of the New York Road Runners, the group is sponsoring the marathon, agrees that displaced New Yorkers should take precedence over visiting runners.
“Marathoners will find a way,” she said in an interview. “They’re coming here now in support.”
The city has come under heavy pressure in recent days to cancel the marathon. Some New Yorkers argue that staging a 26-mile race course for tens of thousands of runners will divert resources, including electrical generators powerful enough to light 400 homes, away from storm victims who desperately need them.
Nicotra has offered up several hotel ballrooms as possible places to stay, if only he could get some cots, which are in short supply in the region.
Watch the video, embedded via NY1, below: