Staten Island residents say their island is the “forgotten borough” of New York City. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, they say that reputation is sticking.
“They forgot about us,” Staten Island resident Theresa Connor, 42, told Reuters of the most isolated and least populous borough of New York City. "And (Mayor Michael) Bloomberg said New York is fine. The marathon is on!"
Staten Island was the hardest hit of New York City’s five boroughs, with 19 deaths, the most of any borough, according to the Staten Island Advance. There were 41 total deaths from Sandy in the city as of Friday morning.
Among the dead on Staten Island included brothers Brandon, 2, and Connor, 4, Moore, who could not be saved when their mother, Glenda Moore, tried to ride out the storm as a deadly surge of water enveloped their SUV.
"Terrible, absolutely terrible," Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said while announcing that the bodies of Brandon and Connor were recovered, four days after Hurricane Sandy made landfall. "It just compounds all the tragic aspects of this horrific event."
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Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro shared in the outrage over what he and other residents said was a lack of response after Sandy.
He said the American Red Cross “is nowhere to be found” in the borough. Television coverage of Hurricane Sandy’s aftermath showed Staten Island residents being rescued from their homes in boats while others had their houses destroyed by the storm or still lack power.
U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano was scheduled to visit Staten Island Friday along with Federal Emergency Management Agency Deputy Administrator Richard Serino, according to NBC New York.
Staten Island residents were desperate for food, shelter, heat and power.
"We're gonna die! We're gonna freeze! We've got 90-year-old people!" one resident told WCBS.
Many Staten Island residents expressed frustration, claiming aid is being directed to Manhattan and New Jersey instead of their borough.
"Though people don't talk about Staten Island much, people are here, a lot of people are hurting, so it's upsetting,” Navel Pritchard said.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city government is working to get the area back to normal as soon as possible. That includes holding the New York City Marathon on Sunday.
The decision to hold the marathon has been a controversial one. The famous race starts on the Staten Island side of the Verrazano Bridge, which connects the island to Brooklyn.
New York State Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R, Staten Island) was one of those criticizing the decision, saying that holding the race is insensitive to Staten Island residents who are still recovering from the storm and are in dire need of assistance.
"We are far from fine and the fact that the mayor wants to have a marathon this weekend when we have people who lost either their lives or lost their entire house,” she told WCBS. “I mean, it's unbelievable to me."