NEW YORK, NY (WSYR-TV) - Mayor Bloomberg is speaking for the first time since he announced the cancellation of the New York City Marathon.
He said it was a shame he had to make that call, but the running of the marathon had become a divisive issue at a time when everyone needed to be united.
"What simply happened was it became a source of dissension and we don't need that right now and hopefully next year we'll have a great event where people can come to the city and enjoy what the city has to offer and compete and participate and the spirit of the race is to bring people together," said Bloomberg.
Many runners, including well-known Central New York athlete Ed Griffin-Nolan, traveled to New York City for the marathon and said although it is cancelled, he plans to stay and help.
Griffin-Nolan is in Staten Island trying to help family, friends and even strangers get their lives back to normal. He described the damage near his old neighborhood as heartbreaking.
"The neighbors are out in the street and they have pulled their possessions out in the street. I saw a house with a waterline that's 12 feet up and people burning furniture to stay warm," said Griffin-Nolan.
He compares the devastation to the Labor Day Storm of 1998, just with more floodwaters.
He said three bodies were found inside homes just blocks from his mother's Staten Island home.
That's why he is working around the clock to help people from his old neighborhood.
The money he raised for the race will help people affected by Sandy.
He said donations keep pouring in thanks to the generosity of Central New Yorkers.
"I was running the marathon to benefit a charity called covenant house and I got several thousand dollars but I've gotten even more donations since I decided not to run the marathon," said Griffin-Nolan.
He will return home to Syracuse on Monday night, where he plans to start organizing a charity race to help people throughout New York who were impacted by Sandy.