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Half-Marathon Not Welcome in Battery Park City, Residents Say

By Julie Shapiro on February 3, 2011 12:38pm 

Runners in last year's NYC Half-Marathon race down the final stretch along the West Side Highway. The race ends in Battery Park City, where residents say it is too disruptive.
Runners in last year's NYC Half-Marathon race down the final stretch along the West Side Highway. The race ends in Battery Park City, where residents say it is too disruptive.
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New York Road Runners

By Julie Shapiro

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

BATTERY PARK CITY — The NYC Half-Marathon is no longer welcome in Battery Park City, residents told the event’s organizers this week.

They balked at the plans New York Road Runners presented Tuesday night, which include two days of street closures, dozens of portable toilets and crowd-control barriers lining the sidewalks.

"This is very invasive," said Anthony Notaro, a member of Community Board 1’s Battery Park City Committee. "You’re closing off the entire neighborhood for 48 hours."

The committee voted against the plans for the March 20 race, but their opinion is advisory and the city makes the final decision.

The annual race sends 10,000 runners on a 13-mile route through Central Park, Times Square and the West Side Highway. The finish line is at Chambers Street and West Street, and then the runners flow through Battery Park City to North Cover for a celebration.

To accommodate the runners, media, medical tents and more, New York Road Runners plans to close parts of Chambers Street, Warren Street, Murray Street, North End Avenue and River Terrace from midnight March 19 to 5 p.m. March 20. The closures will prevent buses, cars and possibly even ambulances from traversing the neighborhood, residents said.

Battery Park City residents were startled last year by the race’s massive presence in their neighborhood and were particularly upset that they had not received any notice.

Philip Santora, senior manager of community outreach for New York Road Runners, told CB1 Tuesday night that he would do more outreach this year, and his first step was attending the community board meeting.

Residents, though, said outreach alone wouldn’t solve the problem.

"All that does is give residents notice that they should evacuate their home for the weekend," said Jeff Galloway, co-chairman of the Battery Park City Committee.

Galloway and others suggested that the race end on Pier 40 or the new Pier 25 instead, so it would not disrupt a residential neighborhood.

Volunteers in Battery Park City handed out food to runners in last year's NYC Half-Marathon.
Volunteers in Battery Park City handed out food to runners in last year's NYC Half-Marathon.
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New York Road Runners

Santora said he would pass along the residents’ concerns. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

Not everyone in the neighborhood opposes the race.

Francine Fermaint, a Battery Park City resident who volunteered for the half-marathon last year with her daughter, said it enlivened a neighborhood that is usually quiet on weekends.

With more advance notice, Fermaint thinks the event could become a valued downtown tradition.

"It’s just the excitement of it," Fermaint said. "I wish we had more stuff like that going on down here."

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