Struggling Seaport No Longer Running From NYC Half-Marathon

By Irene Plagianos on February 21, 2013 6:52am 

SOUTH STREET SEAPORT — The storm-ravaged South Street Seaport won’t try to chase away half-marathoners this year.

Residents who had previously spoken out against the annual NYC Half race's crowds and street closures said this week that they would welcome the influx of activity in a neighborhood that has been too quiet since Hurricane Sandy hit.

“I think we’ve had a change of attitude,” said John Fratta, chairman of Community Board 1’s Seaport/Civic Center Committee.

“Right now businesses are hurting — we have to take advantage of any chance to bring people to the neighborhood.”

Last year, the New York Road Runners decided to move the 13-mile race’s finish line from Battery Park City to the Seaport area enduring a torrent of complaints about street closures and other inconveniences from Battery Park City residents.

But the decision to shift the race's finish line east infuriated some Seaport and Financial District denizens last winter.

At the time, Fratta and others thought the change would simply dump Battery Park City’s problems on their neighborhood, and the committee adamantly opposed the plan.

But at Tuesday evening’s Seaport/Civic Center Committee meeting, there was no ire as the New York Road Runners officials spoke about the planned path.

The March 17 event will send 15,000 runners on a trek that starts in Central Park and goes along the Hudson River to Lower Manhattan.

The marathoners will finish at Water and Wall streets, a few blocks south of last year’s Maiden Lane end point. Racers will then head into the Seaport for an after-run celebration.

Philip Santora, NYRR’s senior manager for community outreach, said he’d like local businesses to set up booths for the after-party.

Santora also unveiled the still-growing list of restaurants, stores and attractions included in the marathon’s “Run the City” promotional campaign, which could be a boon for local business.

This is the second year for the program, which advertises various places around the city that will offer discounts to runners and their friends and family during the race weekend.

Several Seaport shops and eateries, like Fresh Salt, Acqua Restaurant and Wine Bar and Cowgirl Seahorse, are part of the program. Santora said he’d be happy to add other Seaport businesses to the campaign.

While members raised some questions about street-closure issues, no one could muster up opposition to a plan that might help out the struggling neighborhood.

Fratta, however, did ask about the community board's resolution last year suggesting that the half-marathon continue over the Brooklyn Bridge and end in a park across the East River, instead of in Lower Manhattan.

NYRR officials said the city didn't want to close the Brooklyn Bridge.

"I think it worked out okay last year," Fratta said after the meeting. "As long as we keep an eye on any issues, we'll support the race now."

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