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Downtown Residents Want to Chase NYC Half-Marathon Away

By Julie Shapiro | February 23, 2012 7:13am
The 2010 NYC Half-Marathon drew complaints from some Lower Manhattan residents.
The 2010 NYC Half-Marathon drew complaints from some Lower Manhattan residents.
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David Berkwitz

LOWER MANHATTAN —  Downtown residents want to run the NYC Half-Marathon right out of their neighborhood.

After complaints from Battery Park City residents about the annual event's street closures and other inconveniences, New York Road Runners decided to move the finish line for this year's race over to the South Street Seaport.

But residents there want the runners to keep on moving too.

"What makes you think you can bring it to the East Side and not have the same problem with our community?" asked John Fratta, chairman of Community Board 1's Seaport/Civic Center Committee.

"It's a concern for us."

The March 18 race will send 15,000 runners on a 13-mile trek that starts in Central Park and goes along the Hudson River to Lower Manhattan.

Rather than ending at Chambers Street in Battery Park City, as it has in the past, this year's race will continue south to loop under Battery Park and up the FDR Drive, finishing at Water Street and Maiden Lane, according to the NYRR website.

The runners will then walk a couple blocks up to the South Street Seaport for a celebration.

New York Road Runners representatives presented the new route to CB1's Seaport Committee Tuesday night, seeking advisory approval for their city permit.

But the committee adamantly opposed the plan, noting that in Battery Park City, residents were upset about the race shutting down many of the neighborhood's streets for the entire weekend.

The blocks around the finish line were also roped off with crowd-control barriers and filled with dozens of portable toilets, residents said.

The Seaport Committee ultimately passed a resolution suggesting that next month's half-marathon continue over the Brooklyn Bridge and end in a park across the East River, instead of in Lower Manhattan, said Noah Pfefferblit, district manager of CB1.

The marathon organizers, though, told CB1 that they already have their permit from the NYPD and it is probably too late to make any changes, Fratta said.

New York Road Runners did not immediately respond to a request for comment.