The bombings at The Boston Marathon on April 15 have not stopped plans for endurance events around Brooklyn from going forward.
The 5 Boro Bike Tour and Brooklyn Half-Marathon are scheduled for next month, May 5 and May 18 respectively. But after a series of explosions at The Boston Marathon killed three and injured more than 170, officials and organizers are discussing how to better secure long-distance spectator events.
“As far as I know, everything will continue as planned,” said Kenneth Podziba, the president of Bike New York, the group that organizes the 5 Boro Bike Tour. “The NYPD is in charge of the operational plan. If any changes are made, it will be their decision.”
A representative for the NYPD said that no definitive plans have been made, but it would be working with event organizers to ensure that all security precautions are taken.
The 5 Boro Bike Tour begins in south Manhattan, before traveling through The Bronx and Queens. Bicyclists will enter Brooklyn across the Pulaski Bridge into Greenpoint and travel along the East River down to Dyker Heights before crossing the Varrazano-Narrows Bridge. David Meltzer, a captain for the Bike Tour and Park Slope resident, has seen similar circumstances in the past.
“I do not have any qualms about doing this event,” he said. “Years ago, after 9/11 there was a rumor the Brooklyn Bridge was targeted. I made a point of biking over the bridge on that date. This is my city and I will not live in fear.”
The participants may be unfazed, but a state of unease remains in Brooklyn. The NYPD evacuated stores Friday afternoon when a suspicious suitcase was found a block away from the Barclays Center. Bomb squad investigation found the luggage was carrying only blankets from a nearby medical center. Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark said the doors will open early for the Brooklyn Nets playoff game on Saturday to make time for heightened security efforts.
Justin Burke, a runner with the Prospect Park Track Club said he wasn’t concerned with terror at the Brooklyn Half-Marathon, pointing out that death on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway was much more likely than death by terrorist attack. Still, he said, the events in Boston would effect how he would view spectator events.
“If I’m attending an outdoor public sporting event, or a parade…I’ll be watching not just the athletes but also the other spectators,” he said. “In this respect, the marathon attack sowed doubts.”
Other Brooklynites shared Burke’s view that the race must go on. Runner Michael Abrahams thinks pulling out of the event flies in the face of his borough’s identity.
“I understand the concern,” he said. “But letting terrorists scare us off our own streets seems particularly un-Brooklyn to me.”