Lafayette Avenue became the 9 mile marker for the New York City Marathon last weekend, as well as a much needed oasis for runners. From early in the morning, volunteers were setting up tables, unloading trucks, stirring cauldrons of Gatorade in plastic garbage cans and pouring hundreds of gallons of bottled water into cups for marathon runners.
Cleanup had already begun even before the first runners arrived, but volunteers and sanitation workers were fighting an uphill battle. Tens of thousands of participants sprinted, jogged, strolled and rolled through the street, flooding the gutters with spring water, sweat and electrolytes. Paper cups that didn’t get piled high over curbs got crushed to a gooey green pulp underfoot. But volunteers and neighbors didn’t seem to mind, attacking the mess with rakes, snow shovels and industrial garbage bags while hollering words of encouragement to marathon runners.
Local business owners got in on the act as well, with Thierry Cabigeos, owner of high-end grocery store Choice Greene, got up early to ply the thronging crowds with hot coffee and fresh baked pastries that are – understandably – more popular with NYC Marathon watchers than participants.
“We’re only on mile nine,” Cabigeos explains. “Everyone’s still pretending to run here.”