Public Employee Press
The world’s greatest race
By DIANE S. WILLIAMS
THe world’s largest, most prestigious race—the TCS New York City Marathon—counts on dedicated, unionized public employees in DC 37 who work behind the scenes to make the event a mega-success.
“Safety is our primary concern,” said Local 1455 President Michael DeMarco. “Keeping TDM crews safe as they paint the blue line and keeping runners and spectators safe the day of the race.”
Over two nights about a dozen DOT Traffic Device Maintainers work with the New York City Road Runners Club and the Dept. of Parks and Recreation to mark roads on the marathon route. They chart the 26.2 mile course from the Staten Island starting line at the foot of the Verrazano Bridge through the five boroughs and to its end in the city’s emerald jewel, Central Park.
Driving slow moving Dept. of Transportation vehicles, in advance of the race, TDMs drop off cones to close lanes and redirect traffic as the night-liner spray truck paints the blue line that guides over 50,000 marathoners through the boroughs.
“Although traffic jams can be a 24-hour reality in New York City,” DeMarco said, “We make sure impatient drivers don’t cut us off so we finish the job without incident.”
In the predawn hours before the race on Sunday, Nov. 4, workers in Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority Employees Local 1931 close bridge approaches to all vehicular traffic, and runners gather on the starting line.
At go, more than 50,000 racers—male and female elite world athletes, fleet-footed competitors and wheelchair-bound hand cyclists from across the United States and around the world—pound the pavement and will their bodies—mind, heart, arms, legs and feet—to propel them across the Central Park finish line.
Cheering them on are throngs of enthusiastic spectators, friends and family. The Big Apple welcomes the international community of runners, sports enthusiasts and tourists in attendance.
Parks Dept. PEP Officers of Local 983 help with crowd control and safety. Local 1508 Parks Supervisors oversee Associate Parks Service Workers in Local 983, City Parks Workers in Local 1505, and Jobs Training Participants (JTPs) as they set up barriers, fencing, and viewing stands and keep the Central Park course free of debris and foliage.
“It’s all hands on deck. We make sure the park is clean and stays clean and safe before and after the marathon,” said Local 1508 President Mike Zeno. “Every cup, water bottle, paper, even confetti, Parkies are on it.”
DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido said, “We are proud of the vital role our hard-working members play in making sure the TCS New York City Marathon is one of the cleanest, safest and biggest world-class competitive races around.”