The community of Long Island City (LIC) made sure runners in the ING NYC Marathon got the encouragement they needed as residents lined the streets to cheer them on Sunday, November 1.
“Anybody that can do 26 miles and trained year-round deserves a round of applause from me,” said LIC resident Gerrie Birakowsky.
Although she has watched the marathon on TV before, this was the first year Birakowsky came out to watch and support the runners in person. She said that it was the LIC community and spirit that brought her out. A relatively new resident of the area, Birakowsky said that everyone is “very much into all events” in the community.
Rabbi Zev Wineberg and wife Rivka, of the Chabad of Long Island City, were ready to hand kosher PowerAde to runners as they passed. Wineberg said they watch the marathon every year and that it’s exciting.
“This community has become a very warm and unified community and you can see it on the street,” Wineberg said. “It’s a beautiful thing. Anything that brings people together is a very valuable thing.”
Wineberg said that seeing the runners push themselves to their limit shows others watching what they can do.
Gianna Cerbone, the owner of Manducatis Rustica, said that the community really comes together to make the event happen. For instance, when the band RockStellar needed power last minute to perform on the street for the runners, the restaurant volunteered to provide it. She said they try to get to the restaurant early each year and get as many volunteers and supports as they can.
Cerbone has been watching the marathon since she was a little girl, and now her children do the same, making it a family tradition. She said that many people who were standing on the streets 20 years ago are still there, adding that as the community has grown many more people are also coming out to take part.
Another way Long Island City kept the runners motivated was through the music of RockStellar. Because LIC is about the halfway point of the marathon, guitarist Phil Reeves said the runners really need the extra energy they help provide. As the runners got to the band, they have thumbs up and other forms of acknowledgement, which the band said is the best part of participating, along with seeing people dancing in the streets.