Tragedy has a tendency of bringing people closer, and as Hurricane Sandy struck down and left massive destruction across the Northeast, once again, we saw people band together to overcome.
In New York City, Hurricane Sandy managed to practically shut down the boroughs, leaving people without homes, power and transportation. Yet, this isn’t the first time this city has had to overcome tragedy.
On Friday (November 2) MTV News sat down with the “Today” show’s Matt Lauer, who is a New York resident and is hosting the NBC Universal benefit concert special, “Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together” on Friday at 8 p.m ET, and he admitted that he’s thrilled, but not surprised, that New Yorkers showed one another an outpouring of support during this difficult time.
“One thing that always surprises me when people say, ’Wow, even New Yorkers are coming together.’ I think we have this reputation of being cold-hearted for some reason,” Lauer said. “Nothing could be further from the truth, a lot of the people who live in this region are the people that reach out to others in times of need, and New Yorkers always help one another, I see it all the time. This is not the New York of several decades ago where that had a bad reputation, this is a very warm city and for the most part people go out of their way to do what they can for other people.”
And doing their best for the people who have been affected by the storm are the elected officials. Political stakes become high during a time of recovery with media coverage and residents critiquing their every move, but according to Lauer, who has reported on this story at length, he feels that these officials are doing the best they possibly can.
“I think they are all doing absolutely as well as they can be expected to do,” Lauer said. “There is no script for something like this. You do what you can with the resources available to you, and you try to help people anyway you can, and these people all have their hearts in the right place. Governor of New York, governor of New Jersey, Governor Malloy out in Connecticut, they came in a very difficult position, everybody needs something right now, they can’t deliver something for everyone, but they are doing the best they can and I think we should be patient with them and give them our full support.”
One thing Lauer didn’t give his full support to early Friday was New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s decision to hold the New York City Marathon on Sunday. (Since we spoke with Lauer, the mayor decided to cancel the race.) Many spoke out against this initial decision, saying city services should focus on Hurricane Sandy relief and not the thousands of runners that will participate in the 26.2-mile race.
“Opinions are like blank, everybody’s got one,” Lauer said. “I will only tell you that while I’m a big fan of Mayor Bloomberg and a big fan of the marathon, I don’t think this was right to keep it going and that’s just my opinion. I hope it goes off without a hitch and I hope it doesn’t sap resources from other areas where they are needed, but if the decision had been up to me, I wouldn’t have done it.”
“Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together,” airs tonight at 8 p.m. ET and features performances by Christina Aguilera, Mary J. Blige, Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, Aerosmith and Sting. All the money collected will be donated to the American Red Cross relief efforts.