On Friday, just days after Hurricane Sandy unleashed its devastation, BMW announced that it would donate $1,000,000 to the American Red Cross for disaster relief.
Even for us Left Coast dwellers, Sandy’s impact was felt very close to home. BMW of North America is of course headquartered in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey—one of the areas hit hard by the hurricane. Many of the jobs supported by the company’s presence in the United States are also in the Northeast—not just at those Jersey headquarters, but also at dealerships, seaports, and distribution facilities.
“This donation will help the Red Cross give aid to the many who are in need in the affected areas,” said Ludwig Willisch, CEO and president of BMW of North America. “We support those who are working so hard on the recovery effort, and we are encouraging our employees across North America to volunteer their time and money to the work underway. Our dealers already are active in their communities, and we thank them for stepping up to meet the needs in their local areas.”
Bravo, BMW, I say: a magnanimous and appropriate gesture that will have significant proximate impact.
As luck would have it, I had my own little Hurricane Sandy saga. As long-time Roundel readers are already wearily aware, BMWs are not my only vice: I am addicted to running and triathlon, too. Getting an entry in the New York City Marathon is a matter of luck, and the nice lady by that name had finally smiled at me across the bar (my fourth and final vice is good beer). Having run about 100 marathons, I’m left genuinely excited by very few races—but genuinely excited is just what I was at the prospect of the odyssey from Staten Island, across the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, through the five boroughs of New York, and finally to Central Park.
But it was not to be. Missing an iconic race is nothing, of course, compared to the loss of life and property occasioned by this cruelly perfect storm; and actually, even among prospective marathon participants, I was one of the lucky ones. I have a friend who works at a high level for the city’s Metropolitan Transit Authority, and while Mayor Bloomberg and the race organizers were still insisting early in the week that the race would go on, he told me that the infrastructural damage was greater than post-9/11, and recommended bluntly that I not come. I listened, and it saved me quite a lot of money—and even more frustration.
Many prospective runners, far from wallowing in disappointment, showed the better side of human nature by boarding the ferry to Staten Island—where the race was to start—bringing food, water, clothing, and blankets to those in need, and pitching in with the heavy lifting needed to begin the process of recovery in that oft-overlooked borough.
Life goes on. When I should have been in Manhattan, a band that I think is currently the best America has to offer—South Carolina-based NeedtoBreathe—was playing in Pomona, a distant satellite in the giant megalopolis that is the Los Angeles basin. Their most recent track is worth finding; it’s called Drive All Night, and fans of David Letterman might recall them performing it on his show.
Driving all night is just what getting to Pomona felt like—but at least I was in my E60 M5, a car that is close to perfect, and whose idiosyncrasies only add to its desirability. I had company to which precisely the same comments apply, and it is hard to imagine a better evening. So: I missed a race, but there was a silver lining. Still, the difference between a West Coast night on the town and the night spent by masses still without power and light on the Eastern Seaboard was a painful irony.
I was pleased when those in New York and New Jersey got a glimpse of a silver lining of their own with a benefit concert last Friday night. Yes, BMW contributed—but so, too, did Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Billy Joel, Steven Tyler, and Christina Aguilera, who gave their time and talent to NBC’s benefit concert. Well played, all.
And if you’d like to add a modest donation of your own, just text REDCROSS to 90999 on your cell phone, as I did. (It’s so simple, even Satch figured out how to do it!)
It’s a far cry from BMW’s million, but it all adds up—and it all helps.—Chris Wright
On Friday, just days after Hurricane Sandy unleashed its devastation, BMW announced that it would donate $1,000,000 to the American Red Cross for disaster relief. Even for us Left Coast dwellers, Sandy’s impact was felt very close to home. BMW of North America is of course headquartered in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey—one of the areas hit hard by the hurricane.