NEW YORK, NY (TIP): Mayor Bill de Blasio, facing one of the first flashpoints of his weeks-old tenure, initially defended what he called a “coordinated, intense, citywide response” to a storm he said caused a worse-than-expected headache when it ramped up at rush hour.
And de Blasio, who campaigned on closing gaps between rich and poor city residents, at first rebuffed complaints that the effort had lagged on Manhattan’s posh Upper East Side, saying “no one was treated differently.” But he backtracked Wednesday, January 22 evening, saying he’d determined “more could have been done to serve the Upper East Side.”
Thirty more vehicles and nearly 40 more sanitation workers were sent to the area to finish the cleanup, de Blasio said in a statement that noted he still felt the citywide response, overall, “was well-executed.” In a city where snow removal has proven a political hot potato, the flap was almost a mirror image of complaints about how de Blasio’s predecessor, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, handled a 2010 blizzard.
Bloomberg, who lives on the Upper East Side, faced criticism that outer boroughs had gotten short shift from plows. Brooklyndwelling de Blasio, then the city’s public advocate, was among the critics. This time, de Blasio found himself being asked why some Upper East Side avenues still were covered in snow when a Brooklyn thoroughfare was plowed clear to the pavement. NBC weatherman Al Roker criticized de Blasio for his late response on the “Today” show Wednesday, January 22.