New Yorkers Slam de Blasio over Snowstorm Chaos

Image: New Yorkers Slam de Blasio over Snowstorm Chaos A woman carries cross-country skies along 86th Street in New York City's Upper East Side on Jan. 21.

Wednesday, 22 Jan 2014 10:04 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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New York Mayor Bill de Blasio came under fire Wednesday in the wake of the East Coast snowstorm that turned traffic in the city's wealthy Upper East Side into a nightmare.

Residents complained the streets went unplowed for hours on Tuesday, creating a mess that continued until the show eventually tapered off after dumping more than a foot on the city, the New York Post reported.

Parents and children also complained via Twitter that they could not understand why city schools were remaining open Wednesday while other northeast regions had ordered schools closed.

The giant snowstorm was being seen as a major test of de Blasio's office, and to many people living in one of the city's ritziest areas it appeared as though he had failed.

City Councilman Daniel Garodnick told the New York Daily News his Upper East Side constituents had inundated his office with complaints about the city's Sanitation Department not plowing the streets for hours.

"Some of the major thoroughfares . . . did not get plowed before the evening rush, and it caused some serious backups,” Garodnick said. "People were frustrated."

Writer mom Molly Jong Fast blamed de Blasio for the chaos, saying, "He is trying to get us back. He is very divisive and political."

"By not plowing the Upper East Side, he is saying, ‘I’m not one of them.’ But we have everyone in this area on the Upper East Side. We have rich people, middle class people, and housing projects. We have it all," she told the Post.

Sanitation Department spokesman Vito Turso told the Daily News that an early rush-hour on Tuesday had hampered the department's snow-clearing efforts.

"There’s been an extraordinary amount of rush-hour traffic that started much earlier that tied up our equipment,” he said, noting that 2,000 sanitation employees had been working 13-hour shifts and some 1,700 plows had hit the streets.

At a press conference Sanitation Department Commissioner John Doherty also acknowledged a slow response time to the story "because we can’t move out there."

According to The New York Times, Doherty also warned motorists that the problems could continue Wednesday, saying they should be prepared for "white roads."

Barbara Tamerin, who was using ski poles to get around near her Upper East side home, said the sidewalks were nearly impossible to navigate.

“I can’t believe de Blasio could do this. He is putting everyone in danger," Tamerin told the Post. "What is he thinking? I can barely get around and I’m on snow shoes! All of the buses are stuck and can’t go anywhere. He’s crazy. We need Mayor Bloomberg back!”

Martin Cisse, 45, who works at a flower shop on the Upper East Side, also told the Post, "De Blasio is trying to hurt the more wealthy people by ignoring us but there’s no logic to that."

Other angry Upper East Siders took to Twitter to air their grievances about de Blasio, and even created the hashtag #bringbackbloomberg, according to the Daily News.

"Not cool: New York's Mayor Is Snow Plowing the City Along Class Lines," wrote Veronica Sanchez.



But the Post noted that even as the city was grinding to a halt and the complaints poured in, de Blasio praised his performance and maintained that the city was reacting well to the crisis.

"All city agencies are acting [like] usual very, very effectively and in a coordinated fashion," he said while urging people to stay off the streets and the sidewalks "to the maximum extent possible."

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