DeBlasio: Yes, maybe we should have plowed the Upper East Side
posted at 9:41 pm on January 22, 2014 by Mary Katharine Ham
A possibility of politically motivated, petty, road-related retribution that won’t be getting a brigade of national reporters to investigate it.
It really is a tale of two cities — this time with the tony Upper East Side getting the shaft!
Huge swaths of the city’s wealthiest neighborhood had been not been plowed by early Tuesday evening, leaving 1-percenters out in the cold, according to the city’s own map of snow-plower activity.
“He is trying to get us back. He is very divisive and political,” said writer and Life-long Upper East Sider and mom Molly Jong Fast of Mayor de Blasio.
“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.”
There appeared to be no snow plowing between East 59th and 79th Streets and between Second and Fifth Avenues.
“I can’t believe de Blasio could do this. He is putting everyone in danger,” said Barbara Tamerin, who was using ski poles to get around 81st Street and Lexington Avenue.
“What is he thinking? We’re supposed to get up to a foot of snow and nobody on the Upper East Side is supposed to blink an eye? 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!”
But I’m sure this mayor, just inaugurated, couldn’t possibly have already created an environment that would suggest subpar treatment of those in this part of town might be acceptable, right? I mean, what’s he had time for? Not much more than inauguration ceremonies. Oh:
The rude awakening began moments into the ceremony when the singer and activist and Harry Belafonte promised that Mayor de Blasio “would not let this city remain a community divided.”
Rev. Fred Lucas Jr., a Sanitation Department chaplain, then compared the city to a “plantation” in an invocation that was an extended metaphor on slavery.
Even the city’s 18-year-old Youth Poet Laureate Ramya Ramana took aim at Bloomberg. She recited an original composition that described New York City as plagued by “classism,” with the “brown-stoned and brown-skinned playing a tug of war.”
But it was the city’s new public advocate, Letitia James, who delivered the harshest attack, a fiery speech that read like a wholesale repudiation of the Bloomberg era.
“The growing gap between the haves and the have-nots undermines our city and tears at the fabric of our democracy,” James said.
She went on to describe “a gilded age of inequality” where “decrepit” housing developments stand in the shadows of multimillion-dollar condos and “stop-and-frisk abuses” “have been touted as ‘success stories’ as if crime can only be reduced by infringing on the civil liberties of people of color.”
DeBlasio admitted today he did indeed fail in his first test of basic city services, ironically, for a big chunk of those who pay the most for those services and take the most crap for it:
Looks like Mayor de Blasio has snow on his face.
After defending the city against critics who claimed sanitation workers were slow to plow a ritzy Manhattan neighborhood after a record snowfall, de Blasio reversed himself Wednesday after visiting the area.
“While the overall storm response across the city was well-executed, after inspecting the area and listening to concerns from residents earlier today, I determined more could have been done to serve the Upper East Side,” de Blasio said in a statement Wednesday.
“I have instructed the Commissioner of the Department of Sanitation to double-down on cleanup efforts on the Upper East Side, and as a result, 30 vehicles and nearly 40 sanitation workers have been deployed to the area to finish the cleanup. Our crews will remain on the streets around the clock until the roadways are clear in every neighborhood, in every borough, across New York City.”
DeBlasio said the Upper East Side debacle was not political: “They’re just mistaken,” de Blasio said. “No one was treated differently. We believe in a five borough approach in everything we do. People need to be mindful when they hurl those charges.”
But several high-profile New Yorkers attested to the fact that storm response was way below what it has been in the past.
“I have lived in this city for 35-years,’ said host Joe Scarborough. ‘And I have never seen such chaos.’
And, when you’ve lost Al Roker:
But don’t worry, y’all. He can really talk up a storm on inequality. It won’t save you from this storm, but priorities, priorities.
Update: Noah Rothman beat me to this point, so I wanted to point it out as soon as I saw it this evening.