Green Room

Infant Death One of the Casualties of Blizzard-Crippled Government-Hobbled NYC

posted at 4:09 pm on December 29, 2010 by

Heck of a job, Bloomie.

That’s New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, in case you’re wondering. And despite his repeated protestations that “we’re doing all we can,” the city response to Sunday’s blizzard has been so anemic that one might think that 20 feet of snow had fallen here instead of two.

Planes—and passengers—continue to sit idle at city airports, many of the subway lines and buses remain down, and in the boroughs outside of Manhattan streets are a winter wonderland.

Not that there’s anything wonderful about the tragedies that have occurred because emergency personnel were unable to reach victims on streets that should have been cleared of snow by now. The latest and so far youngest victim was a baby born last night inside the lobby of a snowbound Brooklyn apartment building. Calls to 911 by a young mother in labor went unanswered for 10 hours because the EMTs were unable to negotiate the unplowed streets. By the time help arrived, the newborn was dead.

The grieving woman’s mother told the New York Daily News:

The mayor was spouting nonsense to say Crown Heights was plowed. It wasn’t. No one could get to her … Any other day she would have gotten to a hospital.

Other horror stories, some great, some small, have been reported over the two days since the snow fell. On Monday, a Queens woman waited three hours for first responders to reach her mother who was having trouble breathing. The mother died before a medical crew could reach the scene.

In the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn a woman was forced to spend the night with her father’s corpse because impassible streets made it impossible for the medical examiner to claim his body. Said the woman, Florence Simancas:

This is New York City, and I’m a New Yorker, and this is not the first storm we’ve ever had. Somebody dropped the ball … big-time.

Somebody indeed! That same somebody needed seven hours to dispatch an emergency crew to rescue passengers trapped aboard four subway trains without water or bathroom facilities in the early morning hours of Monday.

Even the avenues in Manhattan were unnecessarily choked with traffic after being plowed because the same somebody had the brilliant idea last summer of repainting the traffic lanes, eliminating one to make way for a bicycle path along the street’s curb. The project, which is part of Bloomberg’s “green agenda,” has produced mixed results.

Except in the last two days when the results have been uniformly outrageous—and tragic.

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Cross-posted at the Examiner. Follow me on Twitter or join me at Facebook. You can reach me at howard.portnoy@gmail.com or by posting a comment below.

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Breaks my heart.

powerpro on December 29, 2010 at 5:12 PM

We’re going to see more and more local campaigns run on promises of lower crime and excellent basic services – and fewer and fewer run on stopping fast food chains and mandating composting.

David Shane on December 29, 2010 at 6:15 PM

Fire Bloomburg and re-hire Rudy Guliani, or someone like him if he is term-limited out.

Guliani actually got s**t done from what I hear.

SgtSVJones on December 29, 2010 at 7:06 PM

Guliani actually got s**t done from what I hear.

SgtSVJones

he started out okay, but was less and less effective

audiculous on December 29, 2010 at 7:24 PM

I dislike Bloomberg as much as the next guy, but are we now blaming him for this infant’s untimely death? It’s a massive blizzard in a city of millions. These things happen.

uknowmorethanme on December 29, 2010 at 7:53 PM

uknowmorethanme,

Mr Portnoy prefers venting his spleen to giving things a fair airing sometimes.

audiculous on December 29, 2010 at 8:37 PM

It’s a massive blizzard in a city of millions.

It’s far from the worst the city has encountered. The compelling fact in this case is that the city did a sub-par job in responding and someone should be held accountable, just as George W. Bush was when Katrina was handled badly. That someone in this case is Bloomberg.

Howard Portnoy on December 30, 2010 at 12:04 AM

These things happen.

uknowmorethanme on December 29, 2010 at 7:53 PM

The left has successfully made the argument that political executives are responsible for weather events that occur on there watch.

Time to ask Bloomie – and Obama – why they were so unprepared for a normal, but strong, winter storm. Were they ideologically blinded to cold weather? Was it the casual acceptance of corruption? Why didn’t Obama cancel his vacation? What was *he* doing to help clean up the mess?

Its time to stop playing nice and play by the rules now in force…

18-1 on December 30, 2010 at 1:18 AM

Yeah, The City screwed up. So did the counties to the north, so did New Jersey.

The plows should have been out in force before midnight on Sunday; they should have been plowing right into the Monday rush. With the streets cleared continualy they could have gotten ahead of the snow; with the cars moved to go to work they could have finished clearing the streets.

It seems like every municipality and county screwed this one up. Rather than pointing fingers, I’d like to know what led to the decision on how much to deploy when.

Bloomberg has already been on the air saying that The City had requested contractors to apply for snow removal work (with loaders, dump trucks, etc.), but that two thirds of the open offers got no response. Given that the problem seems endemic, I see no reason to doubt him on this point. Was this in fact the case everywhere? If so, was the problem that all the earthmover operators were taking their holidays out of town?

You can blast Christie and his Lieutenant Governor. But given that everyone seems to have had the same problem, I think we should look past the persons to the circumstances.

njcommuter on December 30, 2010 at 1:48 AM

OK, if the sanitation crews staged a slow down on the clean up, I would favor a criminal RICO suit that breaks the union over the death of the baby. I won’t blame Bloomberg over this, but the crews that didn’t do their job.

BTW, the snowstorm hit Newport News Saturday night – Monday morning. Despite not having their own plows (had to rely on V-DOT) and it was only 1 foot, the roads were clear on Monday. This is absurd. NY is capable of handling a 2 foot snow storm.

rbj on December 30, 2010 at 11:07 AM