Residents of New York City’s wealthiest neighborhood found themselves unable to get around the city Tuesday, as Mayor Bill de Blasio’s response to this week’s winter blast seemed to neglect the Upper East Side. The New York Post found residents wondering if the city left them snowed in for political retribution.
The city’s official snow plow maps showed Tuesday that many of the streets of the Upper West Side were simply left unattended for hours – something that the city dismissed, saying one snow plow’s GPS was not working, though it was allegedly actually on the scene and clearing snow.
Residents standing in a foot of snow did not seem to accept that excuse. One resident called Mayor de Blasio “divisive and political,” insisting that the snow situation was a product of de Blasio’s “trying to get us back” for not voting for him, or perhaps merely for being wealthy. “He’s crazy. We need Mayor Bloomberg back!” protested another.
De Blasio has not been shy in advocating for New York City’s poor at the expense of the town’s wealthy who pay most of its taxes. One speaker at de Blasio’s inauguration called the city a “plantation” in an attempt to suggest that the city had socioeconomic divisions. In policy matters, de Blasio has been urging a push for a tax hike on New Yorkers that make more than $500,000, ostensibly to fund a universal pre-kindergarten program. State Democrats have rejected the proposal as too far left, with Cuomo developing a state-wide universal pre-K program apparently designed to render de Blasio’s tax hike obsolete.
De Blasio appeared outside his home in Brooklyn Wednesday morning for a snow shoveling photo-op with his son, Dante. Some questioned what he was doing in Brooklyn at all, since he had announced that his family was moving into the city’s mayoral home, Gracie Mansion, which happens to be on the Upper East Side. He was not there, instead shoveling in front of cameras and answering that he was supportive of the job the city had done in that area. “I think the city handled it very well,” de Blasio told the media, allowing for “isolated incidents” but saying that “sanitation did a remarkable job.”
Politicker notes that de Blasio did provide an explanation outside of merely acknowledging “isolated incidents” for why, perhaps, the Upper East Side was left unplowed for so long: the snow was “too powdery” to compile with ease.
This is not the first time in recent memory that a snowstorm has marred the reputation of a New York City mayor. Just four years ago, Mayor Michael Bloomberg found himself in a similar situation – though in his case, no one believed he was as radically political and ruthless as to deliberately leave neighborhoods that did not support him unplowed. Instead, critics complained that the snowstorm response was subpar for the most populous city in America. Bloomberg, unlike de Blasio, agreed, but cautioned that “yelling about it and complaining doesn’t help.” Bloomberg did state in a press conference that he was “extremely dissatisfied” with the city’s response and that “the city has a right to expect” more from its government.
In saying so, Bloomberg agreed with one vocal critic quoted in the New York Daily News whose street before his Brooklyn home remained unplowed for days:
“Like many New Yorkers, I woke up two days straight to an unplowed street outside my front door,” said city Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. “This is not business as usual, and frustration is mounting.”
At least this time, de Blasio’s front door – though not Gracie Mansion’s – seemed to come out of the storm just fine.