Mayor: Stay Out Of The Way During Storm Cleanup
NEW YORK (CBS 2/1010 WINS/WCBS 880) — Many residents are still trying to get their lives back to normal following the pair of tornadoes that crushed their neighborhoods last Thursday.
As the Federal Emergency Management Agency began assessing whether the city’s storm damage qualifies for aid, Congressman Anthony Weiner cautioned residents who were expecting too much from the federal government at a Tuesday night town hall in Forest Hills.
“I want New Yorkers to understand, these are not like pennies from heaven. No one’s going to knock on your door with a bag full of 20s for your trouble,” Weiner said.
On Monday, CBS 2 spoke with frustrated Queens residents who appealed to Mayor Michael Bloomberg for help. Reporter John Slattery asked the mayor on Tuesday if he was considering another first-hand look at the tornado damage.
“I was out there before you even knew there was a storm, looking at trees and talking to people,” Bloomberg said. “I have not considered going out again.”
Bloomberg said his presence and the media coverage in neighborhoods with major problems could be detrimental to the cleanup and advised that it would be better to stay out of the way and let professionals do their jobs.
Still, storm victims continued to be frustrated by what they perceived as little help from authorities.
“I don’t need to shake his hand in order to get my neighborhood cleaned up,” Barbara Horton of Forest Hills told CBS 2′s Sean Hennessey.
“It’s a debris field and the city has done absolutely nothing,” one man said.
“I don’t know where to turn to. I just feel helpless, that’s all. I really do,” Mary Gonzalez said.
Lorraine Gister lives on 68th Road in Forest Hills, where tons of debris are on top of the downed phone lines. Gister said her husband and son need care and she has no cell phone.
“I’m very nervous without that phone,” Gister said.
Still feeling the effects from the storm, 1010 WINS’ Al Jones spoke with one resident who just hoped for some basic services to be restored.
“Cable, telephone, internet service — why is there such a delay in getting that done,” he said.
Lenore Sherman, 92, said she spoke to Verizon, who informed her of when they planned to fix phone lines.
“They’re not going to get here until October sometime — 3, 4, 5. Who knows what day?” Sherman said.
As clean-ups go, it can always be better.
“It is small consolation to say that 90 percent of the problem is solved if you’re in that other 10 percent,” Rep. Weiner said.