NYC Faced With Tough Questions About Blizzard Response

Mayor Bloomberg Miffed After Nightmarish Stories Go Public

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A winter storm that dumped nearly 2 feet of snow on New York City is also whipping up criticism about how the city handled the response.

City officials said Monday night it could require another 24 hours to clear the snowy and icy side streets, WCBS 880’s Ginny Kosola reported.

WCBS 880 Reporter Ginny Kosola reports the city is working to get back to normal

The heavy snow sent city emergency services into a nose dive, with ambulances and fire trucks trapped in snow and facing long delays. There was also bickering between the city and some unions over whether a snow emergency should have been called, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reported.

Just how much did the city struggle in its response to medical and fire emergencies on Monday? So bad that CBS 2 has learned EMS crews from three counties in New Jersey had to rush to New York City’s aid Monday night.

As residents were being asked not to call 911 unless there was an emergency, sources said the city was having difficulty responding to many high-priority calls.

Crews from Burlington, Somerset and Mercer counties in New Jersey arrived in New York City to help with the back load of calls – 20 crews were assigned to Queens and 20 ambulances went to Brooklyn.

Al Hagen, President of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association, said he is “demanding a hearing.”

“It’s not right. The essential services of this city have clearly taken a back seat,” Hagen said.

There were also questions about whether a potentially dangerous situation could have been headed off.

Monday afternoon, there was a three-hour wait to get an ambulance to critical calls, like cardiac arrests and traumas, sources told CBS 2. In addition, lower priority EMS calls were said to have been held up for nearly 12 hours before an ambulance could get to the scene.

At one point there were 120 ambulances stuck in the snow, Kramer reported.

The combination of snow problems and the need to respond to health emergencies gave the FDNY about a 60 percent availability to respond to fires, sourced said.

A dramatic example of the chaos was what happened to a Queens’ woman suffering an asthmatic attack. Engine 289 got to her house and spent 10 hours with her waiting for an EMS ambulance to show up. They kept running out of oxygen, eventually using up 26 bottles.  The woman was finally taken to Elmhurst Hospital when the 46 Battalion Chief arrived.

WCBS 880 Reporter Ginny Kosola talks with Councilman Peter Vallone about the lack of plows in Queens.

EMS and fire sources questioned why the city didn’t call a snow emergency to keep cars off streets, which would have made it easier for emergency vehicles and snow plows to get around.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg blamed the fast pace of snowfall. He said it fell at 2 to 3 inches per hour during some periods overnight, and many main roadways had to be plowed repeatedly.

Bloomberg quipped back when asked about the long delays by Kramer.

“We are always concerned about any backlog. You can rest assured that is our number one priority,” Bloomberg said.

Patrick Bahnken, Head of the EMS union said he has not seen a more difficult emergency situation  “since 9-11.”  Senator Karl Kruger, of Brooklyn, is demanding hearings into the “highly disturbing” news that EMS was on a 3 hour delay for critical cases.

More from Marcia Kramer
  • maureen

    It may have been because they only had 2400 drivers available, 6,000 people aere on vacation

  • Konrad Benz

    I live around Boston. Our Governor declared a snow emergency before it even started to snow. But it helped to get cars and people off the road. I dug out this morning and the streets are clear. I guess your guy only cares about Bloomberg Business week. Good luck and I hope some progress in your great City.
    Love Boston, Koni1

  • Seb

    Hey Bloomie, you and your corporate politics suck… There are 5 MTA buses stuck in the street in front of my house in College Point, Queens. They’ve been there for more than 24 hours. The road is completely blocked and no signs of plowes anywhere. And we thought NY was a first world city. By the way, one block away, where the Pepsi Bottling company is the road is completely clear. Of course, a big transnational corporation gets a great hand from you :

  • the-obamunist

    This global warming has got to stop.

    • Andrew

      Arf arf.

  • Kelsey

    Wow, have people really become that dense to believe that the government can actually control the weather?! The people of NYC are looking for Merlin, not a mayor.

    I could be all wrong about how dumb people are though. It could just be CBS.

    • Zippy007

      Yes and yes!

  • Reuvain

    This is an obvious work slow down. The plows keep going down the same street and everything else is left unplowed. The people suffer for this political chess game. The sanitation commissioner should be fired for his actions.

    • Arugula

      kGood point. Point a GPS beacon on each vehicle and track them to see how mch work they’re doing, and where. Then fine or fire the SOBs if they aren’t doiong their job…the union? DIsenfranchise them!!!

  • joe

    Come on folks, it’s 2 feet of snow. 3 hours to do my own sidewalk and driveway. To clear a whole city is a monumental task. Give them a break. Even the airports which have some of the best snow removal equipment were shutdown. That should be telling how difficult the situation is.

  • JonSE

    Based upon the comments here, if I were from another planet I would guess that Bloomberg was appointed mayor of NYC. Surely with two terms of exposure, voters would not have returned such an obviously incompetent and uncaring person to office if given a choice. Voters in this country have choices. Actions have consequences. I reckon that NYC got what it deserved.

    • Andrew

      Including the lady with the asthma attack? Including folks who voted the other way? I think your simplified view of civics throws something out with the bathwater.

    • Native Staten Islander

      Boy is it easy for you to simplify the situation from your armchair in someplace other than NYC. I hope you get what you deserve.

    • Ellis Wyatt

      “Choices”, right. In NYC you get a choice between liberal and socialist.

      • Andrew

        I’m curious: in which of those two categories would you place Rudy?

  • Fritz

    It’s not Stalingrad, man up and stop being so dependent on government.

    • Andrew

      I would like you to say that when you or a loved one is suffering from an acute health issue and have called an ambulance.

  • Jersey Boy

    And where’s your Governor? Pardoning another felon? The state should have been able to get equipment and manpower in from upstate where there’s plenty of it. The sanitation workers should be fired and you should contract private. Next time elect some competent people to run things.

    • Fritz

      Private contractors, that’s the way to go. If they don’t effectively plow their assigned areas, fired, goodbye, have a nice day.

      • life is good

        LOL … Yeah right. The private sanitation corp’s. will get their foot in the door and then crank up their rates. Of course they won’t provide their employees with good benefits or a living wage, they will just stuff their own pockets as is the case with most wealthy corporate swine. Clearly, public safety is not one of Bloomberg’s strong points.



  • Captain Obvious

    Dear Mayor Michael Bloomberg,

    Your inability to take responsibility for the failures of your administration during the recent snow storm require you to resign your position as Mayor of New York City at this time.


    The People of NYC

  • Michael

    In my 35 years living in Brooklyn I have never seen such a response to a snow storm, including the ’96 one

    Millions of people and 1000’s of small business owners like myself will lose millions tomorrow as well, because most streets in Brooklyn Queens have not been cleaned even once

    SHAME ON YOU TRILLIONER, LAME DUCK, MAYOR BLOOMBERG. At least you will need to buy a new pair of boots, to your stingy shoe collection.

    As far as the cities lost revenue is concerned, that shouldn’t be a problem, just hire some new ticket agents, double fines for small business owners who try to make a buck by using sandwich signs to get customers and BLANKET THE CITY WITH YOUR ORANGE ENVELOPES

    • Andrew

      He is not a trillionaire.

      • Abe beam

        For most people a billion and a trillion are the same,

  • leo

    Bloomie needs to resign enough with this dictator lets all sign a petition on this.

  • Bayside Snow

    Bayside is one big mess! That’s what happens when you don’t live in the Emerald City. Resign Mr Mayor !

  • canty

    king bloomberg should Burn in Hell!

    • Andrew

      He may. (But it’s not your call.)

  • funkeyooo

    Hey maybe your smartbutt mayor should get some of those Lincoln Center stagehands who makes $290K a year out to shovel some of that snow!! NYC you deserve what you elect!

    • Andrew

      NYC stagehands don’t make anything like that kind of money.

  • benjy mandel

    According to the Wall St Journal, Harry Nespoli president of sanitation union has warned in September that due to cuts there will be a slower response. Now he’s saying that the Mayor should now hire more. This is looking like a deliberate slow down by union garbage men, so they can teach the. mayor a lesson for retiring 1% of the garbage men. It would explain why we saw many plows going on the few clean streets and NONE on almost most of Brooklyn.

    • ILoatheNY

      Just goes to show, when you get right down to the bottom of it, there’s almost NOTHING that isn’t the fault of some union in one way or another…a destroyed auto industry (and many others), a destroyed “educational” system, insolvent governments at every level, etc….

      • Andrew

        Unions do not have a monopoly in this area. It turns out that other power structures also share the blame for the World’s ills. But thanks for sharing your bias.

    • Native Staten Islander

      When something goes wrong in the other city or mayoral agencies, they look to Supervision and managment as a failure to Supervise. This is nonsense that our streets are not being plowed and salted at a better rate. I understand that the enormity of the snowfall was great, but by now there should be more streets cleared. The Sanitiation workers are going to be making a killing in overtime, they live for these snowstorms, but I kow they are going at a slower pace, regardless of whether it’s a union slow down. They have it made, they get great salaries, lots of overtime, pensions at 20 years of service, ulimited sick leave, etc and when they work, all they have to do is their respective route and that usually takes them a few hours, so they have time to lounge around for the rest of the day. They do have a smelly job that requires a lot of lifting, but they need to do the job 100% when it comes to snowfall.

      Now where the heck are the trucks in Staten Island? We are trapped in many places, especially up here on my hill in Brighton Heights/New Brighton.

  • Dot

    Where are the snow plows to clean the streets in North Flushing? Bloomberg talks about Broadway shows up and running, guess what we don’t care about that. I along with others want to get off our blocks. Help us please!!!!!!!!!!!!! And Abe I’m with you, RESIGN BLOOMIE!!!!!

  • parking meter rate adjuster

    Mayor Mike, send deputy mayor Goldsmith back to Indiana and get yourself a real New Yorker who understands NYC. His cost saving nonsense just may end up causing someone their life. Great Job Mayor, you look like a complete fool again.

  • Nino

    It is snow emergency / state of emergency BUT only for Manhattan tourists and tower people
    Time for a big Tea party, this is proof Queens has ZERO representation !
    With Bloomberg its all about Manhattan

  • esther teitelbaum

    the mayor has no compassion for the people. how did he get a 3rd term? a person does not become a billionaire by showing compassion.

    we need to stop voting for these CEO types. they are heartless machines.

  • Abe Benesch

    Mayor Bloomberg, the people recommend you tender your resignation.

  • Recall Bloomy

    How does this idiot not declare a snow emergency/state of emergency. When you have EMS taking over 3hrs to respond to heart attacks that is a state of emergency. Meanwhile – my street in Central Queens looks like Siberia.

    • Andrew

      Wait; your street always looks like Siberia.

  • Nino

    The mayor don’t give a dam about Brooklyn and Queens. All the equipment and people were sent into Manhattan to take care of his rich tower people constituents.
    Thist beantown son of a __ plowed all the sidewalks so people that don’t even own cars can walk their poodles.
    He is now on TV making all kinds of excuses.
    Nothing in Little Neck or Northern Queens is plowed.
    Under this new sneaky “Blew Alert” all the workers service corporate Manhattan and the rich first.
    Northern Queens is still not plowed, Little Neck is buried

    • Andrew

      And you doesn’t give a damn about grammar, does you?

  • thatguy

    Cut off that liberals head and all other liberals who voted the liberal in

    • Andrew

      Fiscally, he’s rather conservative.

      • EllisWyatt

        Even if that was true, his other policies negate that. Waging war on trans fats and salt during a time of 9% unemployment shows me that his priorities are way out of whack. You must have an extremely loose definition of “fiscally conservative”. Or maybe you’re on Bloomberg’s staff? Your other comments sure make it seem like you’re running damage control.

  • ray

    Long live the KING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Moishe Kahan

    Q How come “greedy mike” didn’t get a heart attack from 4 days without parking tickets ?

    A. How can you get it if you have no heart

  • John V.

    I live in eastern Queens and can say that many secondary streets have not been plowed yet. for example: 209 st east to Bell Blvd and north of Union Tpk. I had reason to drive in to Nassau County earlier this evening and can say that the roads there are in pretty decent conditions. No excuses from that county’s officials. Whats up Mayor Bloomberg ?

    • ILoatheNY

      That’s because the GOP runs Nassau county again. :-) I’m rather amazed though that in spite of the ludicrous storm he didn’t have the city spotless within an hour so he could have his goons back to kicking people’s doors in again to see if anyone is eating any trans fats or is in possession of any photographs of a gun or a cigarette.

      • Native Staten Islander

        ILoatheNY, at least your sarcasm is humorus. I am glad that you got your streets cleared quickly, you (Long Island) have your share of problems and recently the rampant nepotism issue was aired out again. Maybe it’s not a bad idea to have a bunch of relatives as policticians to get the job done… who knows, we elect these people, so who is to blame.

  • Val

    Bloomberg is so out of touch it’s scary. I thought he sounded ridiculous at the press conference saying it was like any other day! All he cares about is Manhattan. Staten Island is down right dangerous yet we are expected to get to work tomorrow with no mass transit options?? He really doesn’t care and he should be ashamed of himself. He needs to grow a backbone and be a man and admit his errors. Does he realize he acts like a complete fool?

  • Dave Templeton

    He has time to devote to locating muslim mosques in NYC so lets see how he solves a problem facing American!

  • jojo

    Streets in Greenpoint, Brooklyn are not plowed.
    Diamond Street, Nassau Street, Humbold Street.

  • Snowed Inn

    My street has not been plowed, neither any of the surrounding streets. This is ridiculous since the news of a snow blizzard on Sunday was being mentioned a week before Christmas. Once again zero preparation until it’s too late.

  • jcap17

    Greetings CBS 2 viewers. We here at would love to know what specific roads in Ozone Park have not been plowed. We are planning an update to our report at 11 p.m. Thanks. …


    The mayor is a complete moron, I also have not seen one single PLOW. This is a JOKE, and so is this mayor. And on top of everything else he hasn’t even made an attempt to declare NYC a state of emergency. All this guy is worried about is getting his meter maids back on the street to write up more tickets. For all we know he will enforce alternate side parking tomorrow and meters.

    He needs to go fast! … MIKEY boy is sucking the life out of the hard working New Yorker as he counts his billions.


    They said that if I bought a Toyota Prius, it would stop GLOBAL WARMING.

    And they were RIGHT!!

    • ILoatheNY

      Haha, nice.

      Now it’s time to equip all city agencies with coal-fired bicycles and repeal all emissions laws and CAFE stupidity to fight the obvious-to-absolutely-everyone GLOBAL FREEZING.

  • jim f.

    Hello Mayor Lindsay!

  • Greg

    Stop complaining. You idiots re-elected him

    • Moishe Kahan

      1 Didn’t he by the election ?
      2 What did he pay or threaten the ciLy council ,to overturn term limits

  • Hugh ryan

    Bloomberg said that he’s the best mayor this city ever had. He’s the worst. He hates cars in the city and is using cops to issue traffic tickets to balance the budget. He even established a seat belt task force. This megalomaniac can’t touch Giuliani’s boots.The outer borough won’t get cleaned up for days because Bloomberg lives in Manhattan. Everyone knew we’d get hit hard.

  • Riki

    I live near a service road and it has not seen a single plow along its entire length. Pretty scary if an emergency situation arises.

  • Randy

    It is 7:29P and in Long Island City Vernon St is plowed. Forget any of the side streets. I have never seen so many vehicles stranded and overnight. City bus, taxis, cars entire streets blocked off because they were impassible and cars abandoned. It looked like a war zone. God help those who needed urgent medical attention

  • The Truth

    Who is Mike kidding. Most of those plows were in Manhattan. Saw one plow all day and last night. To Mike, off with his head please!

  • Steve from Queens

    A plow, a plow, my kingdom for a plow, speaketh Mayor Mikey as Richard III. Somebody go to Burger King and get him one of those crowns the kids like so much.

  • pam

    I have one even better than all the above listed. how about a sanitation captain driving in front of the snow plow. he gets stuck and then has to pay a civilan $20 2 borrow his shovel so he could dig himself out. THAT’S DSNY. how much r we paying these morons. they must have had a hellava Xmas party.

    • Dontworryaboutit

      wow your dumb.

    • disgruntled

      Dsny is the highest paid agency i wonder why ems is the lowest paid nxt to traffic but we save lives every day a million calls a year we handle and yet still at the bottom of the civil service chain we work harder than dsny . U wanna talk about a better post its a reality way to go ny. Priorites are where in the garbage truck call dsny for a cardiac arrrest i am sure they will be happoy to take u to hospital in an overpaid sweeper .

  • Meteorologist Henry Margusity

    This is not mayor Bloombergs fault. The National Weather Service made a critical error in the computer models Friday morning that cost 24 hours of valuable weather information on a Category 5 blizzard to be withheld. Had the information been given to officials on Christmas eve, they would have had 48 hours to prepare everyone for the storm. Instead, it was Christmas day when information on the blizzard was released and not time to prepare of the biggest holiday of the year. The Meteorologist that had predicted the blizzard well in advance were using all methods possible to get the word out that the computer models were correct Friday and that a major blizzard was coming.

    • greg

      Quick call fat Al! Oh wait his globul warming is just that! And another fool looks to models to predict the weather. Funny how most other people knew that New Yawk was gonna get hit with a big one two days before Christmas. Oh wait we watch the weather on tv!LOL

      • Bob

        Global warming is nothing but a ridiculous wealth re-distribution ruse between developed countries and poor countries. Obviously, it does not exist. The leftists/socialists will continue to push their agenda however. How come no one ever asks Mexico, China, India or Brazil to curb their global warming pollutants?

      • Phil Simms

        We already have cap and trade here in NYC. Too bad most NYers haven’t bothered reading their own utility bills to notice the major increase. It’s called RGGI or the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Look it up.

  • david11238

    Those plows should have been running at least every two hours when the first snow flake fell. NYC must have clear roads, highways and streets to function. This is grounds for a recall.

    • Vic T

      My side street had no less than 4 plow trucks come through by Sunday night when there was only a tiny amount of snow on the ground.

      After 7 pm Sunday we haven’t had a SINGLE plow. This is a catastrophic failure.

  • NYC Taxpayer

    It is Sunday 6:55 PM and not a single snow plow has been seen in my entire neighborhood. I think that the mayor should take full resposibility for this fiasco and resign. He should be held accountable for any deaths that have occured due to his mishandling of this snow storm cleanup.

  • Sammy Davis

    I haven’t seen a single snowplow since this storm began and there’s an MTA bus stuck in the middle of the road on my block.
    The response to this storm sucked THE BIG ONE.

    • emschic

      Ems had 280 ambulances stuck 150 mta busses stuck in all boros manhatten was not plowed first only highways were done first .ny should of been declared before the storm .importantly 911 should only be activated when there is a life threating emergency stroke cardiac arrest chest pain anaphaylaxsis tight asthmatic arterial bleeding or immenent labor .we need to be more proactive and help each other out and not be self absorbed the mayor who cares we need him for what ?every one shovel if u can u dont need leadership from a mayor ambition is all it takes .thanks to all the good samaritans who helped ems shovel us out we all need to lend each other a hand forget blaming thats useless time u can be spending helping out humanity.btw guliani needs to come back now he is a mayor of the people he is a true example of leadership .

  • Nick M

    So far we noticed 15 plows on Northern Blvd in Queens during the past hour, and NONE on the side streets to help people get out from their homes. I’m stuck at my in-laws for God’s sake! HELP ME GET OUT OF HERE!

  • Liberty Lover

    I haven’t seen a snow plow all day where I live in Queens. This is reminiscent of the “Lyndsay Snowstorm” of 1969.

    • Annie R.

      Absolutely agree. I live on a Snow Emergency Street in South Ozone Park, Queens, no plows to be seen to date. There is no way an emergency vehicle would be able to make it down my block if needed. All Mayor Mike could talk about was how Manhattan is up and running and going to the open museums and Broadway shows. No mention of the other 4 paralyzed boros that make up NYC – but then again, why should he? After all, we’re just the home owners that pay the brunt of the ever increasing property taxes from which we reap no benefit! Who voted this nimrod in for a third term?????

      • johnbirch

        The rich Manhattanites and lazy no job Bronx leeches voted him in….

    • Moishe Kahan

      you live a Queens , but “king Mike doesn’t care about you

  • aldous huxley

    Mikey is miffed. Poor Mikey.

    Listen, quit complaining – find out what went wrong – AND FIX THE PROBLEM. Then shut up – you are the Mayor – you have to field these questions. If you don’t like it, leave & go back to running a corporation where everyone will tell you the sun is shining. I don’t think you have the proper temperament for this position.

    And Mikey, always remember that you work for the people – not the other way around.

    • Moishe Kahan

      his wage is $1 a year ,you get what you pay for

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