Bloomberg Admits NYC Flubbed Blizzard Response

Some Say This Is The Low Point Of Mayor's 9 Years In Office

NEW YORK (CBS 2/WCBS 880/ 1010 WINS) — Under pressure, Mayor Michael Bloomberg admitted on Wednesday that New York City messed up.

There are still many street in the city’s outer boroughs that haven’t been plowed – three days after the tri-state was blasted with a weekend blizzard.

City Hall is promising that every street will be plowed by Thursday, but until then, the city’s inadequate response is sparking outrage – and Bloomberg finds himself on the hot seat.

1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks reports mayor is ‘dissatisfied’ with city’s response

WCBS 880 Reporter Marla Diamond says Bloomberg is defending Sanitation Commissioner amid blizzard of complaints.

Despite the plows that were spotted parked at the Department of Sanitation depot on Wednesday, the mayor said the city was throwing everything it could at the storm’s aftermath.

If anger alone could melt the snow, streets in every borough would be down to bare pavement.

“He should be ashamed of himself,” said one Midwood, Brooklyn resident. “His arrogance and lofty attitude are disgusting.”

“He wasn’t prepared for this. If he was, he would have had snow plows in all five boroughs, and the streets would have been cleaned up by now,” said another resident.

Mayor’s Response to Criticism of City’s Handling of Blizzard

Bloomberg promised that every city street will be passable by Thursday morning, and if you’re not happy with the city’s response, the mayor wants you to know that he’s not happy either.

“You know, you can grade us any way you want. We did not do as good a job as we wanted to do, or as the city has a right to expect,” he said.

Clearly, the everywhere-but-Manhattan mess is not what the mayor expected. As the blizzard began Sunday, Hizzoner said he set high expectations for a relatively normal clean-up.

Outer Boroughs Angry at Lack of Snow Removal

“I guess we’re getting lucky that this happens to be a quiet week anyways,” Bloomberg said Sunday. “Less traffic means it’s easier for the plows to get down the streets.”

City Councilman James Vacca said that was the start of the mayor’s troubles.

“When you have a blizzard like this, you never set expectations, because this was a catastrophic condition,” Vacca said.

“We had the same plan – with the same equipment and the same well-trained and managed staff – that we had every other time, and it worked better the other times,” the mayor said. “The question is, why did it not work as well this time?”

The one obvious reason is that fewer independent contractors stepped up to clean the narrow residential streets in Queens and Brooklyn.

CBS 2’s Tony Aiello asked Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty why that was the case.

“We don’t know yet, we don’t know. This is something that I have not experienced in the past,” Doherty said.

The mayor said Doherty’s job is not at risk, but the commissioner admitted that the blizzard has put a chill on the department’s reputation.

“We got tarnished on this one, no question about it, and we have to earn back a little bit more respect,” Doherty said.

Even as he accepted blame, the mayor spread responsibility for the snow snafu to the public for making thousands of non-emergency 911 calls.

“That overwhelmed the system,” Bloomberg said. “We asked people not to drive, but to take mass transit. Someone can say, ‘oh, mass transit wasn’t functioning.’ I understand that, but your car stuck in the middle of the road made things worse.”

The complaints about the clean-up come just three months after similar issues following the September tornado that devastated Staten Island, Brooklyn and Queens – the same boroughs feeling neglected after the weekend blizzard.

The responses to major weather events are taking a toll, and have many calling this a low point in Bloomberg’s nine years as mayor.

Brooklyn Borough President Rides Along in Mobile 2

PHOTO GALLERIES: Blizzard Slams East Coast | User-Submitted Pictures

More from Tony Aiello
  • Reg

    This is what happens when you steal a third term

  • Nathaniel Grant

    Thank you CBS comming out to my neighborhood Hendrix ST east NY Brooklyn

  • Donna

    If this had been a school week, those trucks would of been out, with the first fallen snowflake…

  • Donna

    3 plows came down my block One@ 330am 345, 410 am..And not one of them plowed the street, they just passed through, i went out to look around the neighborhood, everyone else was plowed but east 74th street,in Brooklyn…Why? Bergen Beach, always and still is the forgotten land in Brooklyn and i have been living here for 50 years…We were lucky when our street was a bus route, but since they took that away its like we don’t exist..

  • Raphael

    I have a house in Kew Gardens Queens. The first day I dug out my sidewalks; the next day the Sanitation Dept left a six-foot high mound of hardened snow on the street directly in front of my driveway. I don’t take my car out, but should have the right to be able to have an opening to the street. Leaving snow like this is as bad as failing to plow streets in the city.

  • Fred

    Remember, he’s not running for President.

  • mercedes

    We are in great need of help…..I live on union st corner of utica ave …..SAnitation haven’t yet passed by my street it a damn shame …..please help

  • jan

    Doreen is either an idiot or a relative of our stupid mayor!

  • Marc

    I am SURE the city will F_ _ k up again on the next storm!

    How much of our money that should be going to improve our quality of life are the City Officials going to keep stuffing into their pockets!

  • Reason

    Nobody told you guys to live there, you get what you pay for.

    • Jim

      How about all the property taxes paid in the outer boroughs?

  • SG

    I am writing from Ridgewood, if you are wondering where the plows are… they are STUCK on my block! 4!!!! trucks, two snow plows (white garbage trucks), one sander (orange truck) and one of those enormous “CAT” lift trucks. The first plow got stuck and has been there since 9 with the other 3 right behind it. I am on Woodbine st. between 64th street and Traffic Avenue. What a sight!

  • Inna Gorelik


  • Out Of Patience

    “By Thursday morning all streets will be cleaned” It’s almost 11:00 pm Weds night, my street has yet to see a snow plow, at this point the pile up is so bad I dont know how they’ll be able to remove the snow.
    Completely unacceptable in the highest tax paying city in the US.

  • Mike

    i sat for 27 hours stuck on a street in brooklyn. Well as a delivery driver i saw many things there bloomberg is not to blame for all of this.

  • Mike

    Progress report grade: F.
    Let’s consider City Hall for possible phase out or turnaround.

  • Lou Siffer

    I gotta tell ya – Mike is my kind of guy! He handled the cleanup and subsequent press nightmare perfectly – totally without care for anyone but himself.

    That is exactly how I taught you Mike. Good job.

    See you soon – Lou

  • Bill

    get this in your head, BLOOMBERG DOESN”T CARE ABOUT QUEENS. NYC has fallen off, it’s a miserable crowded place live.

  • Lissette

    I left work at 4:45 p.m. in Queens and got home in the Bronx at 8 p.m. This trip normally takes me an hour and a half at the most. The Queens buses were horrendous. Once in the Bronx, I quickly got home. What is going on with MTA too?

  • davd ptterson

    Michael Bloomberg has somewhat of a reptilian look to him. Could David Icke be correct?

  • NYCitizen

    Sanittation now plowing my corner (169th & 22nd Ave) to the point where it sounds as if they are breaking pavement! Over-kill, don’tcha think! Maybe if they did the corners a bit to get rid of the snow piles might help….Last night I found a man’s new lace show stuck in the piles of snow that was plowed. Hope nobody had to jum out of the way!

  • Golan M.

    Mr. Michael Bloomberg, we want your resignation not an apology.

    You may, as an alternative, perform the ritual of Yubitsume to make amends for this offense.

  • KingOfQueens

    All, the fault lies in Municipal Labor Committee, Local 831; they called and illegal job action against the city, that resulted in the deaths of NYC citizens. The Mayor should show he has control of the city and bring them up on Criminal charges for an illegal job action.

    • Stranded in Sheepshead Bay

      Is there any proof of this? I have a feeling that #1 Sanitation is not nearly organized to pull off an illegal work action, #2 Most sanitation workers want the overtime and would not give it up to make a point and #3, there is NO WAY that Bloomberg wouldn’t bring this up if there was any indication of it.

    • harriet in ny

      ah gee, ya just making things up. The problem was the major’s pal, stephen goldsmith, former mayor of indianosis decided to centralize snow removal, gensis pure gensis i tells ya, may have saved a few nickels too, but they didn’t pull it off, seems as if NYC is bigger then indy and boy can we b!tch

  • Doreen Helene Kelly

    why don’t these people just shut up and stop blamming when actually what happened lies right on there own shoulders.

    • No Fault

      ummm my car is parked in my garage, the front of my house is completely clean – the CITY street has not been plowed the the MTA subway is not running… No fault here, the fault is at CITY HALL

      • shtup

        fault? jesus, get over yourself.. its a snow storm. Deal with it, instead of whining like a 5 yr old and trying to blame somebody

  • David Cohen

    Amazingly my street on 52nd Ave between 67th-69th street in Maspeth Queens has not been plowed and is not drivable. A bulldozer comes looks at the snow, pull in reverse and leaves! City keeps advertising the “Every street will be plow by…” but they just keep pushing that deadline back when then FAIL. The city has failed me. Is it considered plowed if they just showup and not do the work. I guess I’ll me waiting for mother nature to wash the snow away this weekend. Bring the rain.



    • broadway show bound

      I would but my train still ISN’T RUNNING!!

    • Eugene Lipsky

      Because the Q/B trains in South Brooklyn are still NOT running and can’t get to the city!!!

      • broadway show bound


        We should car pool — Ohhh that’s right we can’t cause the streets aren’t plowed either!!

  • Jimmy

    Perhaps Doomberg was so preoccupied in having his female friend with no experience head up the largest school system in the country, that he forgot what his real priorities are running the city for the tax payers of NYC.

    Sorry Mayor but you work for us.

  • Had Enough

    As of 8:30pm on Dec 29th, my street 67th between 20th & 21st Avenue in Bensonhurst Brooklyn has not YET BEEN PLOWED. There is no service on the N train and all bus services in my neighborhood have been suspended. Can someone explain why the subway line is still NOT RUNNING when all the surrounding lines are??? I have to walk 20 blocks to the nearest subway in order to get to work. Can the media please bring this up?? Why hasn’t the MTA resumed service on the N train??? HELP!!!!

    • Jason B

      Unfortunately you’re out of luck because of the nature of the N (and the B/Q)… it’s in an open cut… it’s not elevated to simply brush the snow off of, and is walled in so it can’t easily be pushed off a bridge.

  • Doreen Helene Kelly

    get over it Mike, it aint the end of the world.

  • brian

    i feel that it is not easy to plow 6,000 miles of city streets in two days. some of these streets like the lie have to be done ten times before they can get to side streets……….. i think we all need to relax it will get done

    • Out Of Patience

      Hey Brian,
      Has YOUR street been plowed?
      Let’s stop pretending like NY has never had a blizzard before. We had more snow back in Feb.
      3 days AFTER a storm…. unplowed streets are no longer acceptable.

      • Out Of Patience

        Same goes for you Doreen. I notice your replies and have to wonder what sort of conditions you are living with.
        Clearly not the same ones we are.

    • Doreen Helene Kelly

      Please brian these people all they want to do is complain pay no attention.

  • Free-man

    Hey, Bloomberg !

    Maybe you should get off the road, trying to take away second amendmant freedoms from AMERICANS, and pay attention to the people of NYC that you were elected to represent. You rich dummy !!!

    • Doreen Helene Kelly

      U now something FREEEEE_MAN u better shut up cause ur gonna look stupid making this comment. Bloomberg did the best he could. Hes a smart and intellgent man, He didnt goof, noone did this was to much snow to handle at once. Y dont u go out if u havent already and plow…..and shovel.

  • Kate

    Sanitation was unsupervised driving around the boroughs in their trucks with their plows up, getting nothing done. And yes, I hold Bloomberg responsible.

  • Steve

    Plow the streets you holier than thou goy!

    • Dale

      Hey guys did you ever consider walking?? All the people in these videos are obese. It would do you good!

  • jen

    There are people who are making emergency calls for heart attacks and falls, and the response time is 4 hours. The ambulances cannot pass.
    Bloomberg has a lot of explaining to do. He wouldn’t authorioze a snow emergency because he ddn’t want to tap the budget.
    If the money isn’t to be used for something like this, than what IS it supposed to be for?

  • Carol

    hey Dougherty you want to earn our respect back, stop sending crews to clean up Times Square for the Mayor and put our people’s streets first; New Year Eve’s event should not be priority over our boroughs, cancel the dam event.

    • Had Enough

      People that live in NYC should boycott times square on New Year’s Eve

      • KingOfQueens

        No one from NYC goes to Times Square for New Years Eve in the frist place…

  • Jorge Bernal

    Forget it Mr. Mayor. We do not need the plowers any more. The snow is now ice. We need de-icing salters. Your plowers are just cruising the street scratching the surface of ice two or more inches thick.

  • Doc Paul

    you can’t blame the mayor for the 6th largest snow storm in history – you might as well say he should be adequately prepared for a tsunami or an earthquake. He’s a great leader for this city – stop shouting at the rain.

    • Stranded in Sheepshead Bay

      Doc, we are furious about his irresponsible response (pre salting and plowing during the storm would have prevented this extreme mess, no matter how much snow there was). We are also angry at his disgusting insensitivity, his callous disregard for the people of NYC and his arrogance.

    • free-man

      Hey Doc,

      You should wake up and smell th coffee just like Bloomberg should have.

    • Justice_C

      I do understand that it’s not an easy job to clean up all NYC streets after this kind of blizzard. I don’t expect it could be done in 1 or 2 days. However, I do have problem that they do choose which street/ area have ‘higher priority’ to be plow first. I’m not talking about Times Square. I’m talking about some ‘special’ or ‘wealthy’ residential areas! Those area were being plowed the next day of the blizzard. MAYOR BLOOMBERG, I pay my tax like those ‘wealthy’ people paying. They shouldn’t have higher ‘priority’ than me. To amend the term limit law and making yourself the third-term NYC mayor, and this is WHAT you had been fighting for ????? ‘To specially serving your Top-priority residents’!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Eric

      He’s not being blamed for the storm; just the poor response to it. Maybe he was a great leader once, but like most great leaders he has become complacent and more narcissistic than ever. This storm was confirmed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration at least 2 days before it hit. There was a %100 chance it would hit. Where was the preparation? Let me save you the suspense, there was none. The responsibility falls squarely in the mayor’s lap.

      • harriet in ny

        actually, bloomie hired the former mayor of indainadious to be the number 2 in command of city services, steven goldsmith, who apparently hasn’t been outside of manhatten and decided to centralize snow removal, and voilia, no plows in queens until after 12 inches fall

  • Five-t

    I’m not a Bloomberg fan by a long shot. But in his defense, not everything should be left to one person or blamed on one person. Everyone new it was going to be a bad storm. So if you have any common sense, you would move your car to a place you could get to it easier knowing those small streets are difficult to plow because there are cars parked on both sides. Park it in a garage next time for one single night, move it to NJ or a friends house, whatever. Think about it.

    • Free-man

      I know you are not a Harry Truman Fan. Where does the buck stop in your mind?

    • blah blah blah


      Your thinking Manhattan not the boroughs, these parking garages you speak of don’t exist – and people that do have garages park their own cars. Any other bright suggestions?

    • harriet in ny

      spoken like someone who have never been to queens or brooklyn, 1) the problem wasn’t that people left their cars parked on the street, that wouldn’t have been a problem, the plows would have just buried the parked cars, 2) in most areas in queens and brooklyn, there aren’t garages 3) if you pay city income taxes. why should you give up your car? 4) some of us outerborough people really need cars for everyday things like shopping and getting to work. the problem was that NO plows came, not even on the major streets, nothing, nada, just lots of snow, but not a huge storm, we have had worse and the streets were passable the next day,

  • MIKE


    • Joe

      Mike, at least you got to sleep in!

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