Outer Boroughs: You Abandoned Us, Mr. Mayor
NEW YORK (CBS New York) – Streets throughout the city remained untouched by snow plows Wednesday, but Mayor Michael Bloomberg said his administration will concentrate more equipment on residential areas where the problems remain.
“We will not rest until every street in this city is cleared,” Bloomberg said.
New York’s sanitation commissioner said most of the streets in the still-snowbound city will be plowed by 7 p.m., with every last one done by Thursday morning.
Bloomberg said things were improving. Fifty city buses were still stuck in the snow Wednesday, down from 600 a day earlier. Some 1,200 extra laborers had been hired to shovel out crosswalks and bus stops.
Bloomberg said he couldn’t explain why this storm proved so tough, compared with others in the past that seemed just as severe.
“We had the same plan with the same equipment,” he said. “The question is, ‘Why didn’t it work this time?”’
WCBS 880′s Peter Haskell in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn
Three days out from the storm, the misery is getting old, especially in the outer boroughs where residents want a piece of the mayor.
“I’d like to tell him that all of his focus should not be on Manhattan. And although tourists do give us revenue from tax dollars, I’m a taxpayer here and I would prefer my street be done so my husband can go to work and I can go to work,” one woman stuck in traffic told CBS 2’s Pablo Guzman.
Though some streets in the most neglected areas of the outer boroughs, like Middle Village, Queens, were attended to on Wednesday, residents said that hardly gets the mayor off the hook.
“No, I don’t think so. I think he will be remembered with this,” one man said.
Over in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn some streets were cleared, but, again, the anger did not subside.
“How come Manhattan is clean and this one is not clean, if he feels for my neighborhood?” one woman asked. “I pay taxes, too.”
Bobby Corona told Guzman the plows started coming through his Throggs Neck neighborhood about 4 p.m. on Tuesday, but when told the mayor said he cares about all parts of the city he wasn’t satisfied.
“I doubt that seriously. I think he’s only concerned about Manhattan,” Corona said.
On Oakland Street in the West Brighton section of Staten Island, streets were somewhat cleared after plows started coming through on Tuesday night, but, like with many of the other New Yorkers Guzman spoke to earlier, the anger remained.
“He said last night that everything was pretty good now because the theaters were open. Who cares about the theaters?” the man said.
It’s not just pedestrians that are struggling, either. It’s scores of city buses, and even worse, emergency vehicles, that are stuck.
“Too many ambulances went down blocked streets, for example,” Mayor Bloomberg said. “What they should have done is stay at the corner of the main street and walk down – or struggle down,” Mayor Bloomberg said.
WCBS 880′s Steve Knight in Park Slope, Brooklyn
WCBS 880′s Ginny Kosola with State Senator Malcolm Smith
WCBS 880′s Ginny Kosola on the storm that hit Mayor John Lindsay
Some local lawmakers are demanding hearings and a formal investigation into what went wrong when the snowball was dropped.
“People can’t get back and forth to work, and we need to understand what happened and why. This is just the beginning of a very challenging winter season, and if this is a sample of what we can expect from the administration when we have bad storms, then we have a serious problem and we need answers – and we need answers now,” said State Sen. Malcolm Smith.
On Wednesday, Bloomberg also said he’s “extremely dissatisfied” with how the city’s emergency response system performed during the post-Christmas blizzard. Ambulances got stuck in the snow trying to answer 911 calls, and more than 49,000 calls swamped 911 operators in one day. That’s the 6th busiest day in the system’s history.
“It seems these calls overwhelmed the system,” Bloomberg said.
The mayor said the city needs to focus on clearing unplowed streets after the storm, and “we’ll do the post-mortem afterwards.”