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De Blasio Offers PSA On Snow Shoveling, Defends Closing Schools

New NYC Mayor Says He And His Team Handled Their First Big Test Very Well
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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio gave an impromptu public service message on the proper way to shovel snow on Jan. 3, 2014, the day after a big storm dropped a foot of snow around the area. (Photo: CBS 2)

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio gave an impromptu public service message on the proper way to shovel snow on Jan. 3, 2014, the day after a big storm dropped a foot of snow around the area. (Photo: CBS 2)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Snow was the first big test for Bill de Blasio.

But much to the surprise of many, the new mayor decided to join the snow removal brigade himself, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reported Friday.

It was a dramatically different scene from what New Yorkers had witnessed the past 12 years with Michael Bloomberg leading the city. Following a 4 a.m. conference call with his staff, Mayor de Blasio picked up a shovel and got to work.

“Use your knees, not your back, observe. I hope all New Yorkers will take this to heart — get low, lift with your knees; don’t throw out your back,” de Blasio said.

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The impromptu public service announcement was brought to you by the city’s new guy on the block. The new mayor shared shoveling duties outside his Park Slope brownstone with his son, Dante, though Dante got there a lot later, much to his dad’s chagrin.

“I give Dante an ‘A’ for effort and a ‘D’ for punctuality,” Bill de Blasio said.

Later, the mayor traveled to a sanitation garage in Woodside, Queens to declare himself well-satisfied with the city’s response to what he called his first crisis — the first snowstorm of 2014. He said the departments of Sanitation, Transportation, Parks and Environmental Protection had put 2,500 plows on the street. The only wrinkle, he said, was a slight uptick in emergency response.

“It’s a small delay, about a minute additional response time delay, because of the snow and the traffic conditions,” de Blasio said.

For the new chief executive the biggest decision of the day was closing schools, something his predecessor hated to do.

“We didn’t want out children exposed to a situation that would be very windy, icy and very, very cold,” de Blasio said.

Dante de Blasio, who is 16, lobbied for a day off from high school, but his dad said he didn’t do it for him.

“If Dante was not lobbying me there would be something wrong with him. Of course, he’s 16, but unfortunately the decision takes many more factors into account other than Dante’s opinion,” Bill de Blasio said.

Queens Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said de Blasio’s actions Friday showed another difference between the new mayor and the old.

“I think Bill de Blasio is a dad and he gets that safety is number one for children and not put them in that dangerous situation,” Van Bramer said.

“He was thinking about their safety first and I think he made the right decision,” added Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, D-Queens.

Like his predecessor, de Blasio has been doing a small part of every press conference in Spanish. He did it again Friday.

CBS 2’s Kramer asked de Blasio how his Spanish compares to Bloomberg’s.

“I have a lot of work to do,” he said, “but I’m trying to get something out there to be helpful to people.”

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