NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Bill de Blasio took shots at his predecessor and poked fun at the snow removal complaints on the Upper East Side last month – all while addressing the serious issues he has sought to tackle in office – in an appearance on “The Daily Show” Monday night.
Appearing in an interview with Jon Stewart, de Blasio said he is enjoying being mayor immensely, but like many New Yorkers, is sick and tired of the snow.
“It’s nonstop. It’s 24-7. It’s the ultimate 24-7 job. But I love this place. I really love this place. And it’s endlessly fascinating to me, but I’d like the snow to end. I’ve done the snow experience. I’d like to try something else now,” the mayor said.
During a snowstorm last month, which dumped as much as 11 inches on some parts of the city, de Blasio was hit with complaints when the Upper East Side was complaining of neglect. Some roads remained a mess 24 hours after the snowstorm – leaving traffic snarled and pavement treacherously slippery.
The controversy erupted into allegations of political favoritism by some New Yorkers, since major streets in Brooklyn were plowed right away. An image of two maps that made the rounds on social media last week – with one showing Upper East Side blocks where the plows were no-shows, and the other showing that the blocks were “red” districts that voted for de Blasio’s Republican opponent for mayor. The mayor has insisted there is no connection.
While residents reported conditions were better on the Upper East Side during a snowstorm that left 8 inches in Central Park Monday, residents of the West Brighton section of Staten Island this time complained that their plows have been nowhere to be found.
Capitalizing on the controversy, “The Daily Show” featured correspondent Jessica Williams in what was supposed to be Brooklyn, but appeared to be a beach with palm trees.
“There are no traffic problems – in fact, it’s 82 degrees and it’s sunny,” she said.
Meanwhile, correspondent Aasif Mandvi was seen buried up to his neck in snow in what was represented as the Upper East Side.
“Not only has the city not cleared the streets – it seems that de Blasio’s plows are actively bringing snow in,” he said.
When de Blasio appeared several minutes later, he too poked fun at the controversy.
“I’m feeling good. I just wish we’d done a better job getting that snow up to the Upper East Side,” he said.
Pointing out that de Blasio has dealt with three snowstorms since being elected, Stewart said, “I remember Bloomberg – 12 years, it never snowed once.”
“I think he paid the right guy. He had the money,” de Blasio said.
Stewart also poked fun at the infamous incident in which de Blasio ate three slices of pizza using a knife and fork during a stop at Goodfella’s Pizzeria on Staten Island.
“Now Bloomberg, as you know, used to have his food chewed and put back into his mouth. But this is unacceptable, sir,” Stewart said.
But the mayor went on to address the serious issues that had come up in his campaign, including his choice to drop the city’s challenge against the ruling ordering changes to the NYPD stop-and-frisk program.
“We’ve come to a settlement. Look, what I’ve said was – it’s a simple idea; our new police commissioner, Bill Bratton, who’s fantastic, said this – ‘You can’t break the law to enforce the law.’ It’s as simple as that,” the mayor said.
When asked about how dramatically some believe de Blasio is changing City Hall, de Blasio made a quip about his perceived left wing preferences.
“I don’t wear the Che Guevara T-shirt to go to work. I’ve thought about that,” he said. But he went on to answer seriously that he was fulfilling a mandate from voters.
“When I go and talk to wealthier folks and say, ‘We want you to pay a little more so we can do this,’ some people get upset. Some say, ‘Are you trying to punish success?’ I say, ‘We’re not trying to punish success. We’re trying to create more success stories,” de Blasio said.
Pointing out that he himself would have to pay more in taxes, Stewart quipped, “Can I go to the pre-K and be like, ‘You’re mine, and so you’d better get those grades up because I’m on your ass?’”
“We’re going to create a program for you that allows you to do that,” he quipped back. “I think you deserve that right.”
De Blasio also said it was important for the city to control the tax fund for pre-kindergarten and after-school programs, and added that the state has not offered a specific dollar figure for its proposal when $2.6 billion are needed over five years.
“Couldn’t Bloomberg have just chucked that in on his way out?” Stewart said.
“It could have been a gratuity I would have accepted,” de Blasio said.
Monday marked de Blasio’s first appearance on the show.
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