Many of New York City’s richest residents griped yesterday that new Mayor Bill de Blasio, an outspoken critic of former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s handling of previous snow emergencies, let them suffer with unplowed streets as Winter Storm Janus bombarded the Big Apple with nearly a foot of snow.
A map on the city’s own web site showed that streets on Manhattan’s Upper East Side were among the last to be plowed as Janus dumped its heavy snowfall throughout the day Tuesday. But Wednesday morning, the New York City sanitation commissioner said the map was simply wrong due to a technological glitch.
John Doherty also said that traffic tie-ups caused by the heavy snowfall delayed plows and salt trucks from reaching the Upper East Side streets.
“One of the problems was that the salt spreader in that area, the GPS system was not working,” Doherty said at a news conference Tuesday night, as quoted by New York City’s Channel 2 News. “Traffic also created a big problem for us in that area. I think any of the reporters, or anybody who was in that area this afternoon were reporting, nothing is moving in the area.”
But that didn’t stop the well-heeled Upper East Siders from spouting conspiracy theories about a Chris Christie-like political revenge scheme carried out by de Blasio.
“I can’t believe de Blasio could do this. He is putting everyone in danger,” complained Upper East Side resident Barbara Tamerin, to The New York Post. “I can barely get around and I’m on snow shoes! All of the buses are stuck and can’t go anywhere. He’s crazy. We need Mayor Bloomberg back!”
Bloomberg, the billionaire businessman and media mogul who served as New York City mayor for 12 years before the newly-elected de Blasio took over on January 1, owns a townhouse on East 79th Street, the heart of the Upper East Side’s moneyed residential district.
Complaints from Upper East Siders began not long after noon Eastern Time yesterday when there was only about two inches of snow on the ground. That was when Molly Jong Fast, daughter of bestselling novelist Erica Jong, posted an outraged message on her Twitter account.
— MollyJongFast (@MollyJongFast) January 21, 2014
Jong Fast also told The New York Post that de Blasio was “trying to get us back” because “the Upper East Side did not vote for him.”
For his part, de Blasio praised New York City sanitation workers for their storm response, but urged drivers to stay off the roads and let plows through.
“When they have an open field to do their work, they do an extraordinary job,” the New York City Mayor said, as quoted on NBC New York.