Sometimes we dare to dream that we’re better than all this, that we can all just get along, despite which borough we live in (unless you live in Staten Island, in which case, intern Myles, are you reading this?). The fact that we’re all New Yorkers should bind us, right, regardless of our zip code differences? Wrong. Not when there’s snow on the ground.
Yesterday, Mayor Bloomberg acknowledged that Brooklyn got it bad with the snow (and also, to some extent, that Brooklyners were pissed): “Well, good morning. Brooklyn, as you may know, was one of the boroughs hardest hit by the blizzard — and that’s why we’ve come here for this update.”
Brooklyn, of course, has around a million more people than Manhattan does. (Queens has a little less, about 700,000 more than Manhattan, per 2009 population counts.)
And yet, despite that, Brooklyn — and Queens — are still largely under snow cover (check out this map of plowed/not plowed streets from WNYC). Granted, population is not the only reason to prioritize a dig-out, and most people understand that certain “commercial centers” are going to get cleared first. Yet, after two days, and now a third, Brooklyners — particularly those in the outlying boroughs — are shouting preferential treatment. After all, the Mayor’s street has been clear for days now!
Yesterday Ned Berke of the blog Sheepshead Bites wrote a post entitled “Go To Hell, Mayor Bloomberg: This Is Why We’re Angry,” along with a photo comparing his (unplowed) block to Bloomberg’s. An excerpt:
The final straw was when BrooklynQ sent me the photo (above left) of the street Mayor Bloomberg lives on, perfectly plowed, almost as if it never snowed at all. On the right is my block, unplowed, and with every car under several feet of snow.
I’ve walked up and down my street several times today, and heard neighbors saying the same things: “Where’s the city? Where’s the Department of Sanitation? Where’s Mayor Bloomberg?”
It must be pretty easy to urge patience when you’re well taken care of. It must be pretty easy when every agency caters to your needs, paid for by our greenbacks. It must be pretty easy to shrug off our complaints, as if our contribution – in both taxes and the workforce – amount to nothing.
Enough of the snow job. Get the work done, Mayor Bloomberg.
204 people commented. Because, well, it’s not like they can really go anywhere, what with the icicle terrorism in Cobble Hill and, oh yeah, the subway service, or lack thereof:
(Note to Mayor’s office: The “homebound” make for the perfect angry commenters/hecklers, as long as their Internet service holds out.)
Miss Heather of New York Shitty reposted the Sheepshead Bites photo and wrote,
“Patience” my ass. This B62 bus (and numerous others) parked on our thoroughfares are not only inconveniences which afflict working Brooklynites but Long Island Cityites as well. But why should that matter? We do not live in Manhattan.
(She’s also asking folks to send in photos of their ‘hoods to juxtapose their own block with Bloomberg’s. Which could be fun.)
Meanwhile, we called the Mayor’s office to get some clarification on what gets plowed first and why. Give us answers! Help us understand! Or pull a Cory Booker and come dig out our ailing grandma.
The worst part, perhaps, is that Manhattanites and Brooklyners were just starting to really get along — we hadn’t heard a snide comment on either side in ages. (Maybe because almost everyone lives in Brooklyn now?) Some of us had even attempted inter-borough dating!
Disappointingly, it took quite a few tries to get the Mayor’s office, or whatever poor phone answerer they transferred us to, probably herself snowbound, to even understand we were saying “Village Voice.” At any rate, we’re still waiting for a response. We’ll update if and when that, like your snow plow, arrives.
In the meantime, Brooklyners and Manhattanites, let’s not let this wintry debacle ruin the strides of cordiality we’d finally begun to achieve. Someday the snow will melt, and we’ll want to be able to look each other in the eyes again, albeit, perhaps, drunkenly at a bar somewhere. Union Pool?
Anyway, this is clearly all the fault of no one but a man with the power to make it snow.
UPDATED: At Bloomberg’s latest press conference, he says “It’s not that you don’t care, it’s just that you have to do as much good with the resources you have,” and, “We did not do as good a job as the city has the right to expect.” But, basically, stop bitching for now and we’ll figure out why this went so wrong later.
UPDATED 2: The Sanitation Department called us. Matthew Lipani, their spokesman, had the following to say about snow cleanup:
“It’s not based on borough; it’s based on the priority of streets. In each borough, trucks are deployed based on the priority of streets. Main arteries, the highways, are done first. secondary are the side streets; third are the tertiary dead ends. It’s not Manhattan first, then Queens, etc. The plows are deployed citywide, simultaneously.”
When we asked why Brooklyn streets were still not cleared while Manhattan streets, by and large, are, he brought up the abandoned cars and stuck vehicles the mayor has mentioned. Whether there were more of those in Brooklyn, he did not know.
Beyond that, Lipani said, “There may be a perception of inequality, but that is not the case.”
What do you guys think?
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 29, 2010