New York City's streets plowed equally, mayor says

Marcus Solis reports from South Ozone Park, Queens
January 4, 2014 6:37:14 AM PST
The year's first big snowstorm was also the first big test for New York City's new mayor, Bill de Blasio.

Asked to give himself a grade for handling the snow in his first week in office, the mayor said, "I feel great about the response." But he quickly added, "We are not out of this yet."

"Based on the information I have right now, I give everyone an A for extraordinary effort and extraordinary effectiveness," de Blasio said. "Ask me my grade again in a few hours."

The snowstorm came about three years after de Blasio criticized his predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, for failing to lead a quick snow cleanup in all parts of the city.


By Friday night, just about every street had seen a plow once or twice, which didn't mean there weren't some slippery spots or places folks had to be careful. But Eyewitness News wondered about something the mayor said.

"All boroughs are created equal," Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

De Blasio campaigned on this theme, promising he'd get resources to the outer boroughs during emergencies, in ways he believed Bloomberg did not.

And if you ask cabbies in Manhattan, he sure kept that promise, because on the issue of plowing Manhattan streets there was a noticeable difference.

"Manhattan, compared to the other times, is not good," a cab driver said.

Cabbies thought Manhattan got shortchanged.

"Not a good job like before. They should do more, especially in Manhattan," another cab driver said.

"It's not enough, it's not enough," a cab driver said, "Manhattan is an important place, and we drive around and it's not safe."

Some blamed the new mayor.

"It's different now, but driving is very hard in the city. This time, only the highways are OK, so they need to do something. They have to do a better job because we have new mayor too," another cab driver said.

It sounds like Mayor de Blasio would be comfortable with that.

"We're going to be focused on the outer boroughs because that's where the vast majority of the people live, but we're going to serve all five boroughs with energy and equality by definition," Mayor de Blasio said.

Ozone Park, Queens got socked with about 10 inches of snow, but not many complaints on 97th Street.

"I think he's doing a darn good. So far today to me he's doing a good job. I hope he keeps going like that," home owner Vincent Mascia said.

And the guy in charge of removing all the snow also said good job earlier Friday.

"Oh I'm very satisfied. Like I said the big criteria are could emergency vehicles get where they had to go? And the answer is yes," Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty said.

"Look I think he is going to be a five borough mayor, but being a five borough mayor means paying a lot of attention to Queens, means paying a lot of attention to Brooklyn," City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said.

Dangerously cold temperatures and wind chills below zero moved into the area in the aftermath of the storm.

Outreach teams were searching New York City streets for homeless people at risk of freezing to death. The Department of Homeless Services guarantees shelter when temperatures reach 32 degrees or below.

As the city dug out from the storm, Mayor de Blasio's son, Dante, also took a turn at shoveling. De Blasio's wife, Chirlane McCray, had tweeted a picture of a shovel on Thursday and said Dante would get snow duty if school were canceled. The mayor gave his son "an A for effort and a D for punctuality."

New York City's Parks Department is planning a day of snow activities in each of the city's five boroughs.

Sleds will be available to borrow between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday at the five locations. There will be snow angel competitions, music and free hot chocolate.

The locations are Crotona Park in the Bronx, Prospect Park near Ninth Street in Brooklyn, Highbridge Park in Manhattan, Juniper Valley Park in Queens and Clove Lakes Park on Staten Island.

For more information, visit the city's Severe Weather Website at or call 311.