This city needs someone to lead us out of the dark.
The longest, loneliest ride ever taken by Mayor Bloomberg came Monday, when Hizzoner, proving he’s down with the little people, boarded a packed subway train for the journey downtown to City Hall.
But the goodwill gesture erupted into farce. Bloomberg was picked up at his East 79th Street town house by a Chevy Suburban and, bypassing the local No. 6 train, he settled into the No. 5 express at 59th, reading the Financial Times while surrounded by six bodyguards.
When a Post reporter tried to ask how his commute was going, a guard ordered her to back off.
What did Bloomberg learn?
The mayor might as well have left the sought-after subway seats for gas-strapped New Yorkers as they inched through Manhattan on the first day back to work after Superstorm Sandy.
That morning, 1 million city schoolkids returned for the first day of classes in a week. But in some flood-ravaged areas, heat wasn’t pumping and classrooms were freezing.
This was Bloomberg’s advice: “Please dress your children accordingly . . . If they’re chilly, extra sweaters for the kids is something that should make some sense.’’
But those without power missed the mayor’s “bundle up’’ lecture. Including Kissy Antequera, of Queens, whose asthmatic kindergartner is not just inconvenienced by the cold — she’s endangered.
By the next day, a nor’easter approached, and people from Staten Island to the Rockaways suffered in the cold. On this occasion, Bloomberg told weary New Yorkers what a great job he’s doing.
“There’s always somebody who screams, ‘I didn’t have coffee for 24 hours. What an outrage!’ ’’ he actually said. “But for most people, they understand we’re in this together.’’
For decaffeinated and hungry New Yorkers, the mayor’s “let them eat cake’’ response to what’s shaping up as a humanitarian emergency reached a flash point last week. Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz begged him to call for the National Guard to come to Sandy-scarred areas of Brooklyn, including Coney Island, where looters ran free. But the gun-loathing Bloomberg, more accustomed to dealing with bike lanes and Big Gulps than loss of life and light, issued a knee-jerk answer that left one government source I spoke with gasping.
“We don’t need it,’’ the mayor said of the Guard. “The NYPD is the only people we want on the street with guns.’’
Said a high-ranking and exhausted source, “He just doesn’t get it. We’d have been better off if he stayed away.’’
To be fair, Bloomberg isn’t the only pol to look weak in the path of a storm. Gov. Cuomo threatened Con Ed and the Long Island Power Authority with financial sanctions if they didn’t do a better job restoring power. It did little good. Analysts warned yesterday that energy bills are sure to rise into the stratosphere to cover hurricane-related losses.
“To say that I am angry, to say that I am frustrated, disappointed would be the understatement of the decade,’’ Cuomo whined when he should have kicked butt.
Less than two years after Bloomberg abandoned the city just after the Christmas blizzard of 2010, he’s present for what may be the biggest test of leadership, ever.
But in my opinion, as well as that of disabled actress Didi D’Errico, trapped in her East 24th Street apartment for days, he’s failed.
Bloomberg hit bottom with his petulant refusal on Friday to cancel the New York City Marathon. Hours later, he changed his mind. But rather than own up to his blunder, he left Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson alone to declare that “all the assets that the marathon currently has’’ — including generators — “will be deployed to people who need it.’’
The generators didn’t come. And yesterday, New Jersey’s plush Bernards Inn was using a generator that staffers told The Post had come from the marathon. Power was roaring at the swanky joint. But the owner said he needed the extra juice should he lose power again.
As the nights get colder, the people more desperate, we need help, not coffee and excuses. Someone, please, step up to the challenge!
Thursday, November 8, 2012
Andrea Peyser Declares Bloomberg A Failure For His Storm Response
Bloomberg has lost one of the shriller voice at the NY Post: