The meme went something like, Socialist de Blasio played payback with the UES by failing to plow the streets there promptly during yesterday's snow storm.
The Times and other outlets picked up the story, de Blasio himself spent most of a morning press conference responding to the charges and now we have ourselves a full-blown meme - de Blasio's the kind of incompetent steward of the city streets that hasn't been seen since John Lindsay was mayor (everyone seems to have conveniently forgotten the "Take in a Broadway Show!" guy already...)
De Blasio's excuse, lame as lame can be, was that the earlier onset of the storm, coupled with everybody's leaving work at once, made it difficult for the plows to get through the city streets, especially with traffic gridlocked off the bridges and tunnels.
This also happened in New Jersey, which the Newark Star-Ledger descibed as "Commuter Hell."
Happened on Long Island too, where NYC Educator enjoyed his worst drive home ever.
But that's Long Island and New Jersey - these are not civilized places nor civilized people who live there.
What can they expect living like savages out in there in uncivilized territories like Long Island and, shudder, New Jersey?
NYC has different expectations than these places, and there is simply no excuse for the streets of the UES to go unplowed one extra second than necessary - and gosh, was it hell on the UES yesterday, as described by even a non-Murdoch news outlet like New York Magazine:
Rich people are whining as well, if the New York Post is to be believed. In addition to those on the Upper East Side claiming the mayor is getting back at them for being wealthy by plowing slowly, the tabloid is really trying to make “Turmoil as De Blasio botches early snow” happen. (“I think the city handled it very well,” he said.) Evidence of “storm-related chaos” — chaos! — includes two non-fatal car accidents (it's icy), a “parade” of buses with their “not in service” signs on (...), and, you know, tons of snow. Definitely all Bill de Blasio’s fault.
The non-Murdoch Gothamist also covered the snowmaggedon on the UES brought to us courtesy of Bill de Blasio:
Bill de Blasio had to deal with a major snowstorm just a few days into his tenure as mayor earlier this month—and by all accounts, he did a fine job handling it, though everyone may have been too distracted by him performing a striptease to fully assess the response. But the second major snowstorm yesterday has proved to be slightly more divisive, at least if you live on the Upper East Side and/or work at the NY Post. The tabloid cried havoc and let slip the dogs of class warfare today, blaming de Blasio for "leaving the 1-percenters in the cold" by not plowing parts of the UES last night—regardless of whether that was actually true or not.
The Post cited the city's snow plow tracker as evidence that no plowing was done between East 59th and 79th Streets and between Second and Fifth Avenues. As you can tell from today's front cover, this little narrative was exactly what they ran with. They also went out and elicited the riled up quotes they needed to sell it.
The only problem with this little narrative? It's not specifically too truthy. Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty—who served under Bloomberg before de Blasio—explained the reason the PlowNYC website showed there had been no snow removal on the UES was due to a faulty GPS system on a salt spreader.
The other problem? Too many cars on the UES: “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,” Doherty said. "The longer it takes those cars to move, the longer it takes for us to get in there and salt those streets, and that’s what part of the problem was,” he said.
But who can argue with a quote like this: "De Blasio is trying to hurt the more wealthy people by ignoring us but there’s no logic to that,” Martin Cisse told the Post. "There are a lot of blue collar working people out here driving trucks and trying to get around too." Oh sure, the backend of that quote may somewhat contradict their whole thesis that this is revenge on the 1%. And sure, the Post may not have gotten quotes from residents in other parts of the city that weren't plowed immediately either. And hey, whatever delays there were in plowing the UES may very well be totally normal in other parts of the city during previous snowstorms, but there's no denying that de Blasio CLEARLY wanted to stop rich people from leaving their apartments today as political revenge because that makes so much sense.
Is it ideal that there's a backup of slush on subway stairways on the UES? Is it news when there's a backup of slush on subway stairways in any part of the city? Is the UES a very precious neighborhood whose residents need to be coddled by the city during weather crises? Did de Blasio order Bloomberg's Sanitation Commissioner to punish the One Percent? Is the NY Post a ridiculous newspaper? Are any of these questions rhetorical?
And the non-Murdoch-owned Daily News also reported evidence of de Basio's botched snow response:
Others defended the mayor. “It’s almost impossible to keep up, they have to be plowing all of the time,” said Anastasia Christofiridis, 69. “He’s not ignoring the neighborhood. It was worse when [former Mayor] Bloomberg was here.”
Well, actually it turns out the non-Murdoch-owned New York Magazine, Gothamist and New York Daily News were kinda downplaying the snow catastrophe NYC experienced under its Socialist mayor (the Daily News for a time had the headline "It Was Worse When Bloomberg was Mayor!" on it's website), but that's because they're not as on top of this kind of thing as the crack reporters at the Murdoch-owned Post.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that there was no way the Murdoch-owned news outlets, particularly the NY Post, were trying to get the "de Blasio is worse than Lindsay" meme into the public consciousness, that they simply were reporting the news in a non-partisan way without any agenda or axe to grind.
I am also going to go out on a limb and say that not only was de Blasio's snow response on the UES piss-poor, so was his response on Long Island and in New Jersey.
Quite frankly, everywhere that experienced any weather-related traffic or transit delays yesterday can blame Bill de Blasio's incompetence and know that we need to bring back Bloomberg to make the trains (and traffic) run on time in this town again!
That goes for New Jersey and Long Island too.
Serves us all right for not electing Mayor Bloomberg to a fourth term.