By Bill Parry
Mayor Bill de Blasio came to a Sanitation Department depot in Woodside Friday to praise workers for their response to the snowstorm that dumped nearly 10 inches on the city.
“I want to thank the men and women of Sanitation in the midst of this crisis,” he said. “The people behind me are real heroes.”
Some 2,500 plows cleared 6,200 miles of roads in the five boroughs and the mayor reported that 100 percent of the primary roads were plowed at least once as were 92 percent of the secondary streets and 93 percent of the tertiary streets.
“I’d give everyone an “A” for effectiveness, but ask me again in a few hours because the temperature will plummet when the sun goes down,” de Blasio said. “People should not be on the road, we can help them by getting out of the way.” He added that there will be no trash picked up until snow removal is complete, that alternate side of the street rules were suspended for Friday and Saturday but parking meters remained in effect.
The mayor was pleased with the way the city agencies worked together.
“I’m proud of the people who work for the City of New York. I’ve been so impressed at the tremendous devotion to coordination,” he said. The mayor did warn that emergency response times are a minute slower than average in the aftermath of the storm.
He asked that New Yorkers check on senior citizens since all their centers are closed. The mayor said the decision to close the public schools was made at 4 a.m. because he did not want children exposed to the cold and wind.
De Blasio admitted that his son, a student at Brooklyn Tech, had tried to influence the school closing decision in an online chat with a friend that went public. “Dante was lobbying for closure, of course,” his father said. “He is 16 after all.”
The mayor scoffed at the notion that a greater effort was paid to clearing the outer boroughs as a priority over Manhattan. “You have a rich imagination,” he told a reporter before adding, “The answer is no. All boroughs are created equal.”
De Blasio had praise for Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty, a holdover from the Bloomberg administration, saying, “It would have been nice to talk about how to handle a snowstorm in an abstract exercise, but we didn’t get to do that. We got the real thing.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4538.