Elected officials from the president of the United States to the local mayor like to mark their first 100 days in office with a gathering of the faithful and big pat on the back for not being run out of town on a rail.
Mayor Bill de Blasio used his opportunity to re-enforce his campaign speeches which included a broad social welfare plan for the City of New York and its residents.
He came into a brutal winter season and snow removal can make or break any newly elected mayor, But, he was ably assisted by long-time sanitation commissioner John Doherty who served for 16 years under two other mayors. The complaints are always there where snow is concerned, but by and large the city functioned.
And this is what the taxpayers of this city want. They want the city to function.
They want the subways to run on time and safely so those who need them to get to work or to school can count on getting to their destination on time.
The same goes for the buses. Waiting on street corners in the pouring rain, or driving snow or tar-melting heat for a bus that never seems to arrive, is unacceptable.
While many of those in the seats of power like to think they can make New York City into some sort of European city with bicycles as an alternate means of transportation, the reality is-it just doesn’t work. This city was originally designed for horse drawn carriages. Cars can barely function as they compete with taxis, buses, bicycles and pedestrians. The newly-created bike lanes are a disaster and extremely dangerous.
There are structural realities in this city. Gas lines and water mains are slowly dying of old age. More than 160 bridges are over 100 years old and many are structurally deficient.
Public hospitals buildings are 57 years old, on average, and 531 out of 2,600 public housing towers were built prior to 1950. City streets are a patchwork of pothole repairs that last a while, then split open again and again. And the list of infrastructure deterioration goes on and on.
When questioned about these basic infrastructure problems after last month’s gas explosion in East Harlem, the mayor claimed that this was not the time to address those issues. So when is the right time?
Let’s hope the mayor doesn’t use the lack of funding trickling down from Washington to New York City as an excuse not to address the maintenance that is absolutely necessary to keep this city running.
Social programs like pre-K for all four-year-olds is great and while taxing the rich didn’t quite work out for the new mayor, the program is going full speed ahead thanks to the money found by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (who also pulled the charter schools out of the line of fire).
Mayor de Blasio wants to zero in with his progressive agenda that he claims will reduce inequality and restore opportunity. But right now everybody is quite equal with the city crumbling under their feet.