This should be a letter to the present mayor (and to all wanabee future mayors of New York City). Instead of just some political column, I could title it:“Start treating the outer-boroughs right; enough is enough”.
Today is Wednesday 29th December, 2010. I am only minutes removed from midnight. I am writing this because I am a little pissed. You see, in about a twenty-hour time frame between Sunday and Monday last, we saw this humongous snow storm hit New York City: no big thing; we've been there before. The people who claim to know what they are talking about (weather-wise) said it cracked the top-ten list of worst snow storms ever faced in the city. Fine; but I have seen worse. And yet, it's like every time some big snowstorm comes (which is somewhat rare when all things factual are considered), these folks on television say the same friggin thing: “this is one of the worst snow-storms ever”. Talk about being hyperbolic!
I wish they would stop talking that crap. Really. It's played out. Just give me a few relatively good predictions (say 90% accuracy) as to what to expect over the next week and I am happy. I hate being all dressed up in my birthday suit -on some nude beach in July- only to have incessant rain soaking my moneymakers. It's very frustrating. It's even worse during winter. When equipment freeze up it doesn't function. Not too many things work well in cold weather. I know from experience.
By the way: why is it that nearly all the pretty blonde weather-people on TV, get the prediction stuff wrong most times? Ever noticed that the uglier the forecaster the more accurate the predictions. Muse on this while you sip on your Drambuie before dinner tonight.
Look, there are certain TV channels you need to stay away from if you want accurate weather predictions: trust me on this one. I have been around long enough.
You know how I can tell when the weather-people have messed up? It's during the post-storm analysis when they tell you what happened after the fact. That's when they say the same thing my third concubine-wife said to me, on our honeymoon night: “I really didn't expect so many inches, and I was totally unprepared for this”. (Drum roll please/lol).
So they closed JFK airport, and La Guardia too. Shoot they even closed Newark Airport; which was disappointing to those who were trying to sneak out the back door. And trains stopped running: MTA, LIRR, Metro-North, New Jersey trains, you name them. And buses where stuck in snow, filled with pissed-off passengers (dangling-modifier deliberately dangled). And weary home-bound travelers were stuck on stalled frigid trains going nowhere real fast. Many highways, major roadways and heavily traveled arteries were left unplugged, unploughed, unopened and/or unsalted. This was a disaster folks.
And a friend called all the way from her Christmas vacation in Atlanta to say: “Watch; you are going to see Mayor Bloomberg all over the television channels: talking loud, but saying nothing. Watch!”
She was so right. And to go even further, this mayor-king of ours (Bloomberg) has the audacity to bristle whenever a reporter asks a hard question about how this snowstorm was mishandled.
Look, I can try to make fun of all this, and write it in a way that can hopefully ease my frustrations, but the truth is this: the Sanitation, Fire, Police and Transportation Departments of New York City always seem to focus exclusively on Manhattan whenever there is a snow storm (big or small). They put most of their resources there. They send most of their equipment there. They concentrate on keeping Manhattan running at the expense of the other boroughs. After living here for the past 37 years I can say this as a fact. I have lived in every borough except Staten Island. I have peregrinated every single borough: extensively. Plus I have traversed the Tristate areas, plus Long Island, plus upstate New York, plus, plus, plus: and I have seen enough. This time was no different. But this time they messed up: big time. Their handling of this storm was disastrous.
It is time to treat all five boroughs equally; especially when it comes to dealing with snow storms, rain-storms, snow removal, hurricanes, tornadoes, northeasters, street cleanings, post-storm clean-up, road-blockage, stalled and/or stuck vehicles, tree-fallings, emergency responses, traffic congestion, other pertinent traffic issues, and the like: whenever bad weather occurs. It is time for fairness. It is time for equality. Manhattan is always prioritized. Why? Who died and made Manhattan king of the five boroughs?
In 2006 I wrote an article about similar and blatant unfairness in other areas of human endeavor. Back then there were 46 waste-transfer stations in this city (Brooklyn had 19, the Bronx had 15, Queens had 8 and Staten Island had 4), and the issue was whether or not to put one in Manhattan -given garbage collection and other attendant and pertinent issues. Manhattanites were kicking up a storm against having even ONE waste transfer station in on their prized island. All this while their precious little island produced over 40 percent of the daily commercial waste (over 10,000 tons).
So it is fine to dump on the outer-boroughs? Right?
I say no. I say: enough already. The outer-boroughs are not meant to just facilitate Manhattanites and their uppity lifestyles.
Look, we know that the overwhelming majority of millionaires and billionaires in this city live in Manhattan. Fine. They can have Manhattan; I'll take the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island too. And the only two things I could envy in that deal would be Central Park and Harlem.
It is time for New York City mayors to understand, that the people who make this city run, are the everyday people who live outside of Manhattan. It's not the socialites from uptown and/or the east-side: it's us.
We are the ones that drive your cabs, and cook for you, and wash your dotty drawers, and walk your over-pampered dogs, and take care of your spoil-brat kids, and clean your houses, and tend to your gardens, and change the bed pans at the hospitals, and pick up after you, and hold the car doors for you, and hide your adulterous affairs from your spouses, and are your doormen (and women), and wait at your tables, and check in your expensive coats, and teach your kids poetry, and hope you would learn to come down from your insensitive and snotty meaningless perches of highfalutiness.
We are the ones who dance cheek to cheek and live check to check. We were the ones who were stuck on trains and buses for hours on end, while this mayor and this city couldn't get its act together during this snow storm. A storm of which Bloomberg and company were warned way in advance.
And I guess, it is always Sly Stone's everyday people who will suffer most when nature takes a dunk.
But why is it always about Manhattan with these mayors of ours?
And while trains and boats and planes couldn't run; and while regular John Legend folks (ordinary people) couldn't make it home in time from work, or church, or dinner, or whatever; and while some of us who need our day's pay to provide for our daily bread; our billionaire mayor was hinting up to Saturday that rich folks could go to the theater, or the movies and such, since everything's gonna be all right.
Sure: maybe in Manhattan.
In Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island, people have been stuck for days on end. Stuck in cars, buses, trains, homes and jobs. Stuck in other people's homes seeking shelter food, clothing and the like. Stuck on subway platforms. Stuck in diners and the like. Stuck in airports. Stuck on planes for hours. People needing toothbrushes and hair-combs. People needing hot showers and cold hard drinks. People needing warm blankets and hot soup. People in airplanes which landed but couldn't be cleared. Many people who have been unable to get home or get around and about; all because the transportation and sanitation departments (mainly) of this city have done horrid jobs this time around. And it appears to not be only at the city level. It is ostensible that state and federal officials messed up too.
Something has happened here there needs some explaining and some investigating.
The response to this storm seems woefully inadequate. It is clear that this storm was handled badly by all agencies involved. The police, fire, transportation and sanitation departments all seem to have been caught with their pants down. Why? These are the situations we pay high taxes for. This is when police, fire, transportation, sanitation and others, earn their big bucks. The EMS and other emergency entities appear to have had insurmountable obstacles this time around. I wonder how many serious injuries and/or deaths are directly attributable to various agency-failures? We will find out in time that tens of thousands of calls were ignored directly because of incapacity. And I am projecting this because one entity alone has already admitted to ignoring more than a thousand said calls. Do the math.
It's now more than 48 hours after the storm ended, and it looks like less than ten percent of outer-borough streets have been snow-ploughed, salted and/or sanded. I am serious. Call around the city and you will hear the complaints. Cars are still stuck. Too many streets are still impassable. Some people are still locked-in and shut-in. This stuff could get real serious unless a state of emergency is called right now. People are hurting. I bet you will hear “beaucoup” stories over the next few days, about all sorts of issues that came about due to the horrible governmental response to this storm.
If memory serves me right, the last six men who became mayor of this great city, just happened to dwell in Manhattan. How come? Maybe it is time to put an end to that. Maybe then and only then, will we get the respect we deserve in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.
Stay tuned-in folks.