As the snowstorm grew in intensity on Tuesday evening, whipping through the streets on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, something quickly seemed amiss. Where were all the plows? Why was the city’s wealthiest enclave a slushy, frozen mess?
From the bar at J. G. Melon to the produce section at Citarella, residents wondered on Wednesday why many streets remained impassable hours after the last snowflake had fallen.
The anger even prompted the suggestion by some that Mayor Bill de Blasio, a populist Brooklynite, was sending a message that Manhattan was not the center of the New York City universe.
Whispers turned to shouts, amplified by a GPS map suggesting city snowplows had ignored the East Side for hours. “Shambles!” blared The New York Post. Sacré bleu, cried the residents.
Hold on just one minute, the mayor said.
“Nobody was treated differently,” he said, with a touch of exasperation, at a news conference on Wednesday morning, where he rejected repeated suggestions that parts of Manhattan had been ignored.
But by evening, Mr. de Blasio acknowledged the city’s efforts had fallen short.
“After inspecting the area and listening to concerns from residents earlier today, I determined more could have been done to serve the Upper East Side,” he said. “Our crews will remain on the streets around the clock until the roadways are clear in every neighborhood, in every borough, across New York City.”
It was a notable admission of error by the new mayor, even as he firmly dismissed the notion that the failure was in any way a deliberate attempt to overlook the Upper East Side.
One cannot help but wonder whether Mayor de Blasio knows who Michael Bilandic was.