New York City was the recent recipient of a foot of snow. This morning, I awoke to find white streets and white hot rage from snowed-in Manhattanites.
More specifically, the rage is, apparently, being spewed by those who live on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. As the New York Post wrote this morning, Upper East Siders were shunned by the new, liberal mayor, Bill de Blasio, who the paper says deliberately left the Upper East Side unplowed in an effort to get revenge on the "1 percent."
Here's some nonsense from the Post:
Huge swaths of the city's wealthiest neighborhood had been not been plowed by early Tuesday evening, leaving 1-percenters out in the cold, according to the city’s own map of snow-plower activity.
"He is trying to get us back. He is very divisive and political," said writer and Life-long Upper East Sider and mom Molly Jong Fast of Mayor de Blasio.
"By not plowing the Upper East Side, he is saying, 'I'm not one of them.' But we have everyone in this area on the Upper East Side. We have rich people, middle class people, and housing projects. We have it all."
Molly Jong Fast is right about one thing: As a not-remotely-wealthy Upper East Side dweller myself, I can confirm that this neighborhood is absolutely not just for the 1%, or I wouldn't be stepping foot up here. But the idea that de Blasio (who, by the way, will be officially residing in Gracie Mansion, which is on the Upper East Side) is getting back at us is sheer nonsense.
Snowman on the Upper East Side
"What about the 0.75 percent? :("
What actually happened is that we had a snowstorm, one that was particularly heavy early Tuesday evening, when people were commuting, and didn't cease until early Wednesday morning, when people were getting ready to commute again. Did the Upper East Side suffer a bit? Apparently and candidly, yes, Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty said at a press briefing Tuesday night. According to the commissioner, a broken GPS on a salt spreader failed to report accurate coordinates to the PlowNYC website, which keeps a real-time record of street plowing, showing when streets were last visited by a plow and what their priority designation is (e.g., primary, secondary, or tertiary).
Now, if you're a conspiracy theorist, as the New York Post is opting to be, then you can have a great time surmising that a broken GPS is code for "De Blasio hates rich people and wants them to fall down in the snow." But that seems like a waste of energy to me.
Speaking of... in yet another attempt to unite the city behind a message of compassion (ha ha), the New York Post also went around gathering Facebook and Twitter comments from those spewing hatred at de Blasio and NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina for keeping schools open, despite the weather.
Was this another attack on the rich? Oh, probably. I mean, after all, it's important to keep city schools open for the many, many families who rely on them, not just as education centers, but also as places for their children to be and eat during the day while parents are working. Not everyone can afford to keep their kids home from school. Ahh, there goes de Blasio caring only about the working class again -- that animal.
If I have a bone to pick with de Blasio, it's that he invoked his Tale of Two Cities message a bit too strongly during the campaign season. In many ways, while he was making a valid point about rising inequality in New York, candidate de Blasio's language demonized the city's money makers. Now, on a day like today, that's coming back to bite him. The bites are irrational and insane, but they're biting nonetheless.
In reality, the us-versus-them debate has no place in city politics or in our communities. In an age of urbanization and more aggressive storms (this is de Blasio's second in three weeks), what's needed is unity. That means unity across city departments working together on cleanup efforts, unified databases that will report real-time information accurately to city crews, and united communities that work together for the greater good.
So next time it snows, pick up a shovel to help a neighbor, but don't pick up a phone call from the New York Post.
— Nicole Ferraro, Editor in Chief, UBM's Future Cities