‘We need Bloomberg back!' New Yorkers in Twitter outrage as De Blasio accused of not ploughing rich streets in snowstorm
New mayor has been accused of ploughing along class lines
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has been accused of "getting back" at residents in wealthy areas of the city and leaving them trapped in the midst of a snowstorm by deliberately not ploughing rich neighbourhoods.
There were even calls to reinstate his predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, as people in affluent areas such as the Upper East Side accused Mr de Blasio of putting them in danger by not gritting streets. Mr Bloomberg also has a home in the Upper East Side area.
Roads between East 59th and 79th Streets and between Second and Fifth Avenues had not been ploughed on Tuesday, despite a second snowstorm that left inches of snow across huge swathes of the city.
The New York Post quoted some residents of the area, who accused the Mayor of ignoring wealthier areas to "get us back", because the "the Upper East Side did not vote for de Blasio".
Mr de Blasio was inaugurated as the new mayor on 1 January, winning by a record margin. Throughout his campaign, Mr de Blasio reached out to those he said were left behind by the often Manhattan-centric Bloomberg administration, and called for a tax increase on the wealthy to pay for universal pre-kindergarten.
His election campaign also promised to take aim at a "Tale of Two Cities", a phrase he used to describe the Dickensian division between the rich and the poor in the city.
81st Street resident Babara Tamerin told the Post: "I can't believe de Blasio could do this. He is putting everyone in danger.
"He is crazy. We need the Mayor Bloomberg back!"
Others took to Twitter to express their frustration, criticising the Mayor for leaving them stuck in "dangerous" conditions and for keeping schools open despite the weather.
First snow storm in years that I can remember this level of accumulation on city streets and sidewalks. Not enough salt. Thanks #deblasio; Cheryl Noll (@cherrycola28) January 21, 2014
Molly Jong Fast, another Upper East Side resident, described Mr de Blasio as "divisive" and argued: "by not plowing the Upper East Side, he is saying, 'I'm not one of them'."
But New York City Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty said streets had not been ploughed in the Upper East Side area simply because of a faulty GPS system and traffic flow issues.
At a news conference with the Democratic mayor on Tuesday evening, Mr Doherty denied areas had been purposely ignored, blaming the unploughed areas on a technical fault. "One of the problems was that the salt spreader in that area, the GPS system was not working," he said, leaving streets that had not been ploughed not showing on the snow tracker.
"Traffic also created a big problem for us in that area. I think any of the reporters, or anybody who was in that area this afternoon were reporting, nothing is moving in the area," Doherty added.
Mr Doherty said many of the affected streets on the Upper East Side had now been ploughed.
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