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On de Blasio, the Bronx, the Upper East Side and snow

Stephon Johnson | 1/31/2014, 11:16 a.m.

Not even a full month into his first term as mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio has already had to placate well-to-do New Yorkers who were slightly inconvenienced.

In the aftermath of the second major snowstorm New York has experienced in several weeks, there were complaints from residents of the Upper East Side in Manhattan of unplowed or poorly plowed roads. Most of the complaints came in the form of several articles in the New York Post, where residents got on the proverbial soapbox and talked about “trash piling up higher than SUVs” and believing that all of this is part of de Blasio’s plan to get back at the 1 percent.

“He’s trying to get us back,” said one woman in the Post story.

“Ignoring us isn’t going to make the neighborhood go away,” said another man.

De Blasio kowtowed to the publicized complaints and took a trip to the neighborhood, where he said more could’ve been done to clean up the roads.

“I defend strongly the hard work of our men and women of the Sanitation Department and other agencies, and I absolutely reject any notion that one neighborhood was treated differently than another,” said de Blasio. “But when I went to the Upper East Side, I was not satisfied with the performance of our personnel there. I don’t think we used our assets the way we needed to effectively enough—and I said that out loud. I’m going to hold all of our city agencies to a high standard.”

With over a decade of protests and rallies over the economic and social injustices that occurred under the Michael Bloomberg administration, it seemed disingenuous to some that Upper East Side residents were singled out for having to change their daily plans because of snow.

If the Upper East Side had complaints, how many other places did? The AmNews talked to several residents from the Bronx and asked them how the city’s response affected their neighborhoods.

Felicia Locksmith lives in the Bronx on Gun Hill Road near the Bronx River Parkway. She told the AmNews that her neighborhood was a mixed bag of plowed major roads and barely plowed side streets. “The little bit of Gun Hill I saw before getting on the parkway seemed like it was plowed but looked kind of similar to what was being shown on the news,” she said. “Any other street around me looked almost virtually untouched, and the storm was clear for days.”

The AmNews saw similar conditions around the Fordham area, where major streets like Fordham Road were taken care of, but side streets like Creston Avenue were a mixed bag depending on the block. Kamal Williams, another Bronx resident, said the city did the best it could with his neighborhood and that the results were fine by him.

“I live in Parkchester,” said Williams. “The roads were plowed in a reasonable amount of time, and I think the Upper East Side story was overblown and shows a little of the sense of entitlement some of the people in that area have.”

Locksmith had a similar reaction to the mainstream news coverage of the Upper East Side.

“That kind of s— has been happening for as long as I can remember in the outer boroughs and in Harlem. There’s the 10 percent of New York City that the ‘city’ cares about, and then there’s the rest of us.”