(Update) Mayor Bill de Blasio defends city’s snow plowing efforts

Mayor Bill de Blasio shovels snow outside of his Brooklyn home on Wednesday.  Credit: Rob Bennett for the Office of Mayor Bill de Blasio
Mayor Bill de Blasio shovels snow outside of his Brooklyn home on Wednesday.
Credit: Rob Bennett for the Office of Mayor Bill de Blasio

Update (5:30 p.m.): Mayor Bill de Blasio released the following statement:

“After hearing concerns about street conditions on the Upper East Side, I headed to the area to survey the streets for myself, and to hear from residents directly. While the overall storm response across the city was well-executed, 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. I have instructed the Commissioner of the Department of Sanitation to double-down on cleanup efforts on the Upper East Side, and as a result, 30 vehicles and nearly 40 sanitation workers have been deployed to the area to finish the cleanup. 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.”

Read Metro’s original story below:

Two days after New York was struck with one of the worst snowstorms in the city’s history, then-Public Advocate Bill de Blasio wrote to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, concerned about the administration’s response.

“It has become evident that the outer boroughs have been disproportionately affected by the lack of plowing after Sunday’s snow storm,” de Blasio wrote in a letter Dec. 28, 2010.

Just over three years later, Mayor de Blasio defended the city’s response during Tuesday’s snowstorm, particularly on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, where some residents grumbled about unplowed streets.

“No one was treated differently,” the mayor said Wednesday. “We believe in a five-borough approach.”

While the mayor said the vast majority of the city’s 6,300 miles of roads were cleared in time for the morning commute, East Side Councilman Dan Garodnick disagreed.

“Until mid-day Wednesday, problems persisted, and cars were skidding and getting stuck even on main avenues,” Garodnick said in a statement. “It took longer than it should have to resolve these issues.”

De Blasio said the timing and intensity of the storm made it difficult for city workers to clear streets before rush hour Tuesday evening in some neighborhoods like the Upper East Side. More cars on the streets as New Yorkers tried to get home, he and other officials said, slowed down removal.

“It is what it is,” Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty said. “They can believe what they want. I know what we did.”

(Officials also said a GPS glitch meant progress on the Upper East Side wasn’t properly reported to PlowNYC, the city’s online plowing tracker.)

Wednesday afternoon, de Blasio stopped in the Upper East Side to survey storm cleanup and talk to residents. After a trip from a west side sanitation garage Tuesday night, the mayor said he thought roads in Midtown and downtown Manhattan were relatively clear.

“What I saw was a lot of equipment out,” he said. By 9 a.m. Wednesday, roughly 1,800 snow removal vehicles had been deployed throughout the city. Almost 300 pieces of equipment, Doherty said, were deployed to the Upper East Side on Tuesday.

Officials said some 2,300 sanitation workers, plus 200 from other agencies, assisted in the clean-up effort. Singling out specific examples of poor plow efforts was disrespectful to those workers, de Blasio said.

“They were out there in force in every neighborhood,” he said.

The mayor noted that dealing with criticism — particularly snow-related gripes — was part of his job.

“Theres a rich history of people in leadership positions dealing with weather crises,” he said.

Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter @AnnaESanders


US military tried, but failed to rescue journalist…

The U.S. military earlier this year tried to rescue journalist James Foley and other American hostages held in Syria ,but failed to find the captives.


Fate of captured beluga whales in hands of…

A Georgia aquarium went to court on Wednesday seeking federal permission to bring 18 captured beluga whales to the United States from Russia.


After Eric Garner death, religious leaders meet to…

Interfaith leaders convened with city officials to discuss what the community can do to help dial down heightened tensions after Eric Garner's death.


'Suspicious' Hamilton Heights fire caused by power strip:…

An extension cord overload caused the deadly fire in Hamilton Heights late Monday that killed a 15-year-old girl and injured at least 12 others.


'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: Season…

And then there were six. It was a big night on stage as the Top 6 got to dance with each other, All-star partners and perform a solo routine.

Going Out

5 things to do in NYC this weekend…

FILM Lebowski Fest Aug. 22-23, 8 p.m. Various locations, Manhattan $20-$30, www.lebowskifest.com The Dude abides — for 48 hours to celebrate the 1998 Coen brothers classic.…


'Doctor Who' personality profile: the 4 Doctors

When the time comes for a new Doctor, there's always some anxiety over the big question: Who will he be? The series owes its longevity…


Billy Crystal to commemorate late actor Robin Williams…

  Comedian Billy Crystal will pay tribute to late actor Robin Williams at television's Primetime Emmy Awards on Aug. 25, the show's organizers said on…


Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.


Jalen Saunders still unsure what caused car accident…

Jets rookie wide receiver Jalen Saunders spoke to the media Wednesday for the first time since his car accident, but he didn't say a whole lot.


2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL defense (DEF)


2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL quarterbacks (QB)


Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…


Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…


Metabolic syndrome could have a sugar link

Scientists in St. Louis may have found another culprit in metabolic syndrome, which can lead to heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  Uric acid is…


Another way stress hurts your unborn baby

Mothers know to try staying calm during pregnancy, as stress has been linked to behavioral and developmental problems for their babies. But now, a new…