Although up to nine inches of snow fell on Central Park last night and this morning, the city’s streets were mostly clear today, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg took to the city’s Office of Emergency Management headquarters in downtown Brooklyn to brief New Yorkers on the clean-up efforts.
The mayor said that he was lifting the emergency declaration that the city filed last night, and that as far as he knew there were virtually no stuck buses in the city’s streets and only a handful of stuck vehicles. The mayor added that the city deputized 106 private contractors to clear the city’s tertiary streets–those that were snowed under for days during the blizzard of 2010–and that up to a 1,000 laborers had been hired to manually clear bus stops and cross walks today.
He also noted that 311 received 45,000 calls during one hour of the storm, a record amount.
Bloomberg rejected the notion that today’s storm was a “redemption” of his administration’s lackluster effort during the last snowstorm.
“I think the city’s response for nine years over 70-odd storms has been exemplary. Things did not work out in that one storm,” he said, adding, “I look at what we did last night and this morning as an opportunity to see how we could do it better the next time.”
The mayor was joined by Sanitation Chief John Doherty, Transporation head Janette Sadik-Khan, NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly, MTA head Jay Walder and Dept of Education chancellor Cathie Black, who defended the city’s decision to keep schools open.
“The last thing we want to do is close schools and put out 1.1 million children wandering around with nothing to do,” she said.
And the mayor said that he did not think that his presence in the city–The New York Times put the mayor’s personal jet, at least, in Bermuda during the last storm–made much of a difference this time around.
“I would love to tell you I was driving the plow,” he said. “But I have enormous confidence in the people behind me and in the people that work for them.”
After the briefing, the mayor quickly headed to meet with Councilman Peter Vallone at a diner in Queens. Vallone has been a fierce critic of the administration’s response to the last snowstorm.