With a Nor'Easter on its way and the city still reeling from Hurricane Sandy, Mayor Bloomberg came out today to update the city on recovery efforts and storm preparations. Y'all ready for some strong winds and maybe even some sleet?
The key bits of Bloomberg's announcement were this: Because of the coming storm city parks and beaches will be closed tomorrow from noon until Thursday at noon. "Even if you are outside a park," be careful of trees because the sleet may weight them down and "we've had too many people killed by trees." Further, if you live in an extra low-lying part of Zone A you should really move to higher ground because another surge is coming (think the Rockaways and the south shore of Staten Island). The worst should occur around noon and midnight tomorrow (i.e. high tide). The surge is forecasted to be between 2 and 4 feet. "Even though this is not anywhere near as strong as Sandy, or even strong enough to get us to evacuate in normal circumstances, we are going to ask a few people to go to higher ground," Bloomberg said. In addition, all exterior construction must stop tomorrow at noon.
Other things Hizzoner talked about? To start, "Yesterday we distributed more than 250,000 meals, 61,000 liters of water, 21,000 blankets, and 8,000 rain ponchos."
Bloomberg also heavily praised our hardworking Sanitation workers (the work they do "is difficult even in the best of conditions") who have already removed 60,000 tons of storm debris. While they work on the hardest hit areas trash collection in less hard hit areas is being reduced (and recycling has been suspended). So? "Put out your garbage and we'll get to it, just less frequently then we have."
As for power in the city? Bloomberg says that the number of people without service in the city has been reduced to 91,000. And about 40,000 of those customers, he says, are actually related to the buildings they are in and NOT with utilities companies. Also, they are working on it.
Oh! And remember how yesterday 57 schools were too structurally damaged to open? That has been reduced to 47 schools. Yay! Click here to check if your kid's school will be open tomorrow.
Regarding the mess at the polls today? Bloomberg acknowledged that the system is inefficient but asks New Yorks to be patient. "It is worth it to be part of the process." He acknowledged problems with power at some polling sites and late starts, but did not seem to have heard about problems with scanners.
Finally, when asked about people blaming his administration for its post-Sandy response Bloomberg simply shrugged it off, acknowledging that some had real issues to vent about ("People who don't get assistance right away get irritable. I understand that! I would too!") but also mocking those with what we on the interwebs like to call first-world problems ("There is always somebody who screams 'I did not have coffee for 24 hours, what an outrage!'"). "I'd love to tell you I have something to do with controlling the weather," he joked.