De Blasio Tries to Cheer Up Miserable New Yorkers: "We Are Tough by Nature"
On Wednesday, the mayor tried to console New Yorkers increasingly grumpy over the string of storms by telling them, "We are tough by nature... We don't give in to challenges." Next, he tried channeling the ghost of mayor Ed Koch, who used to say, "I wake up every morning and say to myself, 'Well, I'm still in New York. Thank you, God.'"
Even in on our darkest days, we can take comfort in our illusory superiority.
The occasion for his pep talk -- in case you're one of the lucky ones who hasn't left the house yet -- was a morning commute that some of the more melodramatic among us are calling "The Worst Commute of All Time." (Yes it was bad. But was it worse than Tokyo, March 20, 1995, when 13 commuters were killed by sarin gas? Worse than London, July 7, 2005, when 52 commuters were killed by bomb explosions?)
De Blasio repeated the refrains New Yorkers have heard frequently 2014: "If you don't need to go out, don't go out," and "If you do go out, take it slow." He made no apologies, however, about keeping schools open today thus giving parents and students across the city a reason to be out. (Field trips were cancelled, but after-school activities and PSAL remain open.)
"I'm a public school parent," the mayor reminded us for the umpteenth time. "I see these decisions through the eyes of parent." Some parents, he went on, want to make sure their children's education is as uninterrupted as possible, others rely on schools to take care of their children while they are at work. There is also, he mentioned, the small fact that the city has a legal obligation to make sure there are a certain number of school days every year.
Chancellor Carmen Farina also stood behind the decision. "I think we did the right thing," she said. "What about the kids for whom school is a safe haven? Many would not have a hot lunch today if school was not open." As of 11 a.m., she said, schools citywide had an attendance of about 60 percent.
De Blasio rejected the notion, suggested by Governor Cuomo earlier Wednesday, that New York City was facing a "dire" salt shortage. De Blasio assured the public that New York City had enough salt to make it through that day's storm, and a second storm expected to hit this weekend.
The city does have "very serious" blood shortage though. "We need blood, and we need it quickly," de Blasio said. Blood donations, he said, have not come in and the usual rate during the recent storms. Anyone who can donate is asked to call 800-933-2566 or visit nybloodcenter.org.