On Friday evening, the Department of Sanitation sent out 579 salt spreaders. On Saturday, they sent out 1,650 plows. All-in-all, more than 2,400 Department of Sanitation employees worked 12-hour shifts on Saturday.
Were any of these 579 salt spreaders, 1,650 plows, and 2,400 employees sent to deal with the snow that pummeled Queens on Saturday?
In today's dose of inequality they were not, and according to The New York Times, Queens residents to Twitter in swarms to publicize the discrepancy.
"Has ANYONE in Queens seen a snow plow?" Tweeted one Queens resident. Others posted photos of the snow packed all the way to their door handles, from one end of the block to the other.
Some Queens residents tagged Mayor de Blasio and the NYC Department of Sanitation, pleading them to send plows to their neighborhoods because emergency vehicles couldn't get through.
"Help @BilldeBlasio @NYCSanitation 75th st middle village between Caldwell & Eliot Ave. Emergency vehicle can't driv" one tweet read.
Obviously, the subtext is money. It's pretty heartbreaking and unbelievable, but if we examined the route of the Department of Sanitation's snowplows, we can state with some certainty that the richer a neighborhood, the more likely it was to get plowed.
Mayor Bill de Blasio refuted this claim. He pointed out that in 2014, residents of the Upper East Side whose streets weren't immediately plowed after the storm accused him of "trying to get them back" for being the city's wealthy residents.
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Mayor de Blasio also said the city sanitation workers were clearing the city's major travel routes so the city could ease back into Monday's commute.
Still, de Blasio did acknowledge his plan's negation of Queens. The mayor traveled to Queens on Sunday to see the state of the roads for himself.
"I am certainly not satisfied with the condition of some of the roads in some of our neighborhoods in Queens," de Blasio said.
There's a long tradition of Queens being ignored during snowstorms. In 1969, a blizzard swept NYC and killed 42 people, half of whom were killed in Queens. At that time, Queens' streets were impossible to use to travel for days while residents stayed inside, without buses or even trash collection.
City officials also ascribed Queens' lack of emergency service to its size, narrow back roads, and high volume of snowfall.
Kathryn Garcia, the sanitation commissioner, said the city had trouble getting to Queens because they were working on getting special equipment to Queens' side streets that were too narrow for regular plows.
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The Mayor rerouted equipment from other boroughs to Queens, so the number of snowplows that had hit Queens' streets by Sunday morning totaled 850.
We're ashamed of the city for neglecting to send emergency responders to Queens at the same volume it sent them elsewhere during Storm Jonas.
All we can do for now is hope the city's officials will be impacted enough by this disgrace to do a better, more equal job of plowing snow next time.[via The New York Times] [Feature Image Courtesy Instagram]