The first snowstorm of the winter was also Mayor Bill de Blasio’s first test of how his rookie administration could handle a major weather emergency.
And he passed — with flying colors.
Although schools closed because of the blizzard, the city’s primary roads were all passable by Friday afternoon. Most of the city’s secondary roads were navigable as well.
The mayor didn’t take any chances with the vagaries of the weather, ordering an armada of 1,700 plows to scoop up the fast-accumulating snow once the storm started on Thursday night. Understanding the importance of clearing the streets quickly, the new mayor didn’t delegate the responsibility of overseeing the cleanup, conducting a predawn conference call with his subordinates.
New York City’s mayors have always had to plow through some of the toughest urban problems — crime, housing shortages, budget shortfalls — but plowing the streets has vexed some of New York’s most famous mayors. Mayor Lindsay’s popularity skidded drastically after he was faulted for not being responsive enough in clearing the streets after a major snowstorm that hit the city in 1969, and de Blasio’s predecessor, Mayor Bloomberg, suffered through a barrage of withering criticism after the city was paralyzed for days after a snowstorm blanketed the city in 2010.
De Blasio wasn’t given much time to prepare for his first test, but he did an extraordinary job in a situation where more experienced mayors had failed. We hope this first success will snowball into many others during his tenure as mayor.