Queens Residents on December Blizzard: The City Failed Us

New Yorkers' discontent with the city's inadequate response to the December blizzard continues. A City Council hearing at Queens Borough Hall Friday had residents lining up to describe how they were stranded in their homes for days, with unplowed streets, uncollected garbage, stranded busses and ambulances that did not reach the ailing in time to help. Here are some of their stories.

“I called [911], and I called, and I called, and nobody answered,” said Laura Freeman, who believes her mother might have survived a heat attack if paramedics arrived more quickly.
“I called [911], and I called, and I called, and nobody answered,” said Laura Freeman, who believes her mother might have survived a heat attack if paramedics arrived more quickly. ( Richard Yeh )
Vishnu Mahadeo, with Richmond Hill Economic Development Council, said of Sanitation trucks driving with plows up, “What is the excuse with that nonsense? We saw that. We witnessed it.”
Vishnu Mahadeo, with Richmond Hill Economic Development Council, said of Sanitation trucks driving with plows up, “What is the excuse with that nonsense? We saw that. We witnessed it.” ( RIchard Yeh )
Michelle Orenstein did not blame the city for her mom’s death on December 26, but said she had to wait 16 hours for the city’s medical examiner to show up.
Michelle Orenstein did not blame the city for her mom’s death on December 26, but said she had to wait 16 hours for the city’s medical examiner to show up. ( Richard Yeh )
Giovanna Reid, district manager of Community Board 3, asks why CERT teams and volunteer ambulances were not called in. “Every decision cannot be made in Manhattan.”
Giovanna Reid, district manager of Community Board 3, asks why CERT teams and volunteer ambulances were not called in. “Every decision cannot be made in Manhattan.” ( Richard Yeh )
“I think we should look into Mr. Goldsmith. Maybe he's not suited to be looking after snow removal and Sanitation,” said Doreen Dileonardo, who is married to a city Sanitation worker.
“I think we should look into Mr. Goldsmith. Maybe he's not suited to be looking after snow removal and Sanitation,” said Doreen Dileonardo, who is married to a city Sanitation worker. ( Richard Yeh )
“We [seniors] live on fixed income. We live hand to mouth. A lot of us lost three days of pay. Who’s going to give us that money?” asked Italo Sgaraglia, with Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4787.
“We [seniors] live on fixed income. We live hand to mouth. A lot of us lost three days of pay. Who’s going to give us that money?” asked Italo Sgaraglia, with Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4787. ( Richard Yeh )
“It is hard to see a blizzard, especially from Bermuda. I know the mayor has a nice plane, but he should have been here,” said Mike Mulvaney, member of Community Board 6.
“It is hard to see a blizzard, especially from Bermuda. I know the mayor has a nice plane, but he should have been here,” said Mike Mulvaney, member of Community Board 6. ( Richard Yeh )
“Clearly, the negative perception that we have two cities – Manhattan and the outer boroughs – was strengthened” by the city’s response, said Karyn Petersen, district manager of Community Board 10.
“Clearly, the negative perception that we have two cities – Manhattan and the outer boroughs – was strengthened” by the city’s response, said Karyn Petersen, district manager of Community Board 10. ( Richard Yeh )
Queens Borough President Helen Marshall: “My own experience of more than a half century of civic life in Queens tells me that something was amiss.”
Queens Borough President Helen Marshall: “My own experience of more than a half century of civic life in Queens tells me that something was amiss.” ( Richard Yeh )
Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
Council Speaker Christine Quinn. ( Richard Yeh )
“The mayor should have included in his state of the city address one sentence, one sentence, to all New Yorkers: ‘I’m sorry,'” said Councilmember Letitia James, who chaired the hearing Friday.
“The mayor should have included in his state of the city address one sentence, one sentence, to all New Yorkers: ‘I’m sorry,'” said Councilmember Letitia James, who chaired the hearing Friday. ( Richard Yeh )
Councilmember Jumaane Williams, chair of Oversight & Investigations Committee, called it a “farce” that city commissioners hadn’t been fired, demoted or publicly reprimanded.
Councilmember Jumaane Williams, chair of Oversight & Investigations Committee, called it a “farce” that city commissioners hadn’t been fired, demoted or publicly reprimanded. ( Richard Yeh )
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