City Journal Summer 2014

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Summer 2014
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Matthew Hennessey
The Unplowable City « Back to Story

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If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind? Oh yeah, it can be far, far behind. Neighborhood bars, wood burning stoves, down comforters, Irish Mist, all are good antidotes for the chill. My personal favorite is a long cross country ski in the Park. As for plowed streets (?) .... you just might want to have a good backup plan.
I long for the day when all the finance companies and the wealthy pull up shop and relocate to a tax and business-friendly state like Texas or Florida. Leave these liberal tax-loving thugs to tax themselves to oblivion. It's always easier stealing other people's money than to make some of your own.
Mr. Welton, I should think it fairly obvious why New York can't get its streets plowed whereas Malmö can; the municipal unions are trying to re-assert the power they previously enjoyed by humiliating the new mayor early in his tenure. Get de Blasio used to union intransigence, and irresponsibility, early on and he'll be much easier to deal with down the line.

Unfortunately, this is the way of all unions local conditions to the contrary, as may apply in Malmö, not withstanding.

The union membership comes to believe some radical who promises them the world. Upon election that radical's under pressure to at least appear to try to deliver on those promises even if there's no way to actual do that. Organized work stoppages and slow-downs give the membership the illusion that the city's being shown who holds the hammer, and thus will inevitably bow to union demands.

For a long time its worked but recently it's become clear that the electorate, at least in some areas, is getting tired of the endless demands of the municipal unions and has demonstrated with unappealable certainty who does hold the hammer.
Wish I could feel sorry for the pompous and pretentious folks, but elections have consequences. The upper crust will not be exempt from the scourge of Warren Wilhelm Jr. In fact, they will be his first target. Bet they're crying for Bloomie already. Ready to give the Bloomster a lifelong seat perhaps?
Not being from the NY metro area I'm continually amazed how every year winter comes, every winter it snows, and yet the city if caught off guard every year. As if they are always surprised it snows during winter. I'm sure they will get it one of these years.
Incredible story – America is truly blessed to have exotic zoo creatures like Newyorkicus – bitchickus, no other country has successfully bred them in captivity. Monkeys bite, scratch and throw their feces, New Yorkers have snow plough wars. A GPS tracking system to prove your snow ploughs aren’t politically biased, a defective GPS tracking system to prove New Yorkers are basically incompetent – amazing. And if every street within the 5 boroughs was swept clean before the last snowflake fell, New Yorkers would complain it wasn’t nearly enough, the City could have done the job better – decades of intense therapy won’t cure New Yorkers of their mental aberrations. But then again, why bother with therapy?
Dear Jic,

I make a habit of only speaking of things I know. I was in Manhattan, not the other boroughs. I can't say how things looked there. That's why I only bring up Manhattan.

More than that, my comparison is not about New York City as a whole versus Malmö as a whole. Let me encapsulate the essence of what I've been saying so far with a few simple questions.

What insurmountable obstacle was there to plowing the most important avenues in Manhattan on Wednesday morning between say midnight and 4 am? There was none, and still it wasn't done.

What incentive does my municipal government in Malmö have to plow a street with maybe 3 houses near the city limits? Little, and yet it is done within 24 hours.

Do you see the problem? If you do you'll understand my astonishment.

P.s. I was there during late February 2010 when there was about as much snowfall (granted, temperatures were higher). The snow was plowed pretty quickly and stacked neatly back then.
Every city and town should OUTSOURCE ALL public sector jobs. You fail to plow as your contract states, you're FIRED and another contractor is hired. No pensions or unions to screw things up.
To Axel Weldon; It seems you would be better served by spending your winters in Malmo rather than in New York City.
"Malmö is a larger area than Manhattan"

The article was about New York City in general, which is about 300 square miles (almost 500 if you include water, but you don't have to plow that) and contains (quoting directly from the article) "6,000 miles of city streets". You said that Malmö is 61 square miles.

"Are you somehow ideologically motivated to defend the mayor?"

Not even slightly. But, as the article points out, this has been a ongoing problem for decades.
No he won't. As a dyed-in-the-wool hater of wealth, he is thoroughly insulated from any criticism. the blatant and obvious neh-neh-ne-neh-neh retaliation tactic is too too clear: even if he didn't order it, his whole newly ensconced crowd in City Hall BELIEVES he would have, and BELIEVES he couldn't care less about the "wealthy", and would tacitly endorse the action. My daughter is hardly wealthy, even though, smug aristocrat she must be, lives on the upper East Side!!! DeBlasio is a contemptible old-world bolshevik, with purposeful blinders on re the "wealthy". Consider his rabid need to tax the "wealthy" even though Cuomo guaranteed the funds for his universal Pre-K!!!!
Dear Jic,

how is it vastly easier? Malmö is a larger area than Manhattan and if you plow at dawn, the traffic will be pretty much the same. Don't you find it strange that Malmö has that kind of resources for its low priority areas while Manhattan doesn't for its highest priority areas?

(I'm starting to think you're missing the point on purpose. Are you somehow ideologically motivated to defend the mayor?)
You do realize that you just keep making lists of reasons why it's vastly easier to keep Malmö free of snow, don't you?
When Christie punishes Ft Lee, DoJ investigates. When DeBlasio punishes UES, nothing. They're both thugs.
Christopher Stephens January 24, 2014 at 5:55 PM
You missed the best irony of this little history. One of the people publicly lambasting Mayor Bloomberg for his failure to clear the snow in 2010 was the city's Public Advocate. A guy by the name of Bill de Blasio.
Not plowing the streets of areas that voted for the Republican candidate for mayor: Is that not akin to the political payback that Democrats accuse Governor Christie of engaging in?
Dear jic,

let me clarify.

Manhattan alone has 1.6 million residents and many more who work there. The entire island is 23 square miles and population density is extremely high. (Keep in mind that commercial activity in Manhattan affects the regional, and to some extent, global economy.)

My hometown of Malmö has 300 000 residents spread out on 61 square miles. Population density is low. Commercial activity is negligible compared to Manhattan.

Don't you think there should be better snow preparation for the busiest avenues in Manhattan, with all of its residents and economic importance, than for the least busy streets on the outskirts of Malmö? I do.
Your home town is "infinitely smaller" than New York and "gets less snow per year", and has less trouble keeping the streets plowed? Well, of course it does. So what?
Forecasters did not name a winter storm, a TV network named a winter storm. No reputable forecasters use the naming system established by a TV network for promotional purposes.
I was there tuesday and wednesday. Traffic stood still on Lexington Avenue as far as the eye could see. Firetrucks and ambulances were stuck. Plowing the streets is not just about removing annoyance, there are people whose lives rely on public service to work!

In my infinitely smaller hometown in Sweden, even side streets get plowed the same day or at least the morning after. I'm talking about streets that get not even one percent of the traffic in Manhattan.

One might argue that it's only normal for Sweden to have better preparation for snow but here's the kicker: our town gets less snow per year than New York!