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NYC: No sign of intent, but Upper East Side short-shoveling unexplained
The last from Newsday's Matthew Chayes:
Hours after brushing off complaints that snow-removal crews bungled the cleanup on Manhattan's Upper East Side from Tuesday's storm, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio did an about-face Wednesday and conceded, "more could have been done."
His admission, which followed complaints that snow-clogged major thoroughfares in the area resulted in traffic paralysis, stood in contrast to his comments in the morning dismissing the criticism as "mistaken" and congratulating crews for a "helluva job."
As reporters relayed anecdotes from interviews and tweets of New Yorkers' snow woes, de Blasio responded that he had seen the bigger picture.
"The difference is, I get to hear the reports from all over the city . . . and I'm telling you based on everything I've heard, there was a very strong and consistent effort," he said.
But afterward, de Blasio visited the neighborhood -- a trip he didn't announce to the media -- to gather anecdotes and see the mess firsthand. At 5:22 p.m., he issued a statement: "While the overall storm response across the city was well-executed, after inspecting the area and listening to concerns from residents earlier today, I determined more could have been done to serve the Upper East Side."
He said he ordered the Sanitation Department to "double-down," deploying 30 vehicles and 40 sanitation laborers "to finish the cleanup."
Following the mea culpa, neither de Blasio's press aides nor the Sanitation Department would answer questions such as what exactly went wrong on the Upper East Side.