That another New York City mayor is accused of harboring

pro-Manhattan tendencies is hardly news to residents of the other four

boroughs. See the infamous blizzard of 1969, when John Lindsay bumbled snow

plowing in Queens at peril to his political career. Every mayor since then has

applied the Lindsay lesson with varying degrees of astuteness, but Mayor

Michael Bloomberg hasn't worked the neighborhoods nearly enough to counter the

impression that his proposed service cuts are guided by Manhattan-centrism.

They may not be, though you have to wonder sometimes.

City Comptroller William Thompson is not one to rant and rave, so his fear

of "borough warfare" is worthy of note. And even if he is gearing up to run for

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mayor, the comptroller has hit on a familiar theme: Concerns that the

Manhattanite mayor plays favorites. Adding to the perception is a proposal to

close the zoos in Queens and Brooklyn. Another point of contention was a plan

to collect residential garbage only once a week in Queens and Staten Island.

The mayor first raised suspicions in Queens months ago when he showed interest

in trading off the land under the two airports for the World Trade Center site

in Manhattan.

Some bias is built in, of course. Bloomberg was not the first person to

refer to Manhattan as the "city." Nor does City Hall have a trademark on the

phrase "outer boroughs," which evokes images of some expendable hinterland.

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Queens residents may be in for some relief now that Bloomberg

administration officials are looking for other ways to reduce the sanitation

budget. It's not that some parts of Queens couldn't manage once-a-week garbage

collections, but the more densely populated areas would have trouble on less

than twice-weekly service. The mayor gives the appearance of one who can't

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appreciate his city's nuances.

City Hall points out that two-thirds of city residents who would pay a

proposed income- tax surcharge live in Manhattan. That's an important

sacrifice, but it's of little consolation if other residents have to bear a

disproportionate share of service cuts. Bloomberg still has some explaining to

do.