New York City mayor Bill de Blasio has finally found something that he is worse at than running for president. The mayor has not only been flat-footed in dealing with the Wuhan virus that is ravaging Gotham, he has also been remarkably tone deaf. Perhaps nothing made this more patently clear than his decision to hit the gym on March 16th, just a day after closing all of the schools, bars and restaurants in the city.
While de Blasio’s arch nemesis Gov. Andrew Cuomo has garnered praise for his handling of the Chinese virus, the mayor has stumbled time after time. Even the closing of the schools was a debacle. Over the weekend prior to Monday, March 16, it was obvious not just that New York City would be hit with the virus, but that it would be hit hard. And yet, Hizzoner decided to wait until late Sunday to announce that schools would be closed the following day.
By refusing to make the obvious decision to close schools earlier, de Blasio threw the city’s parents into a confused rush to try to figure out childcare. What has truly been bizarre from the outset of this crisis is that anyone who took ninth grade biology understood that the most densely populated city in the country was always bound to be slammed by the virus. How de Blasio managed not to see this is frankly remarkable.
I’m sure I’m not the only New Yorker who wistfully rues that if only Anthony Weiner had cooled it with sexting teenagers we might have some competence in the mayor’s office. De Blasio’s blasé approach to the virus as it began infecting New York City looks even worse now that he is begging the federal government for help he barely seemed to think was needed just a week ago.
On Thursday it was announced that there would be a few street closures in four of the city’s five boroughs but even that feels slapdash and poorly thought through. I mean, the idea seems to be that by banning cars and trucks from the affected thoroughfares including parts of Park Avenue, people will be better able to distance themselves.
But three weeks ago de Blasio was singing a different tune, here in a Tweet from early March in which he urges New Yorkers to cram together in movie theaters.
Since I’m encouraging New Yorkers to go on with your lives + get out on the town despite Coronavirus, I thought I would offer some suggestions. Here’s the first: thru Thurs 3/5 go see “The Traitor” @FilmLinc. If “The Wire” was a true story + set in Italy, it would be this film.
— Bill de Blasio (@BilldeBlasio) March 3, 2020
What really must rankle the oafish commander in chief of New York City is that Andrew Cuomo, in his newfound bromance with Donald Trump, has made the mayor look like an idiot at every turn. Cuomo announced the gyms would be closing pretty much while de Blasio was affixing his two-pound ankle weights at the Park Slope YMCA.
If there is a silver lining in the de Blasio debacle it might be that New Yorkers will be ready for another Republican mayor. The kind of mayor who actually makes things work instead of standing in the way of progress. Joe Borelli and Eric Ulrich are two hotshot young GOP councilmen who should get a fair hearing when we next elect a mayor. I mean we could hardly do worse.