What a difference a day makes: following my observations yesterday on the hopelessly optimistic reporting of New York’s blizzards by the Daily Mail, it seems that Paul Dacre’s finest have subjected themselves to a reality check.
After suggesting that the city was back to normal within a few hours, the Mail has conceded that there are “many streets still clogged with snow”. It also mentions the hazards faced by Sanitation Department ploughs, such as parked and abandoned vehicles – which its previous article suggested were being towed away, though they were not.
The lack of towing away may be down to Mayor Bloomberg’s failure to declare a “snow emergency”, which then gives the authorities clearance to tow. And the Mayor has been getting it in the neck from all sides, rather like his London contemporary Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson did when London’s buses all but stopped running last winter.
Now, far from his previous bullish tone, Bloomberg is conceding that he “probably could have done better”. In a follow up New York Post headline piece (“Bloomy finally gets our drift”), he admits that “there are city streets that haven’t seen a plow since the last snowstorm – 10 months ago”.
Yes, NYC had a snowstorm last winter. In fact, as MSNBC host Keith Olbermann – a city resident – has pointed out, the city averages 28 inches of snow a year, and has experienced ten ten-inch falls in the past decade. So the city authorities should be well versed in dealing with such events.
And the clear corollary is this: if NYC is having difficulty recovering from the kind of event that occurs, on average, every year, then the problems experienced in the UK recently should not surprise anyone.
Not even those who work at the Daily Mail.