At the St. Patrick’s Day parade in the Rockaways this weekend, Mayor Michael Bloomberg found himself the target of angry protesters who heckled him and accused City Hall of ignoring their neighborhood in the wake of Hurricane Sandy’s devastation. But asked about it as he broke ground for a new Long Island City housing development today, Mr. Bloomberg said he wasn’t personally bothered by the criticism.
“Look, these are people who are frustrated because they’ve been dealt a bad hand by God,” he told Politicker. “I understand the frustration and if you take it out by booing the mayor, okay, so what? It was still a nice parade.”
While expressing sympathy with those frustrated by the lack of progress, Mr. Bloomberg also touted all of effort already invested in rebuilding the hard-hit area.
“But I will say there’s been an awful lot of generous people who have collected something like $55 million from private sources,” he said. “We’ve had all of the uniformed services. We’ve had volunteers, [an] enormous amount of people who’ve come. Rapid Repairs has been phenomenally successful. People keep coming up to me and saying, ‘Thank you, I never would have got that done on my own.’ We’ve made enormous progress. I understand people are frustrated. They’re not back to where they were. But I think we have to say thank you to those that helped. … We’ll get a lot done more. We’ve planned to have our beaches open on time. We’re going to rebuild as much as we can, as quickly as we can.”