While many people and elected officials have simply followed the Weather Channel’s decision to call the snowstorm hitting the Northeast “Nemo,” the mayor of one city in Connecticut has decided to come up with his own name for the blizzard and it’s a reference to the late, great rapper Notorious B.I.G. In a series of tweets sent today, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton has used the #SnowtoriousBIGII hashtag to refer to the storm.
“Wind is definitely picking up,” Mr. Boughton wrote this afternoon. “This is becoming an old school storm. #OG #snotoriousBIGII”
At his Midtown office this afternoon, Governor Andrew Cuomo briefed reporters about the severe winter weather currently bearing down on the New York City area. Though the governor announced he declared a state of emergency “effective this afternoon” to give the state and local governments “more flexibility in dealing with this situation,” he said the storm is not expected to cause any major damage along the lines of what the region experienced during Hurricane Sandy.
“Well you’ve heard of Finding Nemo, it seems like Nemo has found us,” Governor Cuomo began, riffing off the Weather Channel’s name for the storm. “As everyone knows, we’re expecting a severe winter storm, but nothing more than a severe winter storm. We’ve been preparing for it for a number of days now.”
After the Storm
WASHINGTON — Mayor Michael Bloomberg is in Washington D.C. today meeting with lawmakers and other officials about his request for billions of dollars in federal aid to help the city recover from the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy last month in New York. Though many City residents affected by Sandy have had some criticism about FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security’s response to the storm, at a press conference in the Capitol Building this afternoon, Mr. Bloomberg said he didn’t have a single issue with the federal followup to the hurricane.
After the Flood
Two days after Hurricane Sandy hit New York, Barbara Garofalo, a lifelong Sea Gate resident, stood in front of the community’s chapel, which had been turned into a makeshift headquarters for emergency personnel.
She watched bulldozers work their way through the ruins of the neighborhood’s private beach club, surveying the piles of rubble and twisted metal and the uprooted cabanas that littered the streets after the storm sent waves crashing through the neighborhood’s beachfront homes, ripping several off their foundations. Eyeing the damage, Ms. Garofalo couldn’t help but wonder whether some of the houses could have been saved if a planned government project to reinforce the community’s beaches had started sooner.
“They have the money in process, but they haven’t started it yet,” said Ms. Garofalo. “Maybe we would have had water damage, but maybe would have—could have saved the homes. Every home on the beach is gone. It breaks my heart.”
Newark Mayor Cory Booker opened his home yesterday to over a dozen of his neighbors who were left without power by Hurricane Sandy. Alice Bell, who took refuge after the storm at the mayor’s house, talked to Politicker this morning and described the slumber party-like scene inside Mr. Booker’s home and what it meant to the people who stayed there.
“It meant–I can’t even explain,” she said, her voice cracking with emotion. “I mean, we were–I’m still overwhelmed that he would reach out to us like that, you know, that we meant that much that he actually invited the whole block.”
In spite of the impact of Hurricane Sandy still being felt around the city, the New York City Marathon is still scheduled to proceed as planned on Sunday. However, you can now add Councilman Domenic Recchia to the growing list of critics who disagree with Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s contention the race won’t disrupt emergency workers from their vital post-storm duties. In a statement released a few minutes ago, Mr. Recchia, who represents Coney Island, Gravesend, Bensonhurst and Brighton Beach, which were all hit hard by the storm, called continuing with the marathon “just wrong.”
“To host the New York City Marathon in the middle of what is complete devastation and a crisis in parts of this City is just wrong. There are people in Coney Island, Sea Gate, and Brighton Beach who are without food, water, and electricity. This crisis is expected to continue through the weekend and into next week,” Mr. Recchia said.
Angelo Deangelis has lived in Sea Gate, a gated beachside community on the southwestern tip of Brooklyn, with his family for 31 years since immigrating to the United States from Italy. On Monday night, when Hurricane Sandy hit New York, he planned to stay in his home facing the beach and weather the storm. About twenty minutes before the wind and flooding that battered the neighborhood reached its peak, waters began to surround his home and Mr. Deangelis realized the hurricane was worse than anything he had expected. He went to his sister’s house nearby.
“The waves they were hitting my boarded up veranda and the water was coming up from the front of the house and, on the third shot, I went down, I shut the electricity and I just went by my sister’s on Laurel Avenue,” Mr. Deangelis told Politicker today.
Though he abandoned his home, Mr. Deangelis left a webcam filming as the waters overtook his house. He and his family watched live as their house was destroyed.
“You know, 31 years in the house, and 31 years in this country and all of it is gone,” he explained as he stood in front of the home, which had a red sticker on the door declaring it “unsafe” to enter and in danger of collapse.
Law & Order
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, there have been mounting reports and rumors of people taking advantage of the chaos and power outages created by the storm to loot abandoned buildings. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn wants these criminals to face exceptionally harsh punishment. Politicker saw Ms. Quinn in Coney Island today as she spoke to reporters after surveying the damage. Ms. Quinn said people need to “do the right thing” and should face very tough consequences if they don’t.
Coney Island, including its iconic amusement park and boardwalk, was hit incredibly hard by Hurricane Sandy along with the rest of Brooklyn’s southern coast. Politicker ventured into the area today, a journey that took us on sand-covered streets without working traffic lights, and saw broken rides and damage on Surf Avenue, which was flooded with waterthat reached a depth of at least four feet.
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Governor Andrew Cuomo has repeatedly hinted at climate change’s culpability for the frequency and severity of the weather striking New York State in recent years. However, Mr. Cuomo been getting more direct in the claim, stating earlier today, “I think part of learning from this is the recognition that climate change is reality.” And, asked about the topic at his own press conference following Mr. Cuomo’s, Mayor Michael Bloomberg also appeared to cautiously assign blame on global warming while urging proactive steps to address the issue.
“Look, there have been very strange weather patterns, very severe storms where they normally have not occurred. That much is recorded, you can look at the film, okay?” Mr. Bloomberg began. “Whether or not it is part of a long-term climate change or just a random collection of events, only time will tell. The argument that we’re damaging our planet is simply, ‘Let’s assume that we decide that we’re not damaging our planet and find out later on that we were, it literally could be too late!’ I think if you go and you talk to farmers who have lost all their crops because there have been droughts, or places where you’ve had tornadoes or hurricanes or the families of those who have lost here, they would say, ‘Hey, there’s something going on.’”