New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio exits a news conference with Department of Sanitation workers in New York.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio exits a news conference with Department of Sanitation workers in preparation for a blizzard in New York City, Jan. 26, 2015.  Yana Paskova—The New York Times/Redux

Blame De Blasio and Cuomo and Christie for the Blizzard Snow Job

Jan 27, 2015
Ideas
Karol Markowicz is a writer in New York City. She has worked on GOP campaigns in four states.

Every modern event has a hashtag and this morning, as New York City takes stock of the #snowmageddon2015 that wasn’t, it’s turning to #snowperbole.

On Monday, as Governor Cuomo, Governor Christie, and Mayor de Blasio rushed to out-serious each other, New Yorkers were whipped into a fear frenzy. Supermarket shelves were stripped bare, photos of Whole Foods depleted of kale circulated, and people stocked up for what would likely be days (maybe weeks!) indoors.

Even as we were doing it, we acknowledged it didn’t make much sense. After all, we’re in New York City. Bodegas never close. Delivery guys on bicycles have been a constant through all previous winter storms. All New Yorkers have their stories. That time we ordered Chinese Food during the snowstorm of 1994. Swimming on Brighton Beach during Hurricane Gloria. Buying Poptarts at the corner bodega during Sandy. Driving from Manhattan to Brooklyn and back again during the blackout of 2003. Yes, those are all mine.

Blizzard 2015: How New Yorkers and New Englanders Shared Photos

Marissa McClain posted this photo from Brookline, Mass. saying "Ventured outside. Found this man skiing down summit."Marissa McClain (@marissamcclain) via Instagram
Marissa McClain posted this photo from Brookline, Mass. saying "Ventured outside. Found this man skiing down summit."
Marissa McClain (@marissamcclain) via Instagram
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As we waited for the storm deemed “historic,” the only real history was made when the subway shut down for the first time ever in preparation for snow. The real insult came when it was reported later that the trains were indeed still running, empty, as trains needed to keep moving to clear the tracks. Citibike was shut down. Cars were banned from the roads and anyone who didn’t take heed risked being fined.

These are all symptoms of our infantilizing “do something!” culture. Everyone understands the pressure politicians feel to be seen as proactive. But this time they went way too far in the name of protecting us. It’s one thing to warn drivers that conditions are dangerous and that they go out at their own risk. It’s another to shut down all roads in the city that allegedly never sleeps.

The 11 p.m. curfew resulted in lost wages for delivery people who count on larger-than-usual tips during inclement weather. Why couldn’t they make their own decisions about working during the snow? Not everyone makes a salary the way our mayor and governor do. Many workers count on their hourly wage, and their tips, to make their rent each month.

The storm was a dud, but even if had been as severe as predicted, bringing a city like New York to a preemptive standstill makes little sense. The people who keep New York humming take the subway after 11pm and can decide for themselves whether to keep their businesses open. Preparedness doesn’t have to mean panic.

East Coast Readies Itself for Up to 3 Feet of Snow

Snow Blizzard New York City
A couple kisses during a blizzard in Times Square in New York City on Jan. 26, 2015.Benjamin Lowy—Getty Images Reportage for TIME
Snow Blizzard New York City
People walk in front of the Manhattan Bridge in the DUMBO neighborhood as it snows in Brooklyn, NY on Jan. 26, 2015Photograph by Andrew Hinderaker
Times Square Snow Storm New York City
A man waits to cross the street in Brooklyn, NY on Jan. 26, 2015Photograph by Andrew Hinderaker
Winter Weather Pennsylvania
APTOPIX Winter Weather
A worker pushes a snow blower down Lexington Avenue near Grand Central Terminal as it snows in the Manhattan borough of New York
A man stands in falling snow on West 42nd street in Times Square in New York
Snow Blizzard New York City
APTOPIX Winter Weather
US-WEATHER-STORM
Winter Storm in New York
Snow Storm Winter Weather Juno
Children play in Central Park as it snows in the Manhattan borough of New York
Snow Storm Winter Weather Juno
Snow Storm Winter Weather Juno
Snow Storm Winter Weather Juno
Snow Blizzard New York City
A couple kisses during a blizzard in Times Square in New York City on Jan. 26, 2015.
Benjamin Lowy—Getty Images Reportage for TIME
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