“Are you from OEM? Or FEMA?”
“No, we’re from Brooklyn.”
That was the exchange when, after nearly six hours, the volunteer group I spent Sunday with finally managed to deliver supplies— flashlights, blankets, winter jackets, baby supplies, and pet food—to Staten Islanders who’d been rocked by Hurricane Sandy.
On television, New York City is resiliently recovering from Sandy—Billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg even fought hard against canceling the ING marathon, giving in only when its sponsors caved. The mayor has maximized his television time with frequent updates in carefully staged settings, with members of the Obama administration standing behind him and his hypnotic sign-language interpreter Lydia Callis beside him. It's a swell sales job, part of his business-friendly, socially-liberal, post-partisan persona, that (with the help of his vast media empire), has helped him maintain his national reputation even as New Yorkers have soured on him.
But his one unscripted moment was far more telling: an unannounced trip to the devastated Rockaways on Saturday that happened to be caught by a camera crew with local news stations NY1. A local woman, part of a furious crowd of people who felt abandoned by the city, was held back by the mayor’s security detail, as she yelled at him: “Where’s the help? Where’s the fucking help?
You really need to be prepared on your own.