Storm-ravaged and weary Rockaways residents cornered Mayor Bloomberg yesterday to angrily demand more aid for their devastated neighborhood.
“When are we gonna get some help?” blasted one desperate woman, who had to be held back by the mayor’s security detail as Bloomberg stood by with a deer-in-the-headlights look.
“When are we gonna get some f*****g help?” she demanded.
“There’s old ladies in my building that don’t got nothing,” lashed out a man on video caught by a NY1 reporting crew.
Bloomberg’s trip to the Rockaways wasn’t announced and wouldn’t have been caught on cameras if the news crew hadn’t happened to run across him. Back in City Hall, he expressed sympathy with the residents’ plight.
“I spoke to many people who were worried, frustrated and cold,” Bloomberg said. “There’s no power there and temperatures are dropping. Even those who have generators are having a hard time getting fuel.”
The Rockaways’ situation is among the most dire of any of the city’s seaside neighborhoods.
Hundreds of residents continued yesterday to dig out of the wreckage of their wiped-out homes – if they still had homes; 80 in the Breezy Point area were destroyed by fire.
Garbage and debris were everywhere, and the smithereens of the boardwalk were washed far inland.
Cops yesterday uncovered the body of 90-year-old George Stathis, who was found dead in his home on Beach 121st Street.
There was mud on streets where lights weren’t working, sand dunes in front of homes and piles of rubble all over.
“I knew it was going to be real bad, but I never expected this devastation,” said resident Ned Morgan, whose basement flooded up to 6 feet, destroying furniture, family pictures and electronics.
“They’re looting cars all over the place,” Morgan said. “This is New York City. They have to help us.”
Some Rockaways residents who work as firefighters in The Bronx and Manhattan were fuming yesterday – sitting idly in their firehouses while their neighbors and family members miles away struggled to get help.
“We’re all going crazy,” said one firefighter, who asked his name not be used for fear of retribution. “They’re not deploying any extra resources, and we’re just sitting around.”
Bloomberg later told reporters dropping temperatures are “dangerous” and the city is sending 25,000 blankets to the Rockaways, where it could be another two weeks before power is restored.
“Just have some patience,” the mayor pleaded. “The people working there – the National Guard, the federal people – they’re all trying to do the right thing.”
Bloomberg also blasted the Long Island Power Authority, which powers the Rockaways, for not acting “aggressively enough.”
Yesterday, an astonishing 25,562 LIPA customers were still without power in the neighborhood – 75 percent of the total.
“You’ve got to understand people’s frustration,” the mayor said. “They’re cold, they’re tired, they lost a lot. Sometimes we all get a little bit overanxious, if you will.”
The National Guard has been stationed in the neighborhood, handing out food. NYPD cops were stationed on street corners.
Still, Councilman James Sanders said the city’s response has fallen short.
“They are helping to serve food, but no one is directing traffic,” Sanders said.
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio added, “We have never seen anything like this in our lives. It’s a kind of destruction you think happens in other parts of the world but not here. This is definitely one of the hardest hit areas in the whole city. It’s like civilization has come undone.”
Source: The NY Post