Dear Mayor Bloomberg,
It is 5:00 p.m., Sunday afternoon. A week after you told us to evacuate Far Rockaway.
Ah, yes, remember us? We are the people of Far Rockaway. It seems that we have been utterly forgotten. We heard with sadness that you told us that, in reality, the issues we are facing are “not that big a deal.” No, we guess that they really are not that big a deal to you. But to us they are a great big deal, and they are getting progressively worse by the day. Make that by the hour.
We have no heat. No place to go. There is debris all over our homes and all over our streets. And there is no sign of city help. Not a wisp.
The lack of heat has made me, my wife, and my nine children at home sick. Some have colds. Some have sore throats. Three of us have bronchitis now.
Nor has Far Rockaway come up in the papers, unless, of course, it is that quote of yours to “bundle up; it’s not that cold.” I do not know what liquid it is that runs through your veins, but we have been bundling up. And it is quite cold. Tonight it will be 29 degrees. Last night it was 31 degrees. These little numbers matter, because my little girl complains a bit more the colder it gets.
We have no electricity, and neither you, nor LIPA, nor any city agency has even bothered to communicate with us as to how long things will take to repair.
You have this 311 number for tenants to complain about landlords that don’t give enough heat, but when the matter lies with you, you say, “Bundle up.”
We have no phone service. No cell service. No Internet service. And no mail service.
We have run out of money. I was expecting some money in the mail. But there is no mail. When there is no mail, there is no money. I ran into the secretary from one of the places where I do some work. She cannot issue a payroll, because all the accounts-receivable moneys are in the mail. And so, I cannot get a check from the office either.
We have devastation all around us. Those in their homes have taken out the wet, moldy items in their basements and first floors and left them on the streets. It looks like a garage sale. Thousands of garage sales.
We have run out of clothing. We have no way to do our laundry. Well, actually we did laundry once, when we had gasoline in the car. But now there is no gasoline. Some people in the neighborhood have gone away for the weekend. Some decided to take just one car. When you leave here, there is a chance that your house will be robbed and that whatever gas you had in the car will be siphoned out.
The police are nowhere to be found. There are no patrols here. They are apparently on emergency services only. And there have been robberies. My friend’s son received a gift recently for his birthday, an Xbox. It was stolen. They need a window repairperson, but that is hard to come by. They taped it up with a cardboard box. Another friend’s home was broken into, and his wife’s home business is now no longer operational because of what was stolen.
We have all sorts of visitors in our neighborhood, looking to see who has left. Some people are leaving candles all over their houses so that the premises will look occupied.
Mayor Bloomberg, where are you? Why are you not arranging to pump gasoline from tanker trucks with police around? Why are you not telling us when we will have power? An industrious mayor like you should have had such a website up already, with dates as to when the power will be back on.
Why have you not made laundry centers? Why are there no buses in Far Rockaway to take people to laundry, food, and other such things?
Mayor Bloomberg, why have you not assisted the cell-phone companies in allowing us here to communicate with the outside world? Why have you not arranged for generators for them?
And why have you not helped the mail come? I could use some of that money now that lies hidden in a pile who knows where.
Mayor Bloomberg, we just read that you have given $20 million of your own money to promote gay marriage in other cities. That is very nice, but what about food and heat for the citizens of your own city?
Why have you allowed once proud, self-sufficient families to be left with nothing?
I ran out of my diabetes medicine, and the pharmacy that holds my prescription is closed. I guess I can get by without my medicine; it is only diabetes. And maybe that explains my anger at you now. Since I can’t get my diabetes medicine, I am shouting louder than others who do not share my illness.
Dear Mayor, how can you sleep at night, knowing that so many of your citizens are freezing, are sick, because of your lack of empathy and action?
I must say, I regret the day that I voted for you. I feel stabbed in the back. I remember reading about something in California called a recall election. I would like to do that here. (I guess you are lucky, because right now I have no Internet access.)
But I cannot do this, because right now my family is my first priority. I cannot work on recalling you because I need to make sure that my kids don’t get sicker. I need to worry about disease from no laundry, from no food. I need to worry now, for the first time, about literally putting bread on the table.
Oh, and in case you were wondering—no, I am not a Democrat. I am voting for Mitt Romney. But for the next New York City mayor? Anyone but you. And if there is a recall election, I would whole-heartedly participate. If I had the power, I would shout from the rooftops that we need to recall you. You have failed us, utterly and completely. Just as you have utterly and completely forgotten about us.
A Far Rockaway Resident