National

Snowstorms lead to fallout in N.Y., N.J.

NEW YORK — With many streets still unplowed, New Yorkers are griping that their billionaire mayor is out of touch and has failed at the basic task of keeping the city running, while New Jersey's governor is taking heat for vacationing at Disney World during the crisis.

The fallout against two politicians who style themselves as take-charge guys is building in the aftermath of the Christmas-weekend blizzard that clobbered the Northeast, with at least one New Jersey newspaper noting Gov. Chris Christie's absence in a column headlined: "Is Sunday's storm Christie's Katrina?"

Across New York, complaints have mounted about unplowed streets, stuck ambulances and outer-borough neighborhoods neglected by the Bloomberg administration.

"When he says New York, he means Manhattan," said Hayden Hunt of Brooklyn, a borough of 2.6 million people where many streets were not cleared for days. "He's the man in charge.... It's foolishness, come on."

Bloomberg, a third-term Republican-turned-independent who is occasionally mentioned as a long-shot presidential candidate, spent the first day after the storm on the defensive, testily dismissing complaints and insisting the cleanup of the 2-foot snowfall was going fine. But he later adopted a more conciliatory tone.

The city sanitation commissioner promised that every last street would be plowed by this morning.

Christie, meanwhile, has not been heard from publicly since he left New Jersey on vacation with his wife and four children. His spokesman, Michael Drewniak, said that the governor — who has also been mentioned as a potential Republican presidential candidate — has been briefed while in Florida, and that the emergency services have functioned well.

"This was definitely a big snow, but we are a Northeastern state, and we get plenty of snow, including heavy hits like this, and we'll get through this just as we always have," Drewniak said.

Meanwhile, New York's transportation system was operating closer and closer to normal. Most subway service knocked out by snowdrifts on elevated tracks resumed. The metropolitan area's three major airports had their busiest day since the blizzard, and more stranded passengers managed to fly home.

But some lashed out. About 100 people surged the Qatar Airways ticket counter at Kennedy Airport after airline representatives tried to persuade them to take a bus to Washington, after days of waiting for flights to take them back to Southeast Asia.

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