New York’s mayor angered residents of his struggling city by having ‘too much fun’ this week, as they fought to rebuild their lives devastated by the COVID pandemic and rattled by rising crime.
Bill de Blasio’s spokesman, Bill Neidhardt, tweeted a series of photos on Friday showing the mayor’s excursions.
On Tuesday he was at the relaunch of the Brooklyn Academy of Music, where ice skaters were dancing for the first spectacular of the newly-opened facility.
On Wednesday, he was at the Lincoln Center for their reopening, and on Thursday he visited the set of TV series Nora From Queens, taking selfies with Awkwafina.
Friday saw the mayor, who after two terms cannot run for re-election in November, enjoying the rides at the newly-opened Coney Island theme park.
Bill de Blasio was at Coney Island on Friday at the end of a week of ‘too much fun’
‘@NYCMayor is having too much fun this week,’ tweeted Neiderhardt.
Criticism of his ‘fun week’ was swift to arrive.
‘So glad he is,’ said one Twitter user.
‘While crime is off the charts !! Tourist being shot walking to their motel in Times Square ! Gangs beating up people in the streets !!! So I’am Glad he’s having FUN !!! While the rest of the CITY LIVES IN FEAR !!!’
Another added: ‘What about getting our kids in school 5 days a week???’
Responding to the photo of de Blasio on the rollercoaster at Coney Island, one replied: ‘Nice photo op… now can you do something about the rising crime in the city??? I’m afraid to go to Coney Island, not because of Covid but because of all those loose criminals on the street…’
Emergency Medical Technicians help an elderly homeless man off the street on Monday
NYPD are seen in February on the hunt for a subway stabber, who killed two homeless people
New York’s crime statistics, released by the NYPD, show crime on the rise.
Shootings skyrocketed year-over-year, increasing 77 per cent, and gun arrests jumped 67 per cent from last March.
The rise in violent crime in the city was driven by a 36 per cent increase in murders and a 35 per cent increase in auto thefts.
Crime appears to be increasing in New York City as more and more people exit various stages of lockdown from the coronavirus pandemic.
Overall crime rose 2.4 per cent in March 2021 compared to the same month last year.
Richard Aborn, head of the Citizens Crime Commission, described the crime surge as ‘deeply, deeply concerning.’
The pandemic, meanwhile, has hit businesses and residents hard.
The Partnership for New York City has estimated that a third of small businesses forced to close their doors during the pandemic may never reopen.
Unemployment increased in New York City between December and January, growing from 12 per cent to 12.6 per cent – a significantly worse situation than in the rest of the country, where unemployment is at 6 per cent.
Homelessness in New York City, meanwhile, is at levels not seen since the Great Depression, according to the Coalition for the Homeless.
Neidhardt laughed off the criticism, tweeting: ‘Absolutely loving the replies mad as hell that the Mayor is cheering on NYC’s comeback.
‘Fox Business doing a segment on it.
‘I sincerely apologize, totally forgot that everyone has to be as miserable as you.’
On Friday de Blasio and Senator Chuck Schumer declared New York City open, as Coney Island’s Luna Park and Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park welcomed back guests for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic.
The Senate Majority Leader and de Blasio were on hand for the traditional ‘Blessing of the Rides’ ceremony in front of the Wonder Wheel.
‘Coney Island is one of the national symbols of New York and, when it opens, the world knows New York is coming back,’ Schumer said, raising a fist in the air.
‘The opening of Coney Island Island is a metaphor of New York City. We are getting back in business.
‘And just like we had a rollercoaster of a year, now all New Yorkers are eager to get back to business…and have some safe, socially distanced fun.
The senator all promised that all New Yorkers will be able to line up’ to get the COVID-19 vaccine in the next three weeks – although it is unclear how a statewide walk-up process would work.
SCROLL DOWN FOR VIDEO
Senator Chuck Schumer spoke during the opening ceremony on Friday of Coney Island’s amusement parks (above) and declared that New York City is now ‘back in business’
Schumer (pictured) also announced that within two to three weeks, there will be enough COVID-19 vaccines for all New Yorkers to line up’ to get the shot
Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the end of the ceremony (pictured) and echoed Schumer’s comments about how the opening of the amusement park was s sign of the city rebounding
De Blasio was pictured riding alone in the front seat of the famous rollercoaster, Cyclone, on opening day
In New York, seven million people have received at least one dose, 3.1 million of which are in New York City (above)
Currently, in New York, seven million people, or 35.1 percent of the population has received at least one dose and 4.4 million, 22.3 percent, are fully vaccinated.
Of those, 3.1 million of the partially immunized and 1.9 million of the fully immunized reside in New York City.
About 11 million doses have been delivered to the state with another few hundred thousand doses set to arrive each week.
Schumer said this will be enough to vaccinate every New Yorker without scheduling an appointment.
‘With the vaccine, we can open up quicker, sooner, safe and better,’ he said.
‘Within about two weeks, three weeks, there’ll be enough vaccine so everyone can just line, everyone over 16 can line up, get that vaccine and then be safe.’
There are currently walk-up appointments available in New York City, but only at certain sites and only for those aged 75 and older.
De Blasio spoke at the end of the ceremony and echoed Schumer’s comments about how the opening of the amusement park was s sign of the city rebounding.
‘This is one of the best days of the year. Coney island comes back, the rides come back, and now New York City comes back,’ he said.
‘You can feel it.’
Frontline workers got the first rides on the Wonder Wheel, which turned 100 last year. Pictured: Coney Island workers speak in front of the Wonder Wheel
Frontline workers got the first rides on the Wonder Wheel, which turned 100 years old last year.
It was closed for the centennial, but Dennis Vourderis, a member of the family that owns Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, was only looking forward.
‘It’s a great honor for us to be able to bring some joy into the life of many New Yorkers…to be able to come in, have fun, smile again, which they haven’t done in a while,’ Vourderis said at the opening ceremony.
The workers and de Blasio were also captured riding roller coasters.
‘it’s a very emotional day. We wanted to spread positivity,’ Alessandro Zamperla, the president of the company that owns Luna Park, said.
‘It’s been very tough, but now is really a day of celebration, a day where we get together and we want to inspire people to come here, to really be able to have fun.’
Healthcare workers and their children ride on Coney Island amusement park rides on Friday during opening day
Luna Park closed in October 2019, at the end of the summer season, has been waiting ever since to welcome back guests.
Anyone who wants to visit will have to make a reservation online, and will have to wear a wristband with their reservation date.
This season, the park will have a reduced capacity of 33 percent on weekends until Memorial Day and then 50 percent capacity seven days a week all summer long.
All guests over age two will be required to wear a mask at all times staff will physically distance people on rides and in eating areas.