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Blackout Lays Bare Lame Duck de Blasio

The race for who will be New York’s 110th mayor is already beginning to solidify

The blackout that hit Manhattan late Shabbos afternoon on July 13 came suddently. Lights flickered and went out; air conditioners sputtered as if in apology and bated their cooling breath; electrical appliances ground to a stop. Midtown was at a standstill. Nearly 100,000 people had no power.

At first, New York grit kicked in. Residents poured onto the streets, passersby directed traffic. A bride and groom getting married continued their wedding procession outside. A group of young musicians gave an impromptu outdoor concert. All in all, there was not a single accident due to the outage.

But quickly, attention turned to the top of the city’s power pyramid. Where was the mayor?

A glance at Bill de Blasio’s Twitter account revealed he was reveling in Iowa, pushing his long-shot campaign to be the 46th president of the United States. In the nearly full day that passed before he found his way back to New York, other politicians rushed to fill the vacuum. Gov. Andrew Cuomo choppered over to the Con Edison station for a news conference. Council Speaker Corey Johnson posted updates to his Twitter feed on progress in getting the lights back on

Smelling blood in the water, a few candidates seeking to succeed the term-limited de Blasio in 2021 attacked the mayor. The city’s comptroller, Scott Stringer, issued reports criticizing the city’s handling of emergencies large and small. Eric Adams, Brooklyn’s borough president, and his Bronx counterpart, Ruben Diaz Jr., visibly distanced themselves from de Blasio. Corey Johnson, the council speaker, ribbed the mayor for his absence last week. The race for who will be New York’s 110th mayor is already beginning to solidify.

(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 770)

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