New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was booed during a Saint Patrick’s Day parade on Saturday as he toured a Queens neighborhood that was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy in October.
According to the New York Daily News, Bloomberg was participating in an early St. Patrick’s Day Parade through the Rockaways, located on a somewhat isolated peninsula in south Queens. The Rockaways were devastated by Hurricane Sandy and have had difficulty recovering.
Many residents felt that Bloomberg was too concerned with restoring normal life in Manhattan after the storm, stating that he had essentially abandoned their neighborhood.
“I booed loudly,” Margaret Wagner told the Daily News. “We had no food, no shelter. People died here, and Bloomberg was on TV talking about a marathon. It’s appalling.”
Wagner wasn’t the only one to boo the mayor during his appearance at the event. The parade was met with scores of locals holding signs and protesting, with many voicing the opinion that Bloomberg was simply appearing in the Rockaways for public relations after being largely unconcerned with the neighborhood.
“We’ve been dying down here, up to our ears in muck trying to rebuild, get back to a regular life,” an unnamed heckler told the New York Post. “For the politicians to come down here and try to take our celebration and make it their thing . . . it’s disgusting.”
Still, Bloomberg attempted to keep a friendly tone and express his thanks to the sanitation workers, firefighters, and police officers who maintained order in the Rockaways throughout Hurricane Sandy.
“I don’t think there’s anybody who could have ever done the job that you guys did,” Bloomberg said before leaving the scene.
Rockaways residents were angry at other politicians who appeared as well. The Post reports that Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., was also booed, as was likely mayoral candidate and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.