De Blasio's proposed parade feels like a sick joke
On Tuesday night, I called to check in on my friends in San Francisco. One is a lawyer; his grandfather died last week. His partner is a doctor on the front lines of COVID-19. In short, they've been through it. I asked the doctor, "How is work?"
"Thank God we're not New York City," he said. The words hit like a ton of bricks.
Though I moved to the suburbs a few years ago, New York City was my home for 14 years. It's the longest I've ever lived anywhere. I am a Mets fan, a subway rider, a Fairway shopper, a Daily News reader. I lived through the 2000 Subway Series, the 2003 blackout, the 2007 bed bug outbreak, the 2008 recession and, of course, the attacks on the World Trade Center. On the morning of 9/11, I walked to my Times Square office to see the first plane hit the Twin Towers on the Jumbotron. I not only lost friends that day, I lost a piece of myself.
Through it all, I was a proud New Yorker, and still consider myself one. But now, the city is the subject of derision and pity as it struggles to manage and contain coronavirus cases -- 142,432 as of this writing -- and nearly 11,000 confirmed deaths. It's the most anywhere in the country; New York City accounts for 17% of U.S. cases, and 30% of U.S. deaths. For a city used to superlatives, it is a grim one.
Cases and deaths have begun to drop in New York, a very good thing. But the dangers are far from over.
Yet for some reason, the city's mayor is daydreaming aloud about the next large gathering he can take credit for: a parade for health care workers.
On Tuesday, he tweeted, "I can't tell you when we'll be able to host cultural events and parades again. But I can tell you WHO our first parade will be for: When the time is right, New York City will honor our health care workers and first responders with a ticker tape parade up the Canyon of Heroes."
It's a nice thought. Health care workers deserve our adoration and thanks, something New Yorkers acknowledge en masse every night at 7 p.m. when they take to their windows, fire escapes and balconies to clap and cheer.
But more than thanks, they deserved to be better prepared than they were for this pandemic. And Bill de Blasio shares responsibility for those failures.
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