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22 Apr, 2020 19:09

Let them eat… fireworks? Mayor's tone-deaf remarks on 4th of July CELEBRATIONS anger broke & locked-down New Yorkers

Let them eat… fireworks? Mayor's tone-deaf remarks on 4th of July CELEBRATIONS anger broke & locked-down New Yorkers

New York mayor Bill de Blasio has vowed to hold the city's Fourth of July celebrations in a “safe, smart” way, even if the city remains locked down. His constituents, worried about rent and feeding their families, were not amused.

One way or another, we’re going to celebrate the Fourth of July in a very special way in New York City,” de Blasio declared, during a Wednesday press conference, touting the city’s “special” relationship with iconic department store Macy’s, which conducts the massive annual fireworks display traditionally held above the East River between Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.

The mayor hinted lockdowns would still be in effect in July, noting that social distancing measures would have to continue for "quite a while" and that the city might have to "do something different."

Thank God we know that fireworks can be seen by New Yorkers all over the city even just looking out their window. 

The irony of celebrating a holiday centered on American freedom by setting off fireworks in a locked-down city appeared to go over de Blasio's head, however, as he kept digging the rhetorical hole. "This is a day we cannot miss. This is a celebration that has to happen, because it's about our nation. It's about all we stand for as Americans and New Yorkers."

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Addressing concerns about cost, de Blasio insisted that funding one fireworks display – even an extravaganza like the Macy's Fourth of July celebration – was "a pretty limited expense," reiterating that the "sacred day" was worth it.

The mayor's priorities were quickly slammed on social media, with New Yorkers demanding to know what he was doing about rent relief and other economic aid. The city is one of the most expensive places to live in the US, and the economic shutdown – in effect since March – has long since eaten through many people's savings.

Many were mystified by de Blasio's continued failure to take the city's plight seriously.

Others had better ideas about the safest place to set off the fireworks – the most disgruntled ones suggesting the mayor's residence.

And a few wondered how Macy's would actually pull off the display, given it had laid off its employees.

While some US states have begun tentatively setting dates to lift their coronavirus lockdowns, New York City remains the epicenter of the outbreak, with 144,190 confirmed cases and 14,887 deaths as of Wednesday – nearly a third of the total number of American casualties. The state is set to remain locked down through at least mid-May, and Governor Andrew Cuomo announced earlier this week that sparsely-populated upstate regions will reopen before the city does.

With only a three-month eviction moratorium stopping massive numbers of people from being turned out onto the street, the city government has prioritized something else entirely – setting up a tip line for New Yorkers to report their neighbors for breaking social distancing rules.

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