New York City mayor Bill de Blasio was caught walking almost 11 miles from his home in Manhattan at the weekend, whilst encouraging New Yorkers to snitch on neighbours not adhering to stay-at-home measures.
De Blasio was seen strolling through Prospect Park in Brooklyn with his wife, Chirlane McCray, on Saturday afternoon.
That came days after de Blasio closed a new coronavirus hotline that encouraged residents to ‘snitch’ on their neighbours over social distancing when New Yorkers instead sent prank messages to the service.
“Seriously, you guys have a park. You live in a park,” said New Yorker Darren Goldner who confronted the mayor on Saturday.
“You don’t need to non-essentially travel to Brooklyn. Come on you won’t even open roads for people of all backgrounds. I’m not going to give it a break. This is selfish behaviour,” said Goldner.
In a video, de Blasio is seen waving dismissively at Goldner, who continued to berate the mayor for travelling 11 miles from his Upper East Side residence to Brooklyn in an SUV.
Meanwhile, the designated home of New York City mayors, Gracie Mansion, is inside Carl Schurz Park.
“This is so terribly selfish. You call yourself a progressive but you chauffeur yourself to Brooklyn, you force people to drive you. This is ridiculous. This is the epitome of nonessential travel,” added Goldner.
De Blasio had previously dismissed calls from campaigners to open-up New York City streets to pedestrians during the lockdown, and appeared to abandon pilot schemes that provided street space in each borough to walkers.
Whilst still warning people to stay-at-home, de Blasio announced on Monday that “a minimum of 40 miles of open streets” will soon become available to pedestrians.
The mayor added that up to 100 miles of street space could become available to New Yorkers throughout the pandemic.
In response, 'eco-socialist' campaigners claimed on Twitter that the confrontation between de Blasio and Goldner on Saturday had led to the street openings.
"On Saturday, comrade @brooklyn_darren confronted @NYCMayor on the hypocrisy of driving to Prospect Park while everyday New Yorkers are forced to pack onto the sidewalk," said a New York City Democrat Socialist group. "On Monday, de Blasio committed to opening up 100 miles of streets for pedestrian use. Confrontation works."
New York state remains the centre of the US coronavirus crisis, with 291,996 confirmed cases and 22,668 deaths from the virus on Tuesday.
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