The politics of NYC’s snow day

Mayor Bill de Blasio got cheers from kids and parents alike Wednesday evening, when he made the call to close schools Thursday. 

It was early – around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. That gave parents time to make arrangements, and allowed teachers, who often commute to NYC from the suburbs, to breathe a sigh of relief.  It avoided the scramble that’s happened when school closings aren’t announced until the early morning hours, and it avoided the grumbling and anger that de Blasio has faced several times before when he’s kept schools open.

You would think it’s an election year or something!

Oh wait – it is.

De Blasio has had an uneasy relationship with the snow.  Just a few days after he took office, he closed schools, announcing it in the morning – and just six inches fell. A month later, he was universally vilified for keeping schools open when more than a foot of snow fell, on a day schools Chancellor Carmen Farina famously called “a beautiful day out there.”  Similar controversial decisions happened in 2015 and 2016.

This time, he gave everyone time to prepare – and he made the right call. 

But he got lucky, of course. If the snow hadn’t come, de Blasio would’ve been blasted for that. The only ones who would’ve been happy in that scenario would’ve been the kids – and they don’t vote.