“Moments ago, I was on the phone with the White House, President Biden called, offered any assistance, he repeated any assistance that the state of New York needs — I told them, we’ll take him up on that,” said Hochul at a press conference in Queens.
“We’ll be doing on the ground assessments of the damage with the team of teams, our local partners, and making sure we get a true accounting of the loss that he promised that he will guarantee, he said I guarantee you [that] I will approve any declaration you need emergency declaration, so we can get the money flowing to New York to our municipalities to our cities, to our citizens the businesses affected, and certainly to the homeowners.”
Hochul, the newly-sworn in chief executive, pledged to ensure the havoc and loss of life caused by flooding doesn’t occur in the future.
“What happened yesterday –– trains were shut down, people were stranded. The fear that they must have experienced I cannot imagine,” she said. “I don’t want this to happen again.”
“We’re going to do everything we can to make sure we get all of the federal aid that’s needed,” New York Sen. Chuck Schumer said. “We will fight and make New York declared a disaster area.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio — who on Wednesday had made no mention of the storm during a 7:30 p.m. appearance on streaming service Peacock — ascribed partial blame for Wednesday’s devastation on inaccurate weather forecasts.
The deluge, according to de Blasio, “made a mockery” of storm forecasts and the rain that was expected to amount to three to six inches throughout the day “turned into the biggest single hour of rainfall in New York City history with almost no warning.”
“Every attempt of projection, bluntly, is failing us,” he said. “We should assume things are going to be much worse literally in every situation“
“This is the biggest wake-up call we could possibly get,” he added. “We’re going to have to do a lot of things different and quickly.”
The mayor also lamented the loss of life caused by the record-breaking storm that induced mayhem in the Big Apple on Wednesday.
“Unfortunately, the price paid by some New Yorkers was horrible and tragic,” he said. “We have now lost nine New Yorkers to this storm. Nine people who were alive at this exact moment yesterday had no idea that such a horrible fate could befall them.”
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea noted that of the nine people who died, eight were in Queens basement apartments, and one took place due to a car accident on the Grand Central Parkway.
“We pray the number does not go up from there,” Shea said. “Our hearts go out to all the victims.”
Also at the press briefing in Queens was Rep. Gregory Meeks, Borough President Donovan Richards, Councilman I. Daneek Miller, District Attorney Melinda Katz and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and State Sen. John Liu of Queens.
Borough President Eric Adams, the Democratic nominee for mayor, arrived in the middle of the briefing in southeast Queens, and did not speak at it.
Additional reporting by Jason Beeferman