Mayor Bloomberg warned about Hurricane Irene in Spanish

Mayor Bloomberg warned about Hurricane Irene in Spanish
New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg

As a newcomer to New York City it was interesting for me to observe the city's response to Hurricane Irene.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg had multiple press conferences before, during and after the storm and was very accessible to the media.

One thing that impressed me was that he also made brief statements to the public in Spanish.

"Por favor ya no salga a las calles quedanse a sus casas o en los refugios," Bloomberg said in Spanish as the hurricane drew near.

He told the Spanish-speaking public "don't go out to the streets, stay in your homes or in the shelters."

Now his accent isn't the best but at least he made an effort.

Also on the Office of the Mayor's Web page you can find press releases about Hurricane Irene in Spanish.

It makes sense that Mayor Bloomberg, who also supports immigration reform, would make brief remarks in Spanish considering the Latino population of New York City is 27 percent.

Chicago (my hometown)  is more than 25 percent Latino but I can't recall former Mayor Richard Daley making statements in Spanish, not even during the snowpocalypse in winter 2011 when more than 20 inches of snow fell paralyzing the city.

Now that it's Monday and the sun is shining on the city some residents are complaining that the government overreacted by shutting down the subways and buses and evacuating certain regions closest to the water.

From an outsider's point of view, I think the city response was spot on. Hurricane Irene spared New York City but many other parts of the state and nearby states like Vermont and New Jersey suffered serious damage. And there was loss of life in other states. It was a killer hurricane but it spared this city.

It's important that residents were informed and prepared, and it's reassuring to know that New York City officials made a major effort to get out that message in English and en español.

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