As New York City commences its fifth consecutive day without power, residents are starting to get angry, and hungry.
Emergency services have been focusing on lower Manhattan for the most part, the heart of the city, and through which the subway lines all intersect, making travel between the five buroughs possible. However, in the outskirt areas, notably the Rockaways, which lie at the edge of Queens and the city at large, near JFK Airport, hurricane relief workers and utility companies have been largely no-shows as food runs out and looters begin taking to the streets.
What was billed as a chance for President Obama to look presidential is starting to backfire. Five days into the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, with the death toll rising, FEMA has not been able to adequately meet the needs of New Yorkers, and people who praised Obama early in the game are starting to change their opinions.
While posing for another FEMA photo-op today, the president dodged a question lobbed by reporters from the press pool regarding the frustrations of New Yorkers who are still without power, and now facing food shortages and freezing temperatures at night.
In the Rockaways, the area which arguably received the most crushing damage in New York City, losing entire neighborhoods to fire and subway damage that will likely put them out of train service for a month or longer, anger is running high.
Rockaway residents, a mixed crowd of hipsters, surfers, elderly, and housing projects, complain that the Long Island Power Authority (not ConEdison, the main supplier of New York City power) who is responsible for power in that area, has largely ignored them in favor of wealthier areas on Long Island. Likewise, with no Red Cross, NYC or FEMA workers in site, the residents can't help but feel abandoned, many of them taking matters into their own hands.
Looters run rampant, posing as utility workers, complete with uniforms, checking in on residents at midnight or later, and robbing them. Outside the Rockaways, a similar situation is playing out at Coney Island, where residents are arming themselves with whatever they can find.
They may have to wait a bit longer for help. FEMA has run out of water and won't be making another delivery until Monday, according to the latest reports. Suddenly the stockpiles of water and food assembled by Mitt Romney in Ohio, an object of derision by the left, is starting to look pretty useful.
As Obama begins to look less like a concerned public servant, and more like a politician not letting this crisis "go to waste," Mitt Romney's word's about relying on the federal government as little as possible is starting to resonate.