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Only thing that's on my mind
October 18, 2012 3:21 PM   Subscribe

Who is going to run this town tonight?

In the chorus of Jay-Z's song "Run This Town," Rihanna asks the (rhetorical) question: "who's gonna run this town tonight"?

Of course, i know Hova intends that we assume he is going to run this town, but I was listening and got to thinking: who really is going to run this town tonight? Obviously I know New York City has a mayor and a City Council, but let's assume it's 3AM and the day-to-day things need to get done in New York. Who's de facto in charge? What happens if there's a mild emergency? If a thing needs to happen quickly, who makes it happen? How does the city that never sleeps get its business done between sunset and sunrise?
posted by eustacescrubb to Law & Government (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
First responders. They take care of things while they wake up the power structure.
posted by Sunburnt at 3:25 PM on October 18, 2012


(Not to babysit, but I'm really hoping for detail, or links with details, maybe first-hand accounts, or documents describing how things work, laws, that sort of thing.)
posted by eustacescrubb at 3:28 PM on October 18, 2012


The mayor's in charge, just like at noon. De facto -- but that doesn't mean he directs, or even hears about, every emergency.
Officials on 2nd and 3rd shifts do their various jobs. You can't get a vendor license at 3 am, but you can get a response from utility, fire, police, and any other emergency functions.
And just like at noon, these officials escalate up the ladders as circumstances require. A cat in a tree, a broken water main ... these don't reach the mayor even at noon.
posted by LonnieK at 4:27 PM on October 18, 2012


Every one of the city's agencies (here's a list of them) probably has a protocol for handling emergencies and escalating crises to higher levels of leadership.

Here's two descriptions of the archtypical escalation procedure: the multiple alarm fire: 1. 2.

Is that the kind of thing you're looking for?
posted by hhc5 at 5:09 PM on October 18, 2012


>And just like at noon, these officials escalate up the ladders as circumstances require. A cat in a tree, a broken water main ... these don't reach the mayor even at noon.

This understates things dramatically. Armed robberies, rapes, explosions, murders - none of these will come to the mayor's notice. But he will hear about, say, the arrest of a person who tries to detonate a truckload of ammonium nitrate.
posted by yclipse at 8:17 PM on October 18, 2012


Here's a really good example (and not likely to be forgotten for many years by those affected). Whole editorial's worth a read, but here's a key excerpt:
The City Charter says that when the mayor leaves the city’s five boroughs, he can turn the job over to the public advocate, currently Bill de Blasio, (which will never happen) or designate a deputy to take charge. The mayor has designated Deputy Mayor Patricia Harris, and if she is not in town, the job goes to another deputy mayor, Stephen Goldsmith.

When the blizzard hit in December, Mr. Goldsmith was in Washington, and it was unclear where Ms. Harris was. As the storm bore down, nobody seemed to have the authority or the willingness to declare a snow emergency, when that obviously was needed to stop people from clogging the streets with private cars.
(Aside: De Blasio is a Democrat, so that's why Bloomberg would never have turned the city over to him.)
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 11:55 PM on October 18, 2012


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