As if to confirm the cliché that New Yorkers love nothing better to do than to complain, JetBlue's flyby of the five boroughs has created a backlash, which, to say the least, has been negative. No less a figure than Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter to put JetBlue on blast with this message about the event:
Nothing like a corporate PR campaign that burns jet fuel at low altitudes over vulnerable communities dying from a respiratory virus that compounds on our preexisting and disproportionate exposure to air pollution to show healthcare workers we care https://t.co/xyCr3tojgn— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 7, 2020
Other reactions noted that the flyover evoked the World Trade Center attacks on September 11, 2001 (an analogy that certainly wasn't helped by the fact that JetBlue decided on a low-altitude flight path that took their planes south over the Hudson River):
First Responders in New York City: "I hope to god I never see anything like 9/11 again"— Comfortably Smug (@ComfortablySmug) May 7, 2020
JetBlue: "Guys, I have an idea. You know what first responders in New York City would think is cool?"
And then there were reactions like this:
frivolous, tonedeaf, and savagely useless gestures.— J. Longo (@JLongoArt) May 7, 2020
Following in the same vein as last week's aerial spectacular by the Navy Blue Angels and U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, the JetBlue flyby was meant to pay tribute to NYC's doctors, nurses and first responders, and was scheduled to coincide with the nightly 7pm "clap for essential workers." Three of the airline’s Airbus A320s were involved: Two were respectively painted in the colors of the FDNY (red) and NYPD (blue) with a third wrapped in the I heart NY logo.
This isn't the first time that a civic salute to frontline workers received blow-back: When the Empire State Building lit its crown like a red siren, people freaked the fuck out. Well, that's New York for you: It's always something.
Meanwhile, if you'd like to get JetBlue's side of the story, check out their stirring video of the event below.
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