New York City mayor Bill de Blasio (D) was clear: do not come to Times Square for New Year's Eve. Watch it at home on television. In case anyone missed the point, the city erected barricades to keep pedestrians away. The only people who would be allowed downtown would be the performers for the show, along with a few dozen carefully screened front-line workers.
Of course, these rules, which were promulgated by the mayor's office, apparently did not apply to the mayor himself, whose office actually tweeted out pictures of the mayor dancing with his wife in Times Square, which was eerily deserted due to the mayor's edict.
Happy #NewYear from the greatest city in the world. https://t.co/47CmOAanxD— NYC Mayor's Office (@NYC Mayor's Office)1609483536.0
The tweet and accompanying video sparked widespread condemnation on social media, where thousands of angry commenters lambasted the mayor for being the latest in a long line of politicians who visibly flaunted the COVID-19 rules that were imposed on the rest of the population.
Fox News meteorologist Janice Dean, who has fiercely criticized New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's handling of the pandemic, typified many of the responses, tweeting, "Celebrations in Times Square for me, but not for thee!"
Celebrations in Times Square for me, but not for thee! https://t.co/IT2yUzMA09— Janice Dean (@Janice Dean)1609514593.0
Others noted the jarring incongruity of de Blasio's public pronouncements about the current state of the pandemic in New York with his open celebration:
@NYCMayorsOffice I've always heard that while the Titanic was sinking the band played on. I guess I thought that wa… https://t.co/J2lrwEsWdb— NeoUnrealist (@NeoUnrealist)1609503581.0
The spectacle was even too much for liberal network CNN, where visibly intoxicated host Andy Cohen reacted to shots of de Blasio dancing by exclaiming, "Do something with this city! Honestly, get it together!"
Co-host Anderson Cooper helpfully added, "God. Goodness."
New York's eerily deserted Times Square was one of dozens of such scenes repeated across the globe Thursday night, with the noted exception of Wuhan, China, where the Chinese government allowed thousands to party in the streets in a transparent attempt to reinforce their false propaganda message that they have handled the pandemic better than western democracies.