Mayor Mike Bloomberg lobs one-liners at media party

Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Photos by Elton Lugay

By Elton Lugay

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced on December 6th that evening would be his last holiday party for the media, his last time to “curry favor with the press.” Not unless, he quickly quipped, there is a “C4.”

With a sardonic smile, the 108th mayor of New York cracked joke after joke at the press party — held at Bayard’s Events & Catering in Lower Manhattan — mock-grousing that wining and dining journalists has never worked. “I don’t know why we try.” Next time, he said, “No more booze, no more food until we see good stories in advance.”

Turning serious, he called on his guests to patronize businesses in Lower Manhattan that were badly damaged by Superstorm Sandy.

“If you really want to do something for the city and something for yourself, patronize some of the stores and restaurants downtown because they have great service and because they really care,” he said, “They got great food and great products.”

For that reason, Bayard’s on One Hanover Square – instead of Gracie Mansion — became the venue for this year’s open bar gathering. Bayard’s sustained heavy flooding during the storm and was temporarily closed in the aftermath of the hurricane. It is just now getting back on its feet.

Avoiding the usual gift exchange tradition and toning down on the festive atmosphere, Bloomberg encouraged people to give to the Mayor’s Fund for Sandy Relief and help the people celebrate the holidays.

“It’s a tough month and no doubt a rough season for many families,” he said. “People lost an awful lot of their belongings and memories and those of us right in the coastline don’t understand what it must be like to take cold showers for a few months at a time or to have a lot of your history be taken away from you.”

Donations collected at the party will be dispersed to recovery efforts and organizations, he said.

As for his political future, he joked that any announcement related to C4 – a type of bomb, also a disguised reference to a possible fourth term, which is unlikely – “is not going to be (done) here tonight.” Bloomberg is winding down his third term next year. The City Council extended his term limits to three consecutive four-year terms.

“I’m gonna talk to the Clintons,” came his punchline, provoking peals of laughter across the room. Some journalists stared at one another wondering what the mayor meant, the remark a staple for discussion reduced to whispers.

A party for journalists covering City Hall.

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