Mayor’s Aide: ‘Go see a shrink’ if you like taking the subway

By · Published in 2007

The Mayor uses this car to drive to the subway. Lazy. (Photo: Robert Stolarik for The New York Times)

Oh, The New York Times, what have you started?

This morning, splashed across the front page of The Times – but thankfully, below the fold – appeared this scandalous story. Apparently, Mayor Bloomberg, long known as the billionaire Mayor who rides the subway to work with the common folk, hasn’t been totally honest with us. Much like you and I do, he has his drivers chauffeur him to the nearest (sort of) uncrowded express stop.

Bloomberg boards one of his two woefully fuel-inefficient Chevrolet Suburban SUVs at his house on 79th St. between 5th and Madison Aves. The cars head east on 79th and turn right on Lexington, just seven blocks south of the nearest express stop, where they pass not one but two local stops en route to the 59th St. stop. Personally, I prefer to take my converted Chieftan battle tank limo to the subway each morning, but to each his own.

This story came about after The Times received a tip that Bloomberg’s commute isn’t what it seems. They stuck a summer intern outside of Bloomberg’s apartment and had him shadow the Mayor to City Hall for a month, according to the intrepid reporter’s post on Cityroom.

The reaction, as you can imagine, was typical Public Outrage. People commenting on both Streetsblog and Cityroom accused the Mayor of hypocrisy. Others defending Bloomberg, and I must say that it’s hard to overlook his commitment toward boosting public transportation in the city even if he can’t deign to ride the local at the overcrowded 77th St. stop like the rest of us. (The Gawker comments were typically Gawker-ish.)

Now, I was prepared to let this slide. Maybe the security measures around him demand that he take a police escort to the subway. And as I said, he has been the best mayor in terms of securing funds for public transportation and expanding the system’s reach that we’ve seen in decades. So he likes to take a little more comfortable ride. Deep down, we all would.

But then his chief spokesman Stu Loeser (pronounced, as far as I’m concerned, as “loser”) opened his big mouth. Take it away, Cityroom:

Speaking to Mr. Loeser afterward, one reporter asked whether the mayor was taking the subway “for show.”

“No, he takes the subway virtually every day,” Mr. Loeser said, “because it’s the fastest way to get from Point A to Point B. He says this every day.”

Mr. Loeser added: “Almost every day, he says, um, you know, do you like taking the subway? Nobody likes taking the subway. If you like taking the subway you should see a psychiatrist, get your head examined, go to see a shrink. The mayor takes the subway from various places and various times because it’s the fastest way to get around.”

This means war. War on Mr. Loeser. War on our fake commuter mayor. Many of us take the subways, and we are perfectly sane. Sure, we may complain about them. Sure, they may be crowded during rush hour or slow during the weekends. But we love our subways.

We love our subways because they are New York. Non-stop, twenty-four service keeps this city alive. We’re the City That Never Sleeps because the subways take us where we want to go whenever we want to go there.

The subways are also New York’s greatest melting pot. The Mayor, a man worth around $5 billion, rides the train with people who live in the far reaches of the Bronx who could never dream of affording a car to deliver them to their low-paying civil service jobs at 1 Centre St.

Ride the subways through Brooklyn, and you can go from Coney Island to Little Russia to Chinatown. You can see Hasidic Jews reading the Torah in Hebrew and Polish immigrants reading foreign-language papers.

Maybe you, Mr. Loeser, need to see a shrink. Maybe you’re the one who needs to learn how to love and appreciate the subway. It might be good for you to travel with the rest of us.

Categories : MTA Absurdity

14 Responses to “Mayor’s Aide: ‘Go see a shrink’ if you like taking the subway”

  1. DrunkBrunch says:

    I suppose we’ll next learn that he doesn’t have to pay for his Metrocards, either!

  2. Victoria Jeter says:

    I’d leave a comment, but I have to go make an appointment with a psychiatrist so he can prescribe me some drugs to make me sane and less confused about the subway.

  3. rebecca says:

    Enjoying car rides in Manhattan is the surest sign of crazy. The subways are for sane people and the occasional degenerate.

  4. stepheneliot says:

    Perhaps a shrink should provide drugs that cause one to hallucinate that he/she is riding the subway while in reality that person resides in the comfort of home. What a trip that would be!

  5. Todd says:

    I don’t know if I’d be that harsh. I mean, I don’t really enjoy riding the subway, but I do find it really interesting.

  6. JF says:

    This is the part I really find bizarre:

    Mr. Loeser added: “We don’t discuss the mayor’s security. It’s worth noting, as was noted but not put in the story, that no matter where the mayor goes, his security detail follows him. That’s a fact. He takes the subway because it’s the fastest way to get around, but no matter where he is, in case of an emergency, in case of a disaster, manmade or otherwise, there are security vehicles with him.”

    I can understand about security, but why security VEHICLES? To whisk him away to the emergency command center? Like he couldn’t get a police cruiser to show up in 30 seconds? The only explanation I can think of is that his security detail refuses to walk five blocks a day.

  7. Todd says:

    JF: Really? The Mayor of New York shouldn’t have security vehicles? What about the fact that the guy is literally worth billions? Sure, there are cops around, but they aren’t trained to be personal bodyguards. Also, the vehicles are probably a bit more secure (bullet-proof glass, armor…) then a standard police car. Are you this incredulous about the Secret Service?

  8. peter says:

    Yep. The story is a mixed bag all right. Mr. Bloomberg has supported Mass Transit, but tried to give away the MTA’s West Side Yard Development Rights for a fraction of their real value. He rides the Subway but takes a Suburban to get there.
    Are the Suburbans (both of them)in fact armored? Couldnt a simple Crown Vic or Impala do pretty much the same job? Is Mr. Loeser’s Psychopharmacologist out of town for August?

  9. Midwestern Gal says:

    Um, so if people who like to ride the subway are crazy, then what do you think this moron would say about people who like to BLOG about the subway??

    I see a straightjacket in your future…

  10. Marsha says:

    The shrink comment is causing you to not focus on the real issue–Mayor Bloomberg is a hypocrite. Sure he’s a big supporter of mass transit but does he really need 2 SUVs to get him around town? It’s easy to blame the police department on this one but I don’t see it. Why should anyone be driving an SUV on the streets of Manhattan? And if he really wants an express train, why doesn’t he walk to 86th Street like the rest of us? Taking a car to the train is just ridiculous. And the NY Times really stuck it to him by
    1. putting the article on the front page and
    2. jumping the article to the main section instead of the Metro section.

  11. Bullrider says:

    Ok lets stop for a second a think, how many Billionaires take the Subway? 1, Michael Bloomberg.

    How many Mayors have been known to take the Subway everyday? 1, Michael Bloomberg.

    How many Mayors thought tooth and nail for the city and to increase MTA funding with the state? 1, Michael Bloomberg.

    To all you losers out there crapping on a great Mayor, wake up the alternatives are MUCH worse.

    P.S. If you like taking the Subway you should be hospitalized. 99% of the people who take the subway take it not for enjoyment but out of necessity. You yuppies who have not worked a day in your life don’t know what its like to take the subway to work for an hour each day back and forth. It’s not very pleasant.

  12. If you like taking the Subway you should be hospitalized. 99% of the people who take the subway take it not for enjoyment but out of necessity. You yuppies who have not worked a day in your life don’t know what its like to take the subway to work for an hour each day back and forth. It’s not very pleasant.

    I was right there with ya until you dropped this very ignorant comment in as your kicker. It’s basically your version of the count the ridiculous and un-true cliches starting with the patently absurd claim that yuppies don’t work. My subway ride to work (OMG, I work!) each day is 35-40 minutes one-way. That’s a bit unpleasant. But try living elsewhere for a while. Try living in DC with its half-assed subway system. Try living in LA where there is no viable subway system and endless traffic for miles and miles.

    You will come back to NYC and you will love the subways. You will love how cheap they are. You will love how they get you everywhere – literally, everywhere in the city – in a decent time. You will love that they run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

    If you can’t understand that, then you represent those who need a shrink.

  13. Marsha says:

    I agree with Benjamin’s comment. I love the subway. It takes me all over the city relatively quickly and relatively cheaply. I live on the Upper West Side near an express stop so getting to the Village is 4 stops away, making the Village seem like it’s part of my neighborhood. Try driving there and you’ll wish you were on the subway.

  14. JF says:

    I didn’t mean to say that the mayor shouldn’t have security vehicles, just that they don’t need to follow him everywhere he goes. They could stay on 79th Street while he walks to the subway.

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