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