Friday, May 21, 2010

Bloomberg: Don't Like Tourists? You're "a Pretty Sick Person" by Adam Lisberg - Daily Politics - NY Daily News

Is the Mayor an eternal optimist or an an out of touch elitist...With the amount of time he spends outside the City in the Bahamas he probably qualifies as a tourist...

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Mayor Bloomberg: eternal optimist, municipal cheerleader, and occasionally a guy who sells you a preposterous tale with a face so deadpan you start to wonder if he really does believe it after all.

Asked this morning about the pranksters who painted a dividing line on a Fifth Ave. sidewalk to separate the tourists from the locals, Bloomberg acted as though it were a friendly gesture to give tourists their own space to gawk at the city and buy things, without getting hassled by busy New Yorkers who use the sidewalks to actually walk places.

“It certainly says something about our feeling for tourists. They’re willing to give up some space to the people that come here and support our industries. ... This is why you have a job and I have a job is because (of) tourists that come here and I thought it was very cute. I don’t think you’re going to keep people in those lanes but the more tourists that come here…

“When I saw it I said, ‘Oh, that’s a nice thing to do.’ But you can’t do that every place for tourists and we’re not about to go to say to tourists, ‘Well, we’re going to clear off some streets just for you.’ ”

Clearly, Bloomberg never tried to walk down Broadway when "Total Request Live" was broadcasting from the MTV studios. But surely he knows what it's like to try to walk down a sidewalk while the fanny-pack-and-jean-shorts contingent stops five across to read a map and try to find the Olive Garden, right? Or as WCBS-AM's Rich Lamb put it, couldn't you take the sidewalk lanes as a response from people annoyed by all the tourists?

“I’d be happy to introduce you to a lot of people who feed their families based on tourists, and if you want to talk to them I think you’ll find exactly the reverse," Bloomberg shot back. "I don’t remember hearing anybody really complain about tourists. They complain about noise on the tourist buses. We’ve done something about that. But you’ve got to be a pretty sick person to take it that way, I think.”