Lloyd C. Blankfein, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs, in April 2010. One of his children is among the lucky few who landed internships at New York’s City Hall under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.Charles Dharapak/Associated Press
They are the children and relatives of boldface names, like Lloyd C. Blankfein, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs; Peter G. Peterson, co-founder of the Blackstone Group; and Laurence A. Tisch, who was a hotel mogul and chief executive of CBS.
Of course, it is not unusual for young people with connections to win choice internships in all kinds of workplaces. But the records offer a glimpse inside the social and power circles of the Bloomberg administration, which has accommodated dozens of young people with connections to the mayor’s friends, business associates and government appointees for the prestigious, if unpaid, slots.
Take Jacob Doctoroff, whose father, Daniel L. Doctoroff, was deputy mayor and is now the president of Bloomberg L.P. He had an internship in 2002. He was in the eighth grade.
“It was either that or going to summer camp,” Jacob Doctoroff said in an interview. Now at Yale, he recalled enjoying his stint at the mayor’s office of management information systems. “I truthfully couldn’t tell you how I got the internship,” he said. “But you’d be working with a bunch of 35- to 45-year-olds, and you didn’t have a sense that you were in an internship program.”
The mayor’s office is not eager to share information about who gets the internships and took three months to furnish the list, after the Freedom of Information Act request and repeated follow-up messages. Stu Loeser, a mayoral spokesman, emphasized that the internships awarded to relatives of insiders was a tiny fraction of the almost 1,500 that have been awarded since Mr. Bloomberg took office.
He said a vast majority of the students were recruited through job fairs, online applications or school programs. The children of at least two employees of The Times have also had internships during the Bloomberg years.
Still, one in five of those selected are recommended from someone employed by the administration, Mr. Loeser said.
And Deputy Mayor Patti Harris appears to carry some clout over selections.
Consider the Freedman family.
Nina P. Freedman graduated from the Fieldston School the same year as Ms. Harris, in 1973, and the two served as bridesmaids in a friend’s 1988 wedding. Her sister, Susan K. Freedman, worked with Ms. Harris at the New York City Arts Commission, and is now president of the Public Art Fund, where she has helped Ms. Harris promote projects like Olafur Eliasson’s “Waterfalls.” Her husband, Richard, officiated at Ms. Harris’s wedding.
Susan Freedman’s son Aaron landed City Hall internships in 2007 and 2009; another son, David, had one in 2009. Nina Freedman’s daughter, Leah, won a slot in 2008.
Lydia Leinsdorf, a granddaughter of Erich Leinsdorf, the conductor, was living with her family in the same Fifth Avenue building as Ms. Harris when she landed her internship in 2002, before she entered Princeton.
Asked whether she played any role in internships awarded to the Freedmans or Ms. Leinsdorf or anyone else, Ms. Harris declined to respond. Asked about Ms. Harris’s involvement, Mr. Loeser said, “Lots of people at City Hall are approached about internships and recommend promising young people they’ve met.”
Luke Russert, son of Tim Russert, the “Meet the Press” host who died in 2008, was an intern at City Hall during summer 2007. In an interview, Mr. Russert said that he juggled two internships that summer — one at the mayor’s office, the other at NBC, working for Conan O’Brien.
Mr. Russert, then a senior at Boston College, worked for Deputy Mayor Kevin Sheekey, who befriended his father after both worked for Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Mr. Russert researched gun-control positions of Republican lawmakers who wanted to meet with Mr. Bloomberg. “It was really worthwhile,” he said. “It was not just opening letters and getting coffee.”
Asked what role his connections played in landing the job, he said: “I don’t really know about that. I went through the application process like anyone else.”
Louisa Aviles, the daughter of Alan D. Aviles, president of the city’s Health and Hospitals Corporation, was an intern in 2007 in the Community Affairs Unit, which fields complaints from community groups.
She said she found out about the internship through her school, the University of Pennsylvania. “It had nothing to do with my dad,” she said, adding that her family ties only came up once, when her boss asked if she was Mr. Aviles’s daughter.
Career counselors view the internships, which are primarily summer stints, as plum résumé enhancers. The application process is somewhat informal. Some offices recruit their own interns; others take from a general pool of applicants.
The individuals who screen applicants, Mr. Loeser said, “weigh academic majors, areas of interest, G.P.A.’s sometimes, skills and relevant job experience.”
“Recommendations from people who know the applicant’s abilities and work ethic are a factor,” he added, “but only one factor.”
This year, more than 450 students vied for 152 positions.
To be sure, elected officials, including Mr. Bloomberg’s predecessor, Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, have long hired the children of their friends, campaign donors and political allies as interns or full-paid staff.
But the mayor has made his distaste for nepotism clear. In 2004, he criticized the state system for appointing judges, saying it “allows party leaders to dictate hiring decisions based on party connections — or family connections — and not on merit.”
And the Conflicts of Interest Board has routinely circulated a memorandum about summer internships, urging employees to “resist natural parental instincts” and refrain from forwarding the names or résumés of their children to any city agency.
Most of those awarded internships are college or graduate students. But there are exceptions: Amy Secunda is the daughter of Thomas F. Secunda, one of the co-founders of Bloomberg L.P. She was an intern in 2008, as a high school student from Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y. Her family did not return calls for comment.
Another high school intern was Alexander Blankfein, Mr. Blankfein’s son. He worked for six weeks in 2003, records show, when he was a student at Fieldston, and before he enrolled at Harvard. He declined to comment.
The roster has also included grandchildren and stepchildren of people with ties to Mr. Bloomberg and his friends, including the grandson of Robert A. Caro, chronicler of Robert Moses, and the stepson of Neil Simon, the playwright, who endorsed Mr. Bloomberg last fall.