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Brooklyn: Bloomie’s sleepover no biggie

The Brooklyn Paper
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Mayor Bloomberg said earlier this week that if there is a transit strike, he would sleep at a city office in DUMBO so he could walk to City Hall over the Brooklyn Bridge.

The remark, predictably, set off intense preparations by city officials to accommodate the mayor. Meanwhile, a different set of preparations were being made in DUMBO.
Entirely Brooklyn preparations, that is.

“What the hell do I care?” asked a counterman at Grimaldi’s, the famous pizzeria that stands less than a quarter-mile from the mayor’s would-be digs.

Given my reputation as a newshound (or a pizzahound, I sometimes get them mixed up), I asked the manager if he’d make a special pie for the mayor. “What are you talking about, special pie?” the man said. “Get out of here.” (Note to self: ouch!)

This reporter had gone to the legendary pie shop — no slices! — to find out how the locals were preparing for the mayor’s relocation.

Expecting excitement, or at least a soupcon of mild interest, I found instead that the “Bronx cheer” may be misnamed.

At The River Cafe, general manager Scott Stamford could not have been more bored by the topic of the mayor bedding down 15 feet from his front door (is it just a coincidence that the mayor chose to sleep RIGHT NEXT DOOR to one of the best restaurants in town?).

Stamford treated me like I was a health inspector on an unannounced visit. “You know,” he
sniffed, “the mayor has eaten here before.”

Yes, I suggested, but this time, it’ll be different. If the mayor is truly in emergency management-mode, he’ll be wearing one of those fancy OEM “man of action” fleece pullovers — a clear violation of the River Cafe’s “Jackets required in the dining room” rule.
“I think we can waive the rule for the mayor,” Stamford said. “He could come in with a bomber jacket if he wants.”

Across the street at Pete’s Downtown, owner Pete Thristino said he was planning nothing special for the mayor (although perhaps Thristino should remove the penne arrabbiata from the menu, lest the mayor order a plate of this ethereal, but vaguely Middle Eastern-sounding, dish and then be accused of not supporting our brave troops in Iraq).

Frankly, Thristino isn’t too focused on the real mayor. “We had Pacino in here once,” he said, referring to the star of “City Hall.”
Even the mayor’s hosts at the OEM headquarters — officially surplus warehouse B-53 — were subdued at the prospect of late night games of “Twister” or making prank calls to 311 with their boss.

I stopped by the warehouse, you know, to welcome the mayor and offer him a pillow, but was stopped by a cop who called inside. Within a few minutes, OEM deputy press secretary Andrew Troisi (what, I don’t rate an ACTUAL press secretary?), came out.
Everything Troisi said was off the record (which was odd, considering that all he said was that the OEM staff would be happy to accommodate the mayor), but Troisi did confirm that the mayor would, indeed, be sleeping on a cot.

“We’re OEM. We have plenty of cots inside,” Troisi said before nervously putting the rest of the conversation again off the record (too bad, because he told me the secret burial site of Judge Crater).

From the OEM office, the mayor would have a half-mile walk to the Brooklyn Bridge. But he should not expect people along the route to be throwing rose petals before him.

The first place the mayor will pass on his pedestrian commute to City Hall is St. Ann’s Warehouse, a performance space. Given the mayor’s support for the arts, I figured the folks there would be excited to sell Bloomberg a ticket (“Measure for Measure” opens Tuesday).

Then I remembered I was in Brooklyn.

“And why, exactly, should I care?” the box office clerk asked, Grimaldi-like, when I mentioned St. Ann’s proximity to the mayoral manse.

In fact, as I walked the route, I discovered that the only friendly face the mayor may encounter belongs to Marta Krawiec, a bartender at Water Street Restaurant and Lounge, who vowed to have a steaming cup of Irish coffee waiting for Hizzoner every evening when he comes home over the bridge.

“I’ll hook him up — on the house,” she said, quickly remembering that the billionaire mayor certainly doesn’t need a free anything from anyone at anytime.

It’s no surprise Krawiec was so welcoming — OEM was having its Christmas bash downstairs at the time.

And man, those guys know how to party when the boss isn’t around..


Gersh Kuntzman is the Editor of The Brooklyn Paper. E-mail Gersh at gkuntzman@cnglocal.com
Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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