Mayor Bill DeBlasio lets cars idle in Park Slope

Idle worship! Mayor’s cars running while he jogs at Slope Y

Running late: One of the mayor’s Chevrolet Suburbans idles as his drivers await his honor’s return from the Park Slope Y.
The Brooklyn Paper
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He is burning calories — and fossil fuels!

Mayor DeBlasio routinely travels 11 miles in a two-car motorcade to workout in his beloved Park Slope YMCA, and leaves his security force in idling cars outside as he breaks a sweat inside.

The mayor, who has positioned himself as an environmentalist by backing bans on in-home wood-burning fireplaces and single-use Styrofoam containers, and is considering a fee for the use of plastic bags at stores, is thumbing his nose at the environment by allowing his motorcade — generally made up of two Chevrolet Suburbans — to idle for up to an hour while he works out, opponents say.

“It is unconscionable for him to do that,” said Gloria Mattera, a Park Slope resident, co-chair of the state Green Party, and former challenger to DeBlasio’s Council seat. “I think these career politicians have two faces. Eventually something has to be compromised.”

Curbside idling is a threat to every New Yorker’s health, according to a 2009 study by the Environmental Defense Fund, a group of more than 500 scientists, economists, and other professionals dedicated to preserving the natural systems on which all life depends. The group claims that each year, unnecessary idling in New York City causes as much smog-forming pollution as 9 million large trucks driving from Hunts Point in the Bronx to Staten Island.

Leaving a car idling is also against the law. New York state law prohibits cars other than licensed emergency vehicles from idling for more than three minutes at a time. A pair of lawmaker recently introduced city legislation that would pay residents willing to report idling automobiles with the funds coming from increased penalties for law breakers.

But it is not just the idling that irks neighbors. Residents say that the amount of miles added to the mayor’s schedule by his trips to Park Slope put even more pollutants in the air.

On one occasion, DeBlasio was inside the Y from about 8:30–9:30 am before he drove another 18 miles to Lehman College in the Bronx where he was scheduled to address a graduation ceremony for corrections officers. The drive from Gracie Mansion to Lehman is just eight and a half miles, so the trip to the Slope adding more than 20 miles to DeBlasio’s drive that day.

DeBlasio also ducked into the Y on the morning of the State of the City address at Baruch College, which is just a three-mile drive from Gracie Mansion, but seven miles from the gym.

In 10 visits to the Prospect Park Y, we saw the mayor five times, stretching on a yoga mat before hopping on an exercise bike, where he generally spends about half an hour at a leisurely pace. Nothing, in other words, that he can’t do at home, said Mattera, who often used to work out side by side with her former opponent.

“He may need to cut his workout short, or get an exercise bike at his house.” she said.

A representative of the mayor refused to discuss the idling motorcade — which he labelled a matter of security — but said his boss likes to use his old Y because that’s where he has worked out for a long time.

“He is staying close to the community where he raised his family and where he has lived for 20 years,” said spokesman Wiley Norvell.

Reach reporter Noah Hurowitz at or by calling (718) 260–4505. Follow him on Twitter @noahhurowitz
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

bkmanhatman from nubrucklyn says:
Why did he and his family ever leave Parkslope? Sure they still own their house and rent it, but surprise he hasn't made use of Asphalt Green which is right by Gracie mansion.
But then again all the cool people are here in Bk.
March 31, 2015, 8:23 am
funny from the Slope says:
Hey, don't make trouble as we slopers would so miss the Giraffe exhibit! (ha, ha)
March 31, 2015, 9:22 am
ty from pps says:
he should be on a bike. nobody needs a car.
March 31, 2015, 9:32 am
Mike from Clinton Hill says:
I hope the Brooklyn Paper will be submitting this important expose to the pulitzer committee. Noah Hurowitz is a national treasure; equal parts Woodward, Bernstein, and Rachel Carson.
March 31, 2015, 10:10 am
why bother anymore from the city says:
so any of you voting for the other person next election? Didn't think so.
March 31, 2015, 5:19 pm
Jim O'Reilly from Park Slope says:
Too bad he's too busy destroying the city to buy himself a TREADMILL!

Or how about jogging instead of driving there?

He's too busy to wake up before 11 am. What a slacker. And a Marxist to boot.
March 31, 2015, 5:21 pm
sh from park slope says:
You folks need to choose your battles wisely. This is NOT one of them!
March 31, 2015, 5:49 pm
Medic from NYC says:
What about the hundreds of FDNY and hospital-based 911 ambulances that sit on street corners and idle all day and night in between calls? I'm not sure what the solution is but I'm not sitting in an ambulance without it running when it's 35 degrees outside or 100 degrees.
March 31, 2015, 7:12 pm
Tony from Carroll Gardens says:
Ambulances need to idle.
You ever see all the refrigerated things some of them carry?
Also, some of those things are rolling hospitals with computers and life-sustaining medical equipment.
Im sure if you were a Medic (as your title says) you would understand.
April 1, 2015, 9:35 am
ANT from ENY says:
Every ambulance I see idling has 2 fat slobs inside eating and playing with their iPhone.
April 1, 2015, 1:51 pm
John from Windsor Terrace says:
How about the MTA money trucks that idle for extended periods while "servicing" neighborhood subway stations. Emergency?
April 1, 2015, 5:14 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Keep in mind that Bloomberg was known for being driven around in an SUV despite how much he said he was all about using green energy.
April 2, 2015, 2:56 pm
Tit from Tat says:
Outrageous, simply outrageous. I am outraged. This is outrageous.
April 3, 2015, 8:57 pm
Francis Facciolo from Carroll Gardens says:
What is wrong with an upper East Side gym? I suppose DeBlasio would not be a man of the people then.

I love the hypocrisy of it all. Why do the tax payers have to pay for these trips??
April 5, 2015, 9:26 am
Bee from Park Slope says:
DeBlasio is not green, think of him driving his kid to high school everyday from Park Slope when the G trains was two blocks away on either end.
April 6, 2015, 5:27 pm
Frank Podgwaite from Medidock says:
Ambulances do not need to idle when using the Medidock. The Medidock provides vehicle climate control and electrical power without the need to run the engine. See our video at
Dec. 8, 2015, 5:42 pm
Nyc1 from PrknSlop says:
I've written to the mayor askin about this issue twice! No response at all.
May 19, 2016, 8:02 am

Comments closed.

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