In bizarre remarks delivered at a St.Patrick's Parade book launch at the American Irish Historical Society in New York, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he lived nearby and was used to seeing "people that are totally inebriated hanging out windows" at the Society which is on Fifth Avenue.
Bloomberg's remarks drew some boos from an astonished crowd who had gathered along with Grand Marshal Mary Higgins Clark to celebrate the launch of the book entitled "Celebrating 250 Years of the New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade" by Irish American historian John Ridge,which recounts the 250 years history of the parade.
The American Irish Historical Society, located at 80th Street and 5th Avenue in New York,is one of the oldest Irish societies in America and emphasizes support for scholarship, culture and research.It recently won an architectural award for best renovated building in the city.
Board members were upset at the drunken Irish reference which falls into the usual stereotype of the drunken Irish around St.Patrick's Day.
Many leading members of the Irish community were present,including Irish Consul General Noel Kilkenny, St. Patrick's Parade Chairman John Dunleavy and Director General of the American Irish Historical Society Dr.Kevin Cahill.
Bloomberg's comments were made at the very start of his speech and he continued on in strange vein asking when the parade was being held and commenting it was good it was always on the same day so he wouldn't confuse it with Columbus Day.
Bloomberg has cultivated close connections with the Irish American community and has strong support which makes his comments all the more unexpected. He has been a frequent visitor to Ireland and has advised on economic issues there.