Were we watching the same parade? I thought I spent four hours in Rockaway at the St. Patrick’s march on Saturday, but I was doubting myself after reading about the parade in the media.
The coverage of Mayor de Blasio’s appearance in Rockaway was unfairly harsh from the New York tabloids, the Post and the Daily News. The Post went so far as to run a “St. Putz” front page on Sunday, with de Blasio dressed as a leprechaun who can’t keep time.
De Blasio, originally scheduled to join the parade at its start on Beach 129th Street at 1 p.m., definitely stuck to his penchant for tardiness when he showed up at 1:30 p.m. and joined the march when it was 10 blocks gone. With us members of the media in tow, he walked to the reviewing stand on Beach 100th Street and received a mixed reaction from parade-goers on the route – some jeering him over the lack of Rockaway ferry service, others blasting his relations with the NYPD, while others urged him to run for president.
The mayor smiled at everyone, waving an Irish flag and stopping at several points along the parade route to greet onlookers and pose for photos. He spent lots of time marching and chatting about Ireland with parade president Mike Benn and Mary Shields, the visiting lord mayor of Cork City.
De Blasio then dropped back to march behind his own mayoral banner with supporters who shouted into megaphones to “make some noise and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with our mayor.” There were long stretches when bystanders didn’t even register that de Blasio was there … and if they did, they sure weren’t making some noise.
The Post and Daily News coverage would make a reader think the mayor was practically run out of the Rockaways. Given that neither paper is enamored of de Blasio that probably shouldn’t be surprising, but it’s definitely not accurate.
“Within two blocks, the boos began raining down as de Blasio walked past in a green Sanitation Department jacket and matching tie,” the News said. And I definitely heard the “worst mayor ever” chant hurled at de Blasio, the one that got both papers so excited.
But I also noted a group of people shouting at him to run for president from a second floor balcony, and others cheering “We love you Bill!” Guess the Post and News missed those ones.
Yes, some spectators were angry that the famously late mayor yet again kept people waiting. But it was far from the end of the world. Most were just happy to be outside celebrating on a rare day of sunshine in New York.
I’ve been at the Rockaway parade for three of the past four years. There’s no question that the boo-birds were out in far greater force for former Mayor Mike Bloomberg when he marched … but he arrived on time and was a tabloid favorite, so no over the top front pages needed.
What’s that they say about not believing everything you read?!