Mansion, Jokes of Cathie Black & Bloomberg, Moses History &
NYC, December 3 -- At Mayor Michael Bloomberg's holiday party
for the press on December 2, the jokes were about Cathie Black and her
lack of background in pedagogy. Bloomberg was given as a present a
box of Nilla Wafers, said to be from a 99 cent store on Chambers
Street, which on the back said Vanilla Waivers.
was a tour of the upstairs of Gracie Mansion. The guide, who will
remain in the shadows for reasons that will become clear, began with
what he called the master bedroom. Until Bloomberg, he said, it was
called the Mayor's bedroom, as all New York City mayor's from
LaGuardia to Giuliani slept there.
came the room
of the the wife of Mayor Wagner, who raised some $800,000 dollars to
build a new wing on Gracie Mansion, where downstairs Bloomberg was
working the crowd of reporters, who nibbled on onion tarts with the
ubiquitous balsamic vinegar and passable holiday cookies.
River, across which British cannons in Queens fired at George
Washington's artillery set up on this spot during the Revolutionary
War, is a guest room which has hosted, among others, Nelson Mandela,
Menachem Begin and Desmond Tutu. Guiliani's daughter's room was
converted by Bloomberg's personal interior decorator Jaime Drake into
an “old country” bedroom complete with long armed bed warmer in
to get back down is a sign board with the names of contributors to
the Gracie Mansion Conservancy. Inner City Press asked if companies
which do buiness with the City can give money to the Conservancy.
separate from the City, Inner City Press was told. We will have more
on this. Quickly a higher up in the Conservancy approached. The tour
would have to be called off, Inner City Press was told. Any such
questions should be directed to the press office, not to the
“docent.” It was implied that Inner City Press would somehow need
the press office's permission to write this article.
drinking and eating continued, the latter largely from the kosher
table. There is an oil painting of Mrs. Wagner, and a breakfast room
where, among others, the Russian oligarch owner of the Nets was
hosted. Ah, Brooklyn real estate. In the room there is a convex mirror,
too high to see your face in, meant to spread light.
In Gracie breakfast room, convex mirror, oligarch
not shown, all a bit off kilter (c)MRLee
history of the
Gracie Mansion was finally explained. Gracie was a Scottish
businessman -- he might have owned the Nets or Knicks of his day --
who looked for a place “uptown in the country” to do his
entertaining. He chose the site from which George Washington was
failed, and the house passed from hand to hand, finally ending up
abandoned when it was taken by the City under eminent domain to build
what's now the FDR Drive. During construction, New York's “Master
Builder” Robert Moses had the lawn raises so the highway would go
was used by Moses in the Bronx, where tenements and bus depots were
mowed down for the Cross Bronx Expressway. Ironically, in one of
Gracie Mansion's downstairs rooms on Thursday night, a flat screen TV
played images of the South Bronx in the 1970s, the burned out blocks
of Charlotte Street and graffitied Number Five train over Southern
Boulevard and Boston Road. It played without the sound on.
of Public Markets in the Bronx and Essex Street, was
offered two mansions as possible homes: one on 75th and Riverside
deemed “too fancy” by the Little Flower, and Gracie Mansion,
which he okayed. Moses had the Mansion renovated -- it had become a
public restroom, a storehouse for the Parks Department and purveyor
of Italian ices -- and LaGuardia moved in. All mayors since, until
Bloomberg, lived here.
turned to Bloomberg, how he bought a floor of the townhouse next to
his on 79th Street in order to extend his living room, how he serves
popcorn and hotdogs on expensive china, how an SUV drives him to the
express IRT stop on 59th Street for his subway ride downtown. It was
time to go.
* * *
Uruguay Smoking Fight, of UN & Tobacco, Food
Safety Black Hole
15 -- In a small conference room in Uruguay's
Mission to the UN, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Monday
announced a grant from his foundation to help Uruguay defend a
lawsuit by Philip Morris against the country's no smoking laws.
it was across
48th Street from UN headquarters, Inner City Press asked about
tobacco and the UN, in New York and in the field. The UN Global
Compact, for example, does not bar from its membership tobacco and
cigarette companies, despite claiming to stand for corporate social
Compact chief George Kell has twice
City Press that since tobacco is legal, the companies will not be
on a trip
last month to the UN's peacekeeping mission in Sudan, smoking was
prevalent, despite what Uruguayan Permanent Representative Jose Luis
Cancela on Monday told Inner City Press about the anti smoking
resolution his country sponsored in the General Assembly. The
problem, he said, is enforcement -- which is also true on health
matters ranging from food safety to bedbugs.
to tell anyone else how to behave,” Bloomberg said without irony,
adding, “It's very difficult to enforce.” He said life expectancy
in New York has gone up by nineteen months in the past eight years,
and that users of beaches and parks and not his Mayor's Office pushed
to ban smoking even in those outdoors locales.
In the front
his sister Marjorie Tiven, New York City's liaison with the UN. While
she played a role in forcing the UN to take note of local fire codes,
nothing has yet been done as to food safety code.
Bloomberg & Cancela, Global Compact smoking
&food grades not shown
1, Inner City Press asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's
spokesman Martin Nesirky:
in New York now, the Health Department has a system under
which the representing letter grades for health. They inspect
restaurants and any other food facility. And apparently they have…
they do inspect… I wasn’t aware of this, but they inspect the
UNICEF cafeteria and the DC-One cafeteria, and both have received
grades that would be B or in one case C. What I am wondering is
whether the facility here in UN Headquarters, does the UN consider
this to be outside of that system of health inspections, and if so
what can it say about the… given, across the street what the grades
are? And also, not to say that the two are related, but what
interface has there been with the city government on this bedbug
issue and what update can you provide as to the tests that you said
last week were being performed in various locations, some here, some
out, including one that was supposedly going to be done and or may
soon be done on the 2nd floor? So it’s the food issue, and then
the bedbug issue.
on the second, I don’t have an update, and let’s
see if we can get one. I don’t have an update. But I do know, as
you yourself have said, you’ve been in direct touch with the
relevant people from Facilities Management Service. I am sure that
if you wanted to, you could do the same again. But for the benefit
of others, of course, and for you as well, we’ll see if there is an
update. On the first part, health inspections, I would defer to my
colleagues who liaise with the city authorities. I don’t know the
answer to that.
Should I follow up with them or can you [inaudible]?
I said, I will see what we can find out.
added that Aramark said that the cafeteria at
United Nations Headquarters was not being inspected.]