He’s movin’ on up … to the East Side!
Mayor-elect Bill DeBlasio has finally decided that he will abandon his Park Slope digs for Manhattan’s Gracie Mansion, a luxurious, city-owned estate that mayors get to live in for free, claiming doing so could keep him and his family safer and make it easier for him to orchestrate city and family business.
“For a variety of reasons, like logistical and security concerns, we’ve decided to move to Gracie Mansion,” DeBlasio said in a statement. “It’s a practical choice, but one that we make with respect and gratitude for the people of New York City.”
DeBlasio will uproot his family, including wife Chirlane McCray and teenaged son Dante (daughter Chiara is away at college) from the Slope townhouse on 11th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues. The family will go from the workaday abode where they share a single bathroom to a palatial estate on the East River (or, as we say in Brooklyn, the West River) that has eight bathrooms, five bedrooms, a grand ballroom, and two reception rooms.
The family’s decision is not surprising, but it is disappointing all the same, said one longtime neighbor of the mayor-elect.
“I’m a little sad about it, but it is probably the right thing for them to do,” said Alan Emdin, who lives four houses down from the DeBlasio-McCrays. “They’re good neighbors, and it has been fun with the block having the extra attention. I’ll probably never have a reporter call me again.”
Steve Zito, owner of the staple Seventh Avenue pizza joint Smiling Pizza between Eighth and Ninth streets, said he hopes the First Family does not forget about its Slope roots.
“I hope he comes back and visits us,” said Zito, who has known the family for more than a decade. “We’ve watched his kids grow up.”
Others said the neighborhood will be better off without the added hoopla of a mayor-in-residence.
“It makes sense for the mayor of New York City to live in the official residence, both in making it easier for the mayor and First Family to conduct official business and in eliminating the disruption that a large security presence would have meant for the DeBlasio’s neighbors on 11th Street,” said Eric McClure, president of the civic group Park Slope Neighbors. “Park Slope and Brooklyn are quite secure with our place in the world, regardless of where the mayor may brush his teeth.”