NY Daily News: While all hell was breaking loose Friday on Staten Island, Mayor de Blasio was in Brooklyn working on his abs.
Instead of making a beeline for Mariner’s Harbor where a deranged ex-con wounded an FDNY lieutenant, torched his pad, and was keeping a small army of cops at bay, de Blasio spent 100 minutes at the YMCA on Ninth St. in Park Slope, City Hall confirmed. Then it was off to the nearby Colson Patisserie, presumably for his usual post-workout espresso, witnesses said.
They mayor denied that account. Asked later why he didn’t ditch the workout and go straight to Staten Island, a clearly peeved de Blasio snapped at a reporter. “We’re briefing you on a serious situation,” he said. “That’s not a serious question.” Team de Blasio continued doing damage control after the mayor left.
“Today a fireman could have lost his life,” spokeswoman Karen Hinton tweeted at 3:33 p.m. “Police officers as well. They did their jobs to protect Staten Island. That’s a news story.”
But Sergeants Benevolent Association President Ed Mullins said de Blasio should not have been fiddling around in Brooklyn while a building in Staten Island was burning and a maniac was shooting at police officers. “Even the Emperor Nero attempted to put the fire out in Rome,” Mullins said. “If true, I am once again saddened for all New Yorkers as to the lack of leadership from City Hall. Hopefully much like the ashes of Rome, a more spectacular New York City will rise again.”
Hinton insisted de Blasio was on top of the fast-moving situation and in regular contact with Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro. “The mayor spoke to fire and police commissioners during this time” at the gym, she said. Starting at 7 a.m., Hinton said, “he continued receiving multiple updates until he departed for Staten Island. This includes leaving the gym to make and take a series of calls from approximately 10:40 to 11:15, when he departed for Staten Island.”
Hinton said de Blasio was at the gym from 9 a.m. to 10:40 a.m. But when de Blasio left, it was out through a back door to avoid the cameras out front, NY1 reported.
A worker at Colson confirmed that de Blasio made a quick pit stop at his favorite coffee spot before heading to Staten Island and that her boss handled his order. De Blasio is “a wonderful and loyal customer and we respect his privacy,” another worker said.
The mayor arrived at the Staten Island hospital where the wounded fire Lt. James Hayes was being treated shortly before noon – more than five hours after Garland Tyree barricaded himself inside his pad and started shooting.
De Blasio was supposed to hold a press conference at 1:30 p.m. And, of course, it was late. The presser did not start until 2:32 p.m. City Hall officials said the delayed start time was due to police continuing to gather information.
The mayor’s slow-motion response to a fast-moving situation came a day after City Hall was embarrassed by revelations that First Lady Chirlane McCray bailed out of jury duty by telling the judge she was too busy to do her civic duty.
This, however, was not de Blasio’s first self-inflicted wound. De Blasio has undermined himself repeatedly with his chronic lateness, the most egregious example of which resulted in his missing the moment of silence at a Flight 587 memorial in Queens – and outraging relatives of the victims.
The mayor was also criticized for his decision to call the NYPD after a political supporter, Bishop Orlando Findlayter, was arrested for outstanding warrants.
Finally, de Blasio’s decision to give the Rev. Al Sharpton equal footing in a police-community round table with Bratton infuriated police officers and fueled the fury that resulted in cops turning their backs on him at the funerals of two slain officers in December.