Now that the state is funding universal pre-K in the city, Mayor Bill de Blasio is encouraging parents to sign up. He made a couple of stop in Brooklyn Saturday to spread the message. Grace Rauh filed the following report.
Mayor Bill de Blasio may represent all of New York City now, but his own neighborhood, Park Slope, truly feels like home. The mayor spent Saturday morning within walking distance of his house, speaking at a local synagogue and cheering on Little League players on their first day of the season. He says he plans to move to Gracie Mansion, but he has not announced a moving day yet. He still lives in the same home he inhabited before the election.
A former baseball coach himself, the mayor couldn't resist imparting a few words of wisdom to the young players.
“The best advice in the world: play the ball. Don't let the ball play you,” he said.
Next week he'll hit the 100th day of his new administration. On Thursday he is delivering a speech at Cooper Union to mark the occasion. Reforming the police department's use of stop and frisk, enacting paid sick leave legislation and securing $300 million dollars from Albany for universal pre-K will likely be a focus of his remarks.
At the opening day ceremony for Little League in Prospect Park he urged parents to register their children for pre-K. The mayor says he wants 53,000 four-yea-olds in pre-k this fall and 73,000 the following year.
“So, parents, if you have a child who is going to be pre-K aged, application forms available here. You can get them from the Department of Education, you can get them all over the city. You have until April 23rd for the first wave of applications, there will be more after that,” he said.
The non-profit group supporting the mayor's pre-k agenda, UPKNYC, produced a TV ad, starring first lady Chirlane McCray, to promote the program.
“Today we are finally seeing action. In a landmark win for New York City, tens of thousands of our kids will now have access to full-day pre-K. And thousands more young people will have an after school program,” said McCray.
And for the mayor, the best way to celebrate may have been to wear a baseball cap from his son Dante's old team and spend the morning with his neighbors.