Mayor Bill de Blasio is packing his bags for a nine-day family vacation to Italy, the longest break a mayor has taken in more than two decades. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.
Ciao, New York! Mayor Bill de Blasio is heading to Italy for his summer vacation. He and his family will visit Rome, Naples, Venice and Capri on their nine-day trip. They will also swing through his grandparents' ancestral villages.
"Returning to Italy this summer will be a homecoming for our family," First Lady Chirlane McCray said in a statement. "It will be a moment to humbly express our gratitude to the family members and local residents who supported us and cheered us on over those long months."
In heading out of town for such a long stretch, de Blasio is breaking with former Mayors Michael Bloomberg and Rudolph Giuliani, who both refused to take long vacations during their time at City Hall.
Bloomberg would, of course, quietly jet off to Bermuda on many a weekend, and Giuliani would sometimes pop up in the Hamptons. But not since former Mayor David Dinkins ran the city did a mayor get out of town for a lengthy getaway. Former Mayor Ed Koch took his share of vacations as well.
Former mayoral aides said there is nothing wrong with de Blasio's vacation.
"I think it's fine," said George Arzt, Koch's former press secretary.
"Give him a break. Let him go with his family and see his relatives in Italy," said Bill Cunningham, Bloomberg's former communications director.
First Deputy Mayor Tony Shorris will be in charge of City Hall in the mayor's absence. De Blasio's team said the mayor will be checking in every day with senior officials while he is gone. The mayor will be paying for his family to travel.
The danger in taking a trip like this, though, is that some catastrophe could hit the city while the mayor is away.
"There's never a good time to be out of town for any reason, but you can't let the what ifs stop you from living your life," Cunningham said.
Dinkins was in Japan on a trade mission when the World Trade Center was bombed in 1993.
"They are always going to ask, 'Where was the mayor?'" Arzt said.
You can be certain the mayor will be hoping it will be quiet in New York City while he is gone.