Mayor Bill de Blasio and his senior staff are taking their show on the road, spending the week on Staten Island as the first leg in what they're calling the "City Hall In Your Borough" tour. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
It started, naturally, with a ferry ride, followed by a short stroll from the St. George Ferry Terminal to Staten Island Borough Hall, home base for the mayor all week, and site Monday of his weekly senior staff meeting, where Staten Island Borough President James Oddo welcomed him with some local delicacies, then served up some hard truths.
"I don't think the mayor minds me saying this in front of the media. The mayor's numbers on Staten Island aren't great," Oddo said.
In fact, a recent poll had his approval rating in this borough at a dismal 22 percent. So it's likely no accident he started this citywide tour here in this election year, though the mayor says it's about bringing government to the people.
"I think it's something that's going to help us focus energy and resources in Staten Island," de Blasio said. "The entire government is on Staten Island today and will be throughout the week."
De Blasio also visited a police precinct touting the arrival of the NYPD's neighborhood policy strategy.
Nearby residents generally welcomed the tour, even if they saw it as a campaign ploy.
"It's good to see him come out here and pay a little attention to Staten Island," said one resident. "Staten Island is the stepchild of the city."
While he did face a smattering of hecklers, the mayor said he expected it and was not here to win over those philosophically opposed to him.
"I think I owe it to the people here that are just as much my constituents as anyone else," de Blasio said. "You know, you should show up in the places where people agree with you, and you should show up in the places where they don't agree with you."
As he described on NY1 Monday night, ordinary Staten Islanders can get some face time Tuesday during so-called office hours.
"People come in, and they'll have an opportunity to talk to whatever commissioner is pertinent to whatever they care about. And I'll be part of it at times as well," de Blasio said.
The mayor said Monday if re-elected, he would repeat these tours every year going forward. And he touted some positive statistics, including a sharp drop in homicides on Staten Island so far this year and a decrease in the number of collisions with deer - seven, as compared with 63 at this point last year.