Bill de Blasio isn’t Mohammed and the High Line isn’t the mountain but there was a bit of poetic justice yesterday when the mayor finally came to see the celebrated park on Manhattan’s West Side.
No one in City Hall has ever officially said why de Blasio avoided the High Line for so long but it’s safe to guess that because it was a luxurious pet project of Michael Bloomberg’s mayoral administration, a fieldtrip there wasn’t high on the current mayor’s bucket list.
“I didn’t feel any particular reason to come to this park,’’ de Blasio told NY1 Political Anchor Errol Louis yesterday, as they toured the High Line together.
But using the invitation of City Councilman Corey Johnson as a fig leaf, the mayor finally ended his unofficial boycott of a park that has become celebrated and explored by urban planners from across the world.
Elections make politicians do things they’d ordinarily avoid. Most of us don’t relish kissing strange babies or eating food handed to you by a random stranger. But the ballot box beckons.
While we’re often quick to decry the political circus, election cycles sometimes bring out the best in candidates. If it took the campaign to make the mayor hold more town hall meetings and visit the High Line, then all the better.
Should he be re-elected, the challenge for de Blasio will be to continue to try things that are out of his comfort zone. Aaron Judge and Yankee Stadium beckon.