The mayor's refusal to march in the St. Patrick's Day parade in Manhattan later this month and scheduling problems with a celebratory breakfast seem to indicate that his relationship with Irish-Americans in the city doesn't appear to be getting any better. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.
Mayor Bill de Blasio boycotted the St. Patrick's Day parade last year over its refusal to allow gay and lesbian groups to march. He plans to stay away again.
"Based on the information I have at this moment, I am not marching in the Manhattan St. Patrick's parade," de Blasio said Wednesday.
It is a slap in the face to some Irish-Americans. For the first time this year, parade organizers are allowing a gay group to march, but only one.
"I've made very clear there has to be more progress," de Blasio said.
While the mayor's position may endear him to some New Yorkers, it is further alienating him from many Irish-Americans.
"Last year, people gave him a pass because he was a new mayor," said Niall O'Dowd, the founder of irishcentral.com. "But this year, I think there's a feeling that he's not really into us."
O'Dowd said the mayor has done little to improve things.
"Normally, when a mayor comes in, he appoints an ethnic liason person to the communities he is most involved in. Mayor Bloomberg did that. Mayor Giuliani did that with the Irish community. We haven't seen that with Mayor de Blasio, and that's been a problem, frankly," he said.
A spokesman for the mayor said there are community liasions for every community across New York City. They are not assigned to specific ethnic groups.
The mayor is hardly ignoring St. Patrick's Day. He marched in a parade last weekend in Queens, and he is scheduled to march in the Rockaways on Saturday. He has also forged a close relationship with Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the city's most prominent Irish-American.
His St. Patrick's Day headaches aren't going away, though. He even got into trouble over the breakfast he is hosting that day, because it was scheduled to start at the same time as Dolan's mass.
De Blasio does appear willing to make at least some concessions to his critics. The administration announced that it would move the St. Patrick's Day breakfast at Gracie Mansion up an hour so that it no longer conflicts with mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral.