Today’s Columbus Day Parade featured New York’s two most prominent Italian-American politicians, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio. Consistent with their general practice they marched separately. (In an unusual occurrence they marched together last month in the Labor Day Parade.)
Arriving for the start of the parade, Cuomo held a brief press gaggle and then marched with the leaders of the parade organizer, the Columbus Citizens Foundation. Cuomo ignored his own parade contingent, a group that included several elected officials and union leaders marching behind a “State of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo” banner and accompanied by a soundtruck. Cuomo waved to the crowd but only approached spectators and shook hands as he was departing. He departed midway through the parade route, after greeting Cardinal Dolan at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Mayor de Blasio, returning from campaigning Sunday in Detroit for Hillary Clinton, arrived later and marched apart from other elected officials. He avoided press questions ahead of the parade, not holding a gaggle or responding. de Blasio appeared to enjoy his march, with frequent forays to kiss and shake hands with spectators. He was reported to have answered questions from two TV stations at the end of the parade, infuriating other reporters who were excluded and kept away by metal barricades as he spoke with the two select outlets. (I departed after de Blasio greeted Cardinal Dolan at St. Patrick’s – that last item is based on news reports.)
It was a curious strategy for de Blasio. He’s had strained relations with much of the press corps and has sought to reduce and better manage his interactions with them as a result. Whatever benefit he may gotten from these two interviews was lost in wave of widely reported press complaints by the excluded reporters literally sidelined behind metal barricades as their competitors spoke with the Mayor.