Friday, February 21, 2020

That time Asher and I met Mayor Bloomberg

This isn't a political story. But it does feature a prominent politician. And it really isn't a story about an overwhelmed young mom, although I did play that role exceptionally well.
It's more a story you'd put in the category of "only in New York...."
We were living in a second floor walkup in Astoria, Queens. Man, I loved that apartment --- and the neighborhood --- with its authentic Greek food, cranky Italian laundromat owner, and, of course, The Park. Our apartment was just a couple blocks from Astoria Park, with its supersized pool, green spaces to stretch your legs, and magnificent views of Manhattan.
It was early afternoon of early fall, 2005. My internal clock was ticking because soon Ed had to leave for his late shift at the New York Times, leaving me alone to wrestle Baby Asher and Toddler Noe. I raced out the door with Asher in the jogging stroller and pointed it in the direction of The Park.
Astoria Park was crazy packed for a weekday afternoon. I soon heard rumblings about "the mayor" filming a "campaign ad" somewhere inside the park. I was all about the business of getting my run in and avoiding human contact. After assessing the crowds and cameras on the outer edge of the park, I started to run along the empty waterfront, and straight into.....Mayor Bloomberg waiting for his small camera crew to set up.
I stopped running, terrified of being tackled by the NYC mayorial equivalent of the Secret Service, but Bloomberg called out a friendly hello, noted my Brazilian soccer jersey and asked, "voce falâ portugues?" I knew just enough Portuguese to know that I did NOT, in fact, speak Portuguese and shook my head. A true politician, he went straight for the baby, shaking Asher's little hand with his finger. "Cute baby," he commented (now I wonder, should I have believed him?) The next few moments I stood there awkwardly while he played with Asher, wishing I had at least bothered to shower before meeting the mayor of New York City, before we went our separate ways.
And that was the time Asher and I met Mayor Bloomberg.