Not on the Upper East Side, according to an analysis of his schedule
As the de Blasio family prepares to move into Gracie Mansion in coming weeks, the mayor will want to spend some time familiarizing himself with his adopted neighborhood, considering how little time he’s spent here since being elected.
According to an Our Town analysis of his official schedule, Mayor de Blasio spent less than 24 hours on the Upper East Side in his first three months in office.
The mayor’s schedule shows a total of 15 meetings in the neighborhood in the first quarter of this year, fewer than in Brooklyn or in Queens. Most of his time in the neighborhood – 21 hours and 35 minutes over three months– were at official events held at Gracie Mansion: inauguration ceremonies, meals with VIPs like Harry Belafonte and former Mayor David Dinkins. De Blasio ventured outside of Gracie Mansion only a handful of times over the course of his first 90 days in office.
While de Blasio’s absence from the Upper East Side may be awkward, considering he’s about to live here, it’s not entirely a surprise. The neighborhood is one of the few parts of New York City lost by de Blasio in his sweeping win over his Republican opponent, Joe Lhota. Almost from the beginning, his relationship with the neighborhood has been rocky. Many local residents hold a grudge against him for his support of the East 91st Street waste transfer station, which they see as a looming environmental disaster. Then, this winter, when the Upper East Side suffered from a lack of snow plow coordination during some of the winter’s worst storms, some residents blamed political payback.
“The Upper East Side is hostile territory” to de Blasio, said political analyst and Baruch College public affairs professor Doug Muzzio. “The Upper East Side is the home of the one percent, and the one percent of the one percent, so his message doesn’t necessarily resonate with them.”
Muzzio said that it’s tough to speculate about de Blasio’s schedule without comparing it to previous mayors, as well as looking at a longer-term sample, but acknowledged that if he is hesitant to venture to the Upper East Side, it wouldn’t be shocking.
“Does he want to go up there and take abuse over the garbage transfer station, for example?” Muzzio said. “Has he been invited up there? There are so many variables.”
We counted the number of “events” on Mayor de Blasio’s official schedule, not the number of items listed. For example, if he arrived at a church in Brooklyn and was scheduled for a meet-and-greet with the pastor, followed by attending a service, and then a photo op with congregants, we counted that as one single “event,” not three.
In January, the mayor had more events in the Bronx than he did on the Upper East Side. In February, de Blasio had six events (within 4 different days) in the neighborhood, all also at Gracie Mansion. In March, the mayor stepped outside his future doorstep and ventured to 5th Avenue for a private dinner with President Obama, as well as a march in the Greek Independence Day parade, a visit to the Citizens Budget Commission meeting, and a stop by the Stanley Isaacs Neighborhood Houses on East 93rd Street.
Unsurprisingly, most of the mayor’s official business is conducted at City Hall, but he spends roughly a third of his work time, on average, outside his downtown office; in his first three months, we counted 538 events, 197 of which were around the five boroughs.
Check out the welcome basket we delivered to Mayor de Blasio and his family.
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