Michael Bloomberg says he’s gotten past whatever differences he may have had with Republican State Senator Serf Maltese of Queens, and even wants to help him get re-elected. (The better do give Bloomberg’s Senate Republican allies a chance of clinging to the majority.)
Maltese says he and the mayor have “kissed and made up.”
But when the two appeared together on Friday in Maltese blue-collar Ridgewood neighorhood promoting a local Halloween show for kids, it was all business between them.
Bloomberg stood next to Maltese as they greeted parents walking into the show (“Not So Dark Knight,” performed by a local church).
Before the show, Bloomberg spent more time cracking jokes aimed at the kids than imploring their parents to keep Maltese in office.
Bloomberg spoke the audience while on stage, standing behind a skinny wooden podium, as Maltese and others stood a few feet behind him.
After asking the audience to guess his age, Bloomberg said, “I am so old, even I can’t remember.” And he wasn’t done. “I am 66. But here’s the question. How old is my mother?”
After fielding some guesses from the children and adults, Bloomberg gave them the answer (99) and finally got around to politicking. “Anyways, if my mother was here, she would say thank you to Senator Maltese because he really helped get this done,” Bloomberg said, jabbing his finger into the podium. The crowd applauded. Maltese smiled and waved.
Bloomberg spent a moment being earnest. Then he quickly went back to entertaining the crowd.
“Let me tell you how old Senator Maltese is. There’s nobody that remembers how old he is. But he’s been the senator for twenty years, is that right?” Bloomberg said, turning to Maltese, who briefly looked surprised before recomposing his face into a grin.
Bloomberg spoke for a few more moments (“If I lived here, I would vote for him. But I live in Manhattan, so I can‘t”), stood around for Maltese’s remarks (“Don’t eat too much candy. It’s an idle request. I’m Senator Serf. Have a great day.”) and then left.
Outside the church, without Maltese, Bloomberg was chatty. He spoke to a boy dressed as a football player who wants to play in college (“I had a cousin, long since dead, who went to Rutgers,” Bloomberg told him). The mayor also gave an unusually long (rare!) interview with a local television reporter about Maltese, the presidential race, Willets Point, and how, after a tough vote on term limits, he and the City Council have to work together to deal with a difficult budget.
By the time Maltese emerged onto the sidewalk, Bloomberg had gotten back into his black SUV and was gone. The sun was setting, and Maltese said he was glad to have the mayor’s support.
When I asked Maltese what he’d like to see the mayor do on Election Day, Maltese smiled. “Well, he’s already done everything that I can hope for by coming here today and endorsing me.”