Mayor Bloomberg was warmly received last night at his annual lettuce, gay, bacon and tomato (LGBT) barbecue at Gracie Mansion.
Well, technically it’s called the Mayor’s Pride Reception.
As clouds roiled overhead, an announcer chirped “it’s not raining, but it is raining mayors!” The crowd roared as His Honor took the stage under a marquee in the garden.
“It is great to be here at the twelfth annual Pride Reception to celebrate two great victories,” he said, referring to the news out of the Supreme Court.
“Council Speaker Christine Quinn is right now celebrating these victories at a rally at the Stonewall Inn. I will say she called to express her apologies she couldn’t be in both places, and I said ‘I’ll come here and you go there, and we’ll cover the city.’”
Mayor Bloomberg spoke convincingly about the importance of LGBT rights, and assured the crowd that Police Commissioner Ray Kelly was actively investigating a recent spate of anti-gay hate crimes in the city.
Just after his remarks concluded, and guests had drifted back towards the grill of chicken and burgers, the skies opened with a violent summer cloudburst. The relatively conservative crowd—lots of bow ties and Brooks Brothers, only one drag queen, no asymmetrical haircuts—scurried back under cover.
“This is a gift from God, to cool us off,” said Martin Cowart, who is a gala co-chair of the Human Rights Campaign, one of the groups at the forefront of the fight for marriage equality.
In a southern drawl, he declared the barbecue “excellent, especially the beans.” It turns out that he and Paula Deen share the hometown of Albany, Georgia. Mr. Cowart likened her recently-revealed racist outbursts to the prejudice sometimes directed at the LGBT community.
“It’s all the same thing, it’s all about the fear of things they don’t understand,” he said. “It’s all ignorance.”
The Mayor greeted supporters on his way out, his hulking security detail towering over him like knights flanking a Lannister. Someone a little drunk shouted “say goodnight, Gracie,” but he didn’t hear.
As the skies cleared, Simen Johan, an artist, pointed and said, “do you see the rainbow over Queens?”
He meant across the East River, but he could just as easily have been talking about the mood under the tent.