Last night at Gracie Mansion (or out in the yard, to be more specific), Mayor Bloomberg looked about as relaxed as this reporter has ever seen him. The occasion was We are Made in NY, billed as “a celebration of New York City’s tech community.” He laughed, he cracked wise, at one point he propped an elbow on the stage’s railing and leaned like a Guys and Dolls extra.
Guess a mere 92 days left on the clock will chill a guy out–not to mention this audience of techies was about as friendly a crowd as he’ll find these days.
Casing the joint, we heard snatches of thematically appropriate conversation: “Primack, he just retweeted–do you know Primack?” “It’s, like, the worst piece of code I’ve ever written.”
The room was a gallery of familiar faces: We spotted Reece Pacheco (the Shelby.TV guys’ve seemed awful quiet lately) and did the info do-si-do with ERA managing director Jonathan Axelrod (“What trends are you seeing?” “What trends are you seeing?”). Soraya Darabi waved hello, geometric earrings glittering, and we passed Makerbot’s Bre Pettis chatting maker business with Peter Semmelhack of Bug Labs.
Mayor Bloomberg hit the stage decked out in Google Glass and a Samsung Galaxy Gear and immediately cracked a spying joke: “Smile, smile please–very good, I’ve gotten a picture of all of you and I’m sending it to the NSA.”
He then informed the crowd that spending so much time in startup offices had inspired him: “In fact, now I have so many ideas for tech companies I may want to start one someday. I’m going to be unemployed in 92 days and I’ve got to feed the family.” (We’re sure they’re fine.) His schemes include Bloomblr, “with funny pictures of me and my friends like Kermit the frog and David Karp,” Mikerosoft, CollegeHumayor, and Fourberg, “where I’m the mayor of everywhere.”
After Chief Digital Officer Rachel Haot revealed the revamped NYC.gov (responsive design! no longer a steaming pile of poo!) out of the bushes behind the tent popped San Francisco mayor Ed Lee, in town for the closed-door Bloomberg Technology Summit.
“I knew from the beginning I was going to have to go back and deal with with broken-down federal government shutdowns, BART strikes, but I had a couple of days of great inspiration here,” said Mayor Lee. “I just wanted to give Mayor Bloomberg my personal salute for all you’ve done,” he concluded, then vanished back into the bushes.
Back to Bloomberg. Before he closed, he just wanted to show us a live feed from the bullpen at City Hall, meant to showcase the dedication of employees still at their–oh wait, no, it was mayor’s staff with their own Harlem Shake video. The mayor wrapped up his remarks, practically shouting to be heard over the all-too-familiar music.