Mayor Bill de Blasio’s teenage son Dante raised some eyebrows yesterday when he seemed to boast to a friend that he was working on convincing his dad to call a snow day and cancel schools.
But Mr. de Blasio didn’t seem to mind the prodding, telling reporters today it was perfectly expected.
“You know what George Washington said, that famous thing about he cannot tell a lie? So I cannot tell a lie. If Dante was not lobbying me there’d be something wrong with him. Of course, he’s 16!” the newly-minted mayor told Politicker, speaking at a storm briefing at a Queens sanitation department garage this morning.
Mr. de Blasio nevertheless said it took more than his son’s prodding to convince him to make the call. “Unfortunately the decision takes many more factors into account than Dante’s opinions, so the fact is, this was a very tough decision … and it’s not something you do lightly,” he said.
After the younger de Blasio’s Facebook conversation made its rounds yesterday, his mom, Chirlane McCray, publicly posted a photo of a shovel and salt, captioned: “What Dante will be doing if he does not go to school tomorrow.”
And indeed, both father and son were spotted by news crews early this morning shoveling away–a perfect-for-the-cameras moment the mayor felt compelled to share with the gathered press.
“Here in my notes, an important fact I just want to clarify that I did some of my own shoveling, as I mentioned. But after that, someone who did not go to school today picked up his shovel and got to work doing his share. So, Dante is not an early riser, but he has now contributed to the clearing of the sidewalks of our city, commissioner,” he told sanitation chief John Doherty, adding that the two had divided the job.
“Dante did from the door to the sidewalk and then he’s doing more on the sidewalk as it accumulates. And he will be in charge from this point on. I think I led by example and now it’s time for the young generation to pick up the challenge,” he joked.
Asked later by a reporter to grade his son’s work, Mr. de Blasio was quick to offer praise.
“I give Dante a A for effort and a B for punctuality,” said Mr. de Blasio, a self-described night owl–who is known neither for his punctuality nor his early rising.
But Mr. de Blasio stressed that today he’d been up before the crack of dawn, repeatedly referencing a 4 a.m. conference call to decide whether or not to shutter schools.
“I was one of the most informed people in New York City at 4 a.m. this morning,” said the new mayor.