New York City's frequently tardy mayor, Bill de Blasio, arrived a half-hour late Saturday to a Rockaway Beach St. Patrick's parade, irritating some residents who already harbor grievances against him.
"He should spring ahead an hour and a half tonight," said Tricia McGee, 43, referring to daylight saving time.
"He dissed us at the opening of the parade," fumed Richard Berger, 60, a retired emergency medical services worker. "He'll definitely be a one-term mayor. And I voted for him!"StoryDe Blasio's late arrival at memorial angers some relativesColumnJanison: De Blasio's mayoral reputation takes shape
De Blasio blamed education policy meetings at Gracie Mansion that ran late. He arrived at about 1:30 p.m. at Beach 117th Street, instead of 1 p.m. at Beach 129th, missing almost half the route of the Queens County St. Patrick's Day Parade.
Many in the crowd applauded the mayor's presence, but dozens jeered him over long-simmering complaints on the Rockaway peninsula: still-unrepaired homes from superstorm Sandy, a destroyed boardwalk and his decision to discontinue a popular ferry service.
"Bring back our ferry, you bum!" shouted Kalvis Macs, 44. "What about our boardwalk?"
"Go back to Brooklyn! We don't want you here!" called out Kathleen McMullen, 69.
Colleen Vielandi was more diplomatic, telling the mayor: "God bless you, Mayor de Blasio." She explained later: "Although we disagree, he's still our mayor, and he's here today honoring us, respecting us, and we respect that."
Word that de Blasio had traveled via an NYPD ferry, and still arrived late, incensed some in the crowd. "How do you take a ferry here -- late! -- to honor people and then you take a ferry away from people that need to get to work every day? It just doesn't seem fair," said McGee.
De Blasio has announced plans for a new ferry service, but not until 2017.
Four months ago, de Blasio missed a moment of silence and tolling of a bell on the peninsula after riding a police boat to a memorial service for the 265 victims of a 2001 plane crash in Belle Harbor. He first blamed fog, and then admitted he'd had trouble sleeping and apologized.
Saturday, he shrugged off criticism: "Welcome to New York City. You know, people of our city have strong views on everything, and certainly that's true of the Rockaways as well."
The Queens parade does not exclude gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender groups, unlike the biggest St. Patrick's parade on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, which for the first time will allow such a group, but only one. De Blasio said that isn't enough and he won't march. No LGBT groups actually marched Saturday, but they are welcome, said parade organizer John Murphy.