Vogel: A mayor grows in Brooklyn
Brooklyn is in the house!
Well, soon anyway. The house is Gracie Mansion, and for the first time in memory, a Brooklynite will occupy it come 2014.
Park Slope Democrat Bill de Blasio and Brooklyn Heights Republican Joe Lhota trounced their primary opponents last week and will meet in a Battle of Brooklyn this November.
Many Manhattanites have long disparaged the "bridge & tunnel" crowd: those from the outer boroughs, Long Island and New Jersey. Now they're about to live their worst nightmare: a B&T mayor who may not put their needs first.
Meanwhile many people in the boroughs seethe with resentment against "the city." As they struggle to dig out after a big snowstorm, they see Manhattan streets have been plowed almost instantly. When the city supported a plan to seize 13 acres in Flushing Meadows Corona Park to build a soccer stadium, officials were surprised at the outcry from Queens residents protective of their green space. Can you imagine if the city had proposed a similar idea to carve up Central Park?
It's no shock that many in the boroughs feel their mayor hasn't been in touch with their pain and issues for decades -- which may be why de Blasio's "Tale of Two Cities" strikes such a nerve. While Rudy Giuliani, David Dinkins and Ed Koch all resided in Manhattan, too, they at least had family ties and histories elsewhere in the metropolitan area.
Not Bloomberg, a billionaire from Boston whose view of the city has always seemed to consider Manhattan its crown jewel, served by worker bees commuting in from the boroughs.
That mayoral outlook is about to change.
De Blasio and Lhota have already started flaunting their borough bona fides. When they met last week campaigning on the Staten Island Ferry, Lhota chirped, "That's the first Democrat I've seen in my 88 visits to Staten Island."
The truth is that de Blasio is a Brooklyn neighborhood guy whose kids attend public schools. My brother, who lives in Park Slope, often sees the candidate and his son at the local Y.
With Bill Thompson's concession Monday, the die is cast: One of Brooklyn's own will be our next mayor. Revenge of the B&Ts is at hand.
Playwright Mike Vogel blogs at newyorkgritty.net.