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Commuting

Mayor Bloomberg’s Morning Commute

11:25 AM EDT on August 1, 2007

The New York Times metro desk has been staking out "MetroCard" Mayor Michael Bloomberg's morning commute for the past five weeks. At first, reporter Michael Grynbaum and his colleagues Cassi Feldman and Cristina Maldonado thought they had a big scoop, according to a reporter's diary on City Room:

We would be following the mayor’s morning commute, and we set out atfirst to determine his basic routine. Taking our cue from past reportsthat placed him at the 77th Street stop on weekday mornings, The Timessent reporters Cassi Feldman and Cristina Maldonado (and me) to themayor’s Beaux-Arts townhouse and nearby points on the Upper East Side.

For the first few days, we thought we had an amazing scoop: The mayor never takes the subway at all!

The waiting Suburbans would pick up their passenger and zip off, butthe reporter at the 77th Street subway never saw Mr. Bloomberg arrive.Newspaper vendors and M.T.A. employees at the station all said the samething: The mayor doesn’t come here.

Upon further investigation, the reporters learned that the Mayor's commute isn't exactly typical:

On mornings that he takes the subway from home, Mr. Bloomberg ispicked up at his Upper East Side town house by a pair of king-sizeChevrolet Suburbans. The mayor is driven 22 blocks to the subwaystation at 59th Street and Lexington Avenue, where he can board anexpress train to City Hall. His drivers zip past his neighborhoodstation, a local subway stop a five-minute walk away.

That meansMr. Bloomberg — whose much-discussed subway rides have become anindelible component of his public image — spends a quarter of hisostensibly subterranean commute in an S.U.V.

So, what do people think? Is Bloomberg just a huge hypocrite or is there still virtue in a Mayor who could easily drive the whole way to work in the plush comfort of his Chevy Suburban but still chooses to get out and use the subway every so often?

Guess how the anti-congestion pricing lobby, self-styled defenders of the common man, is spinning it?

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