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Bill de Blasio

On Sunday, the Mayor Took A Different Walk (and a LONGER Drive from Gracie Mansion!)

4:42 PM EDT on April 12, 2020

The mayor’s familiar detail — a Pacifica hybrid and an SUV — in Green-Wood Cemetery on Easter Sunday. Photo: Tipster

The good news: On Sunday, Mayor de Blasio did not take a 12-mile drive from Gracie Mansion so he could walk in Prospect Park.

The bad news? He drove further: To Green-Wood Cemetery, roughly 2.1 miles further from the Grand Army Plaza entrance of the beloved Olmsted and Vaux masterwork.

Our tipster spotted the Mayor and the First Lady entering the fabled boneyard at around 3:10 p.m. on a glorious Easter Sunday. The eagle-eyed tipster, who requested anonymity (and the pronoun they) because they do business with the city, said the mayor had on a blue bandana, and his wife, Chirlane McCray, donned a face mask, too.

Google shows how much further the mayor was driven from the northern entrance to Prospect Park vs. the Fifth Avenue entrance to Greenwood Cemetery.
Google shows how much further the mayor was driven from the northern entrance to Prospect Park vs. the Fifth Avenue entrance to Greenwood Cemetery.
Google shows how much further the mayor was driven from the northern entrance to Prospect Park vs. the Fifth Avenue entrance to Greenwood Cemetery.

A spokeswoman for City Hall said the mayor was driven to Green-Wood Cemetery to take what has become a regular walk in Brooklyn — one that he typically takes in Prospect Park, despite bottomless controversy. He was not visiting a specific gravesite or family plot, which many people of faith do on Easter, the spokeswoman said.

It is widely known that residents of the neighborhood surrounding the historic cemetery are taking walks in the space, given the crowding in Prospect Park, let alone most sidewalks. The cemetery is the final resting place of legendary figures such as DeWitt Clinton, Louis Comfort Tiffany, William “Boss” Tweed, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Leonard Bernstein, Horace Greeley, abolitionist Henry Ward Beecher and baseball inventor Henry Chadwick

“Green-Wood’s 478 acres of pristine and verdant green space is a peaceful oasis where all New Yorkers, including Mayor de Blasio, are welcomed to find respite during these uncertain times," said Green-Wood President Richard Moylan. "With miles and miles of winding paths lined with breathtaking blooming trees, glacial ponds, and exquisite architecture and sculpture, our historic landscape is worlds away from the turmoil of the day."

The mayor's continuing drives from Gracie Mansion to Brooklyn to find suitable space for recreation remains ironic, given that the mayor last Sunday ended his own 11-day pilot program to create open space for socially responsible exercise. Had that program still been in place, the mayor could merely have been driven 3.5 miles from Gracie Mansion to the car-free portion of Park Avenue that he created under the plan.

If the scrubbed program had been expanded, perhaps the mayor could even have biked or walked to the new open space.

But the mayor has said several times that his program could not be continued because it required too many police officers to enforce, a statement that reflects the mayor's belief in how open space should be managed more than an objective reality (check out our video here). Many cities are opening up roadways for socially responsible recreation without needing the services of police.

Indeed, as the mayor walked in Green-Wood Cemetery, someone in his "team" was reviewing a just-started program in Oakland, California, that shut 73 miles of local roadways to cars. The mayor said on Saturday that City Hall would evaluate the Oakland plan before undercutting it, claiming the East Bay city "has nowhere near the population or the density we have." In fact, many areas of Oakland are equally as dense as parts of New York City.

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