Michael Bloomberg Doesn't Think There Are Panhandlers on the Subway

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Mayor Michael Bloomberg interrupted a reporter today to claim that "there aren't many panhandlers left" on New York City subways, "in all fairness to the MTA, come on," he said, calling the premise of the question a "cheap shot." Celebrated for taking the subway like a normal person (but not really -- more on that in a second), Bloomberg apparently does something quite impressive: he closes his eyes and ears for the duration of his commute! Or he has a warped perception of "aren't many."

"I'd love to live in whatever city the mayor lives in -- it's an entirely different one from the one that I and eight million other New Yorkers live in," retorted Joel Berg, head of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger to NBC New York.

As for his time on the train, back in 2007, the Times followed Bloomberg for five weeks and recounted how he rides the train: two Chevy Suburbans picked him up at home and drive him 22 blocks to the 59th Street and Lexington Ave. station, skipping a few stations closer to his house, where he hopped a train to City Hall. Even then, Bloomberg's subway use was said to be declining.

Now a lame duck, Bloomberg appears to be willing the city better through words -- fantasy -- and, judging by the video clip of the press conference, attitude.

[jcoscarelli@villagevoice.com / @joecoscarelli]


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