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De Blasio arrived late to his own goodbye party

New York Post
New York Post
 2021-12-31

The perennially tardy Mayor de Blasio was two hours late to his own farewell festivities.

The lame-duck leader was scheduled to commemorate his final day at City Hall Thursday with a “walkout ceremony” outside the building at 3:00 p.m. Thursday.

De Blasio had planned the ceremony a day before his official last day in office. Mayor-elect Eric Adams will take over at midnight on Dec. 31.

But first, the Staten Island funeral for FDNY lieutenant Joseph Maiello, who died on the job, ran late, forcing de Blasio who spoke at the event to push his ultimate press briefing back from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and his walkout from 3:00 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.

While the mayor arrived at City Hall at 2:30 p.m. — to the sound of hecklers shouting “Go home, don’t let the door hit you in the ass!” and “Hope you and your wife go to jail!”– he didn’t start the press briefing until 3:15 p.m.

The mayor played a video of his accomplishments at the top of the briefing then grew weepy as his wife Chirlane McCray and son Dante de Blasio joined him to screen a second short film of prominent New Yorkers like feminist Gloria Steinman and U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer thanking him for his public service.

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Workers move the podium inside after protesters cause commotion outside.
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Hecklers shouting “Hope you and your wife go to jail!”

“We just caught hell the whole way through,” de Blasio told reporters when asked about his infamously antagonistic relationship with former Gov. Cuomo.

Indeed, even with Cuomo gone de Blasio was still feeling the heat.

The briefing wrapped up by 4:30 p.m. Yet the walkout ceremony didn’t get underway until 5:00 p.m. as city workers scrambled to move a podium and other equipment indoors because over 50 protestors including Trump supporters and opponents of de Blasio’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates raged outside the City Hall gates.

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Trump supporters and opponents of de Blasio’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates raged outside the City Hall gates.
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Ring wing protestors gathered outside City Hall with goodbye signs.

One duo carried a sign that read “Buy-Bye s–thead” and others yelled profanities through bullhorns including “a–hole.”

Another detractor drove up to the gates in an SUV blaring Ray Charles’ “Hit the road Jack!”

As about 100 de Blasio supporters crammed inside the City Hall rotunda for his goodbye speech, the city’s Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi stood nervously by the front door.

For the past several weeks as Omicron has surged, driving up COVID cases and hospitalizations to unprecedented levels, Chokshi has urged New Yorkers to avoid large indoor gatherings.

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Mayor Bill De Blasio and his wife, First Lady Chirlane McCray celebrate.
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Mayor Bill de Blasio thanked his wife McCray for her support throughout the years.

By 5:30 p.m. de Blasio had finished his speech where he thanked his wife McCray and other longtime administration officials including First Deputy Mayor Dean Fuleihan and Chief of Staff Emma Wolfe, But instead of walking out the front door of City Hall as planned, he returned to his office.

The unexpected move left a phalanx of news cameras waiting in the dark.

“He is doing more work in his office,” mayoral press secretary Danielle Filson told The Post.

Meanwhile, a few dozen protestors remained outside the City Hall gates to say their own goodbyes.

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