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PR- 197-09
May 4, 2009


Following are Mayor Bloomberg’s remarks as delivered at Our Lady of Good Counsel Roman Catholic Church on Staten Island this morning

“Cardinal Egan, Pastor Peter Finn, Mayor Koch, Borough President Molinaro and all the other elected officials, Maria Louisa, Joan, Aline, and all of John’s family and friends are here with us today.

“As Mayor of the City of New York, let me extend the condolences of all 8.3 million citizens. I’m honored to have been asked to speak this morning. Although I have to admit, there is another mayor that John might have preferred, the Mayor of the City of Staten Island. But I am glad there is no mayor of Staten Island. If the borough had seceded in the 1990s, New York City would have had to let John Marchi go, and everyone in this church knows today just how hard that is.

“John was a man of grace a man of integrity, a man who never backed away from a cause he thought was right, but a man who always put his faith, his family and his heritage at the center of his life. Will we ever see someone like him again? It’s a question that’s been asked a number of times in the last couple weeks. Will we ever see anyone like him who could balance a passion for the issues with such a steady pragmatism? A feat made all the more amazing considering that it happened in Albany, a city not always known for politicians with such attributes – present company excluded of course.

“Will we ever see someone who played such an integral role in the life of a single borough? Building the College of Staten Island, creating Snug Harbor, closing Fresh Kills, saving the City from bankruptcy. Will we ever see someone who was more committed to his constituency? Fifty years of service. In fact, his only commitment that lasted longer than that was to Maria Louisa, sixty amazing years.

“So I think the answer is we will never see again the likes of Senator John J. Marchi. He was in a class by himself and that’s a great word for him: Class. It’s probably why during his storied career in government, he received more than 2.5 million votes while being elected 24 times. I was tempted to make a comment about term limits here but I want you to know I am refraining.

“John was a true Staten Island icon. And it’s for those reasons that in 2004, I was so pleased to honor him with a new ferryboat that bears his name. Some of you may have even taken it over this morning. At the time of the boat’s christening, I noted that during John’s second race for mayor 30 years earlier, one of the issues he ran on was the purchase of new ferry boats. And I joked to him that it just goes to show it is possible to get action from City Hall if you stay with an issue long enough.

“I guess it’s fitting that John got to spend his final days in Tuscany. John was fiercely proud of his Italian heritage, and I see our Consulate General from Italy is here with us today. Next to Staten Island, he thought Italy was as close to heaven as you could get. How wonderful, then, that his final journey had a stop in la bella patria.

“Maria Louisa, the contribution, ethics and standards to our country and city that your husband and my predecessor, Ed Koch, have made the standard by which all public servants that succeed the two of them will be measured. We will miss John, but I trust Ed will stay around for many years to remind us of exactly the contribution that Ed, and other people like him have made and how we should all conduct ourselves. So, arrivederci John. May God bless your memory. May God bless all the lives that you touched. And may God continue to bless the city, the borough and most importantly the country that you served. God bless.”


Stu Loeser   (212) 788-2958

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