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Transcript: Mayor de Blasio Holds Media Availability After Marching in Rockaways St. Patrick's Parade

March 7, 2015

Mayor Bill de Blasio: All right, excellent. Okay, would you like to begin?

Question: Sure.

Mayor: Okay. 

Question: So, you joined the route halfway through.

Mayor: Yes.

Question: You were about a half-hour or so late, any reason for the lateness? Any reason joining the route halfway through? There were a lot of crowds before that saying, where's the mayor, where's our ferry?

Mayor: Sure. We – look, first of all, with each parade, we handle it differently depending on when we can get to it. A lot of parades, we do a piece of it rather than the whole thing. It really depends on the parade and the circumstances. We had some meetings at Gracie Mansion today – it took a while – some stuff we had to deal with. And then we came up as soon as possible after that.

Question: How did you travel to the – how did you travel to the peninsula today?

Mayor: How did we get out here? On the police boat.

Question: And did you – what time did you leave, because the –

Mayor: They'll let you know – I don't know the time.

Question: The press office said 2 pm.

Mayor: Well, I'm sure they can confirm everything for you.

Question: When you arriving – 2 pm –

Mayor: Whatever. I'll get you – we'll get you the details.

Question: Mr. Mayor, as you walked along the route, there was a mix of reactions –

Mayor: Yes.

Question: There were some boos. What do you feel – how do you feel after hearing those shouts from folks, and what they had to say –

Mayor: I feel – welcome to New York City. You know, people of our city have strong views on everything, and certainly that's true in the Rockaways as well, and you're going to get some people who agree, some people who disagree – it's normal. It's fine. It's just part of life, and you know, I think one of the things that you've got to do as a leader is, you know, set the course, make your decisions – you're not here to please everyone. But I do think a lot of people also agree with a lot of the policies, and we heard that today too.

Question: Mayor, who were meeting with today that you couldn't be on time?

Mayor: Excuse me?

Question: Who were you meeting with?

Mayor: We had a meeting regarding education policy. We'll get you details. 

Question: Mr. Mayor, your comments on [inaudible] the killing of [inaudible] Madison, Wisconsin?

Mayor: We don't have the facts on it yet, obviously. We'll see more information as it develops. I don't have the facts on it yet.

Question: A lot of Queens residents were talking about –

Question: [inaudible] they had to work [inaudible]?

Mayor: I'm sorry, what's that?

Question: Some of the sanitation workers were upset because they couldn't march today, because they had to work. Do you have a comment –

Mayor: Well, I don't know the details but I can say broadly – we've asked a lot of sanitation workers the last few months. It's been a very tough situation. You know, we've had – certainly the month of February was the coldest since, I think, 1934. It's put a big strain on sanitation, but we've had to ask a lot of them, because there's been a lot of need. So, I hope as many people were able to march as possible. I greeted some of the sanitation workers earlier. But they've had a really big job the last couple of months. We depended on them as a city, and I think they've done an amazing job. 

Question: [inaudible]

Mayor: Excuse me? 

Question: When will that happen?

Mayor: What's that?

Question: When are you going to march in the parade in Manhattan?

Mayor: Well, at this moment, I don't plan to march based on the information we have, of how it's going to be set up. If something changes, we'll certainly let you know. But at this moment, I do not plan to march.

Question: [inaudible]

Mayor: Hold on. Someone who hasn't gotten a chance yet.

Question: [inaudible] office been in touch with the parade committee at Fifth Avenue, to try to work out a compromise [inaudible]?

Mayor: People from my office have been in touch with the parade committee. And we've certainly talked to other interested parties. And I think a lot of people would love to find a compromise, but so far there has not been one.

Question: [inaudible]

Mayor: Anyone who hasn't gone yet, first. We'll come back to you. We're not going anywhere. Anyone who has not gotten a shot. 

Phil: All right, let's just do this last one and then we'll call it a day.

Question: A lot of the concerns of the people along the route were about transportation issues. And now this is the second time you've been to Rockaway and been significantly late. Do you think that there's a correlation between –

Mayor: No, of course not. I think people are going to seriously talk about transportation issues. We have made very clear that there will be permanent ferry service in the Rockaways as part of a citywide ferry system. That is a solution. That's a long term solution. You know, I'm not surprised when anyone wants to fixate on little moments and controversies. If we really want to talk about what's going to help the people of the Rockaways, let's talk about permanent ferry service, which was one of the centerpieces of my State of the City remarks, and which is going to happen. And I think it's going to have a great impact on the Rockaways, and in combination with the affordable housing we're going to build here, what we're going to do to strengthen the schools here, and what we're going to do for the economic development – I think it's all going to add up to a lot for the Rockaways.

Question: [inaudible] ferry could come sooner? 

Mayor: Say again?

Question: People are saying 2017 is a long time away. Is there any way it –

Mayor: We are creating a citywide ferry system that is going to be the price of a Metrocard. There's a couple of differences here than what was before – remember, what was created before was a temporary service until the different trains were back online. The trains did go back online in October, and that's why it was time to end the temporary service. This is going to be an entirely different thing. This is going to be ferry service from the Rockaways connected to multiple sites all over the city, for the price of a Metrocard. We're going to find other ways to make sure that people have maximum access to the ferry – a shuttle bus, or other means that will help people get to the ferry. I think it's going to have a transcendent impact on the Rockaways, but to do all of those pieces will take a little time. If we find a way to do it sooner, that'd be great, but we've tried to be realistic about the time we think it will take.

Phil: All right, thank you guys. 

Question: [inaudible] parade allows gay groups to march – do you think there's a lesson to the Fifth Avenue organizers?

Mayor: Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, this is wonderful parade – tremendous pride expressed here – and people come together regardless of their background, and everyone celebrates Irish heritage together. And I think it's a healthy example for the city, as is the St. Pat's for All Parade in Sunnyside, Queens. So, I think, you know, this is what we should be aspiring to. I believe we will get there one day on Fifth Avenue. I hope – I hope it's sooner rather than later, but this is a great example of what we should be doing. 

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