Pandas, the amazing and lazy mammals who instantly induce squees and awwwws, are basically the only thing that NYC doesn't have, in spite of our illustrious history. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney has been trying to bring two great pandas here, but she says Mayor de Blasio isn't helping things at all.
Maloney would like the pandas to reside in the Central Park Zoo (it's in her district after all), but said on John Catsimatidis’ radio show that it's not easy. The Post reports, "'They [Chinese authorities] requested a letter either from the governor or from the mayor, and the mayor wasn’t interested,' Maloney growled... 'He [de Blasio] doesn’t like horses [in Central Park] and I guess he doesn’t like pandas [either],' she continued, adding that Gov. Cuomo backs her efforts and has dispatched state Parks commissioner Rose Harvey to bear testimony in favor of the effort."
She also pointed out, "We have everything else. We’re the center of finance, culture, Broadway, fashion, communication, you name it... The one thing we don’t have are two great pandas. I think it would be great for tourism, great for the school children." Breaking: De Blasio Hates School Children And Their Panda Dreams!
A City Hall official told the Post that the mayor's team has spoken to the Central Park and Bronx Zoos but "neither... think this is a good idea, as pandas are incredibly expensive to maintain."
No kidding: It costs about $1 million/year per panda to lease a panda from China. Then pandas need special exhibits and zookeepers have to get the pandas to procreate (if successful, the zoo has to pay a $600,000 panda cub fee to China). Back in 2005, the Washington Post reported, "Washington, Atlanta, Memphis and San Diego, collectively spent $33 million more on pandas from 2000 to 2003 than they received in revenue from exhibiting them."