A group of Irish-Americans booed Mayor Bloomberg today after a bizarre comment he made in a speech at the American Irish Historical Society on Fifth Avenue. Bloomberg was on hand for the launch of the book "Celebrating 250 Years of the New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade" by Irish American historian John Ridge. In the first moments of his speech, the mayor reportedly broke the ice by reminding the audience that he lived nearby and was used to seeing "inebriated Irish hanging out the windows" at the Society. That didn't exactly warm up the crowd.
Irish Central reports that Bloomberg's comments was met with boos, but the mayor soldiered on with his speech, reportedly continuing in "a strange vein," asking when the parade was being held. In what may have been an attempt to save himself by shifting focus to those swarthy garlic-eating Italians, the mayor reportedly remarked that "it was good it was always on the same day so he wouldn't confuse it with Columbus Day." Heh, all these immigrant parades look the same!
Asked about his comment later, Bloomberg told reporters, "Now, I was talking about a party that they have every year on Saint Patrick’s Day where they sort of—it’s traditional to hang out the window and yell and scream, and it’s in good fun, and I certainly didn’t mean anything that anybody should take offense to, but anybody that’s been to the Saint Patrick’s Day parade—at least for as many years as I have—it’s a beautiful building, it’s a great organization. They have a very good time on Saint Patrick’s Day. I just wish that I didn’t have to march in the parade. I’d rather be up there with them, particularly when it’s cold."
Update 2:41 p.m.: In a statement, the mayor added, "I apologize, I certainly did not mean to offend anybody."