Mayor Bloomberg was in London yesterday, meeting with Sir Callum McCarthy of the Financial Services Authority. Last month, the Mayor, along with Governor Spitzer and Senator Schumer, declared that NYC's status as the world's number one financial center was slipping. One reason they cited that global business was shifting to places like London was because London only has on regulatory body - the FSA. The Mayor said, "The FSA is an example of the kind of streamlined and responsive regulatory framework Congress must implement if New York City is to remain the financial capital of the world." Good luck getting that to happen, Mr. Mayor.

And the Mayor made another stop in Ireland to announce a tourism effort and encourage visits to New York City. More importantly, the mayor was urging the Irish to "shop while the dollar drops." You have to love that about Bloomberg, trying to make lemonade out of the lemons that would be the weak state of the dollar. This continues the city's European initiative: In December, the city launched NYC Open/Book to show how cheap NYC relative to the British pound, and apparently, Italy and Spain are next on the list.

The Mayor is back in the states today; he's headed up to Albany to testify about Governor Spitzer's new budget. Spitzer proposed cutting $350 million to NYC, which City Comptroller William Thompson is concerned about "but fully understands that the governor is admirably moving ahead to meet demands across the state, and particularly to revive the upstate economy." (Thompson would be okay with the cut if it's a one year-only deal.)

Photograph of Mayor Bloomberg with Nicole Darby, an Irish dancer, at Ireland's Knock airport yesterday by Peter Morrison; there are now direct flights between JFK and Knock Airport in Ireland