Mystery smell secret revealed! The Mayor said “We do take this stuff very seriously,” so he and representatives of the Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Health (in cooperation with Jersey authorities) tracked down the source of the mysterious maple syrup smell that has been noted on and off for years along Manhattan’s West Side. Apparently it comes from a food manufacturer called Frutarom in North Bergen, which does processing (“extraction, spray drying, blending,” says the description) of seeds and citrus materials. Bloomberg assured reporters at a hastily-called press conference that the smell, while (as we said) mysterious, is perfectly safe, and (though Frutarom has in the past been cited for pollution) “I never smelled it,” Bloomberg said, “but I do like maple sugar syrup on my french toast.”
Reporters then asked the Mayor questions about money and he got a little testy.
Queried on the flap over executive bonuses, he said, “These bonuses you talk about… they are how our people in all industries get paid… we are dependent of Wall Street finance.” He said he wanted to do everything possible to keep high rollers happy and local, and pointed out that “One percent of the taxpayers here pay 44 percent of our taxes”; if half of them go, Bloomberg said, New York loses a fifth of its tax base. “We want to make sure that people who do well stay here,” he said. “That is our tax base.”
The Mayor offered some anecdotes about the lousy economy. “Real estate agents are petrified by what’s happening,” he said. Then he told a “disaster story” about someone who lost money on Madoff and had to give up a house, which we guess is his version of this. Also, “someone went to one of the big department stores, there were only four people on the whole floor.” (Maybe they were here.)
Asked about the Obama executive salary cap, Bloomberg first assured reporters that he appreciated that “the President’s job is a very tough one.” He said the cap would impact “very very few people, almost nobody… it’s for people down the road who take money in excess, and I don’t know what that means.”
But he added that “it’s probably not great for the government to try to tell companies how to run their businesses. The government’s never been good at that. The last government that really tried it en masse was the old USSR, that didn’t work out very well.” But he did admit that “if you take public moneys, you gotta understand, there are going to be strings attached. My suggest to companies is, don’t get yourself in a situation where you gotta get bailed out.”
Someone asked about if he would limit his campaign spending based on what other candidates were spending, and Bloomberg said he didn’t understand the question, which was “the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard,” and declined to answer until the reporter could better formulate it. Someone else brought it up again and Bloomberg said “you have to talk to the campaign, we’re not talking about the campaign.” He added that he would “self-finance — I don’t need the public money.” Another pesky reporter persisted, and Bloomberg said it was important that he be able to “get a message out” about his mayoralty; “sometimes,” he said, “some reporters don’t accurately describe what we have done, are doing, or will do.” Still the press drones buzzed, and Bloomberg walked out with a curt “Thank you very much.”