It was well past 11:00 p.m., and a couple thousand Bloomberg supporters were still waiting in the Metropolitan Ballroom of the Sheraton Hotel for the mayor to show up. They were an enthusiastic group, shouting slogans of “four more years” while noshing on giant soft pretzels, popcorn, and sliders, all paid for by Mayor Mike. If it weren’t for the fact that everyone was constantly checking their Blackberries, people seemed to actually be having a lot of fun.
Despite Bloomberg’s strong Wall Street backing and a larger-than-normal contingent of people who looked like they had just graduated from business school, people from every slice of New York City life showed up to party (at 11:30 people were still waiting in line to go in) — and many gave widely varying reasons people gave for supporting the mayor. A Trinidadian real estate broker from East New York had been a volunteer on every one of Bloomberg’s campaigns. “That’s my boy,” she said. “I love him.” She went on:”When I first came to this city, in 1970, everything was a hassle. You had to call a number to find out whether the buses were running, and wait for hours on the phone. Now all I do is call 3-1-1. He gave us 3-1-1!” The woman, Jennifer Pinto, said she viewed term limits “as a promotion.”
But she was quick to explain that simply because she supported Bloomberg wholeheartedly did not mean she wouldn’t take him to task on certain issues. “We fought him on Sunday parking. Remember when he wanted to charge for Sunday parking? Oh, we beat him up for that. And what I like about him, is that, he takes defeat in stride.”
But has the prosperity of the past decade that Bloomberg even reached East New York? Couldn’t the administration have done more for places that were left out of the economic boom? Pinto, who agreed East New York was “almost all bad,” said the she had seen some improvements. “I see the parks around my house. And there are some flowers in them now. And I think, ‘It has to be Bloomberg!'”
But not all supporters took such a forgiving view of the term limits issue. Another woman, a Dominican-born Manhattanite who also said she was an adoring supporter and a volunteer for every campaign, said she deeply disagreed with his decision to disregard the results of two public referendums on term limits. “But nobody has to be fantastic in every way,” she pointed out, in Spanish. The positives far outweighed the negatives.
Bloomberg supporters don’t have the gaga attitude of Obama supporters by any means. But then they know their issues. For some it was the schools. “I can send my child to public high school in New York, and not have to worry,” said Erica Hamilton, whose kids go to P.S. 282 in Park Slope. “It wasn’t always like that.” Another supporter – who worked for the city, but would not say where – said he was impressed with the health commissioner, Dr. Thomas Farley, who is now being tapped for the CDC. “Bloomberg picks good people,” the man said. For some it was the campaign itself. A woman who had recently moved from Long Island and now worked for the Bronx campaign office said that no only had Bloomberg printed promotional literature in many languages, he had in produced literature that appealed to specific ethnic groups, like Dominicans, that speak the same language. She said he kept in meticulous touch with the young campaign managers that staffed all the offices. “I’ve worked for campaigns for veterans of the civil rights movement in Baltimore,” she said. “I’ve never seen management skills like that.”