NY press corps yuks it up with Bloomberg

After the arrest of 26 journalists at Zuccotti Park, the mayor jokes about it with reporters

Topics: Occupy Wall Street, Michael Bloomberg, Occupy Movement, ,

NY press corps yuks it up with BloombergNew York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (Credit: Reuters/Mike Segar)

[UPDATED BELOW]

On Tuesday, one lucky group of New York City journalists were treated to an evening of drinks, pizza squares, and funny gift exchanges at Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s annual Holiday Party for local press.

In attendance this year were reporters from the New York Times, the New York Post, the New York Daily News, CBS, Fox, and other outlets. The journalists, no doubt straining to retain their “objectivity” throughout, were able to schmooze with dignitaries such as Bloomberg’s longtime partner Diana Taylor (who sits on the Board of Directors for Brookfield Properties, the retail firm that partially owns Zuccotti Park) and Paul Browne, spokesperson for the New York City Police Department.

Bloomberg made sure to crack a few jokes at the expense of Occupy Wall Street, whose encampment he ordered forcibly cleared on November 15, by way of a surprise paramilitary style raid. Reporters attempting to cover the police action were harassed, assaulted, and barred from viewing the area — for their own protection, Bloomberg later claimed. (Congressman Jerrold Nadler, who represents the Financial District, has since called on Attorney General Eric Holder to launch an investigation.) All told, police arrested at least ten journalists.

In response, the New York Times, along with The Associated Press, the New York Post, the Daily News, Thomson Reuters, Dow Jones & Company, WABC, WCBS, and WNBC sent a strongly worded letter to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly denouncing the NYPD’s conduct during the raid.

None of this stopped New York City’s press corps from laughing it up with the mayor last night.

“I know only five of you in here have actual press credentials,” Bloomberg reportedly quipped, a reference to his office’s assertion that a mere five of the twenty-six journalists arrested overall displayed city-issued press passes.



“There were so many little jokes” about OWS over the course of the night, Nida Khan, a reporter/producer who attended told me. “You could see the awkward reaction from people in the room. Some laughed at these jokes, others were just uncomfortable.”

Bloomberg bestowed “gag gifts” upon a number of journalists, quipping that they “are reserved only for ‘the one percent,’” according to Fernanda Santos, an education reporter for the New York Times. Santos herself received  a fake Department of Education “VIP Security Pass.”

“I had no reservations going to the party,” Santos told me. “It’s a good time and a fun tradition the mayor’s press office started some years back.”

In return, Dave Seifman, a longtime columnist for the New York Post, presented Bloomberg with gag gifts on behalf of “Room 9” — the group of journalists who regularly cover City Hall. Rich Lamb, of CBS Radio, served as his “Vanna White,” according to an attendee.

One of the gifts was a tarp that Seifman said “they picked up from the Sanitation Department on the West Side,” Khan recalled. This, of course, was a mocking reference to the NYPD’s forced seizure of tarps, tents, laptops, and many other items in Zuccotti Park, which were thrown into sanitation trucks and dumped in a massive pile at a warehouse-type facility on West 57th Street.

Bloomberg draped himself in the tarp and posed briefly with it, attendees said. Todd Maisel of the New York Daily news tweeted a photo of Bloomberg smiling from ear-to-ear.

The meeting is presumed to be off-the-record, though no formal guidelines are unstated, according to several journalists who  were there. Maisel, the photographer, described the mood as “light-hearted.”

“The mayor sometimes deals with tough issues with humor,” he said. After taking the photo, Maisel told me, one of Bloomberg’s aides came over and expressed concern to him about the optics. “They try to deflect bad press from the mayor. But the mayor — he doesn’t care that much.”

And on the menu, according to an attendee?

“Pulled pork on tortilla chips, shrimp dumplings, pizza squares with sausage, pizza squares with mushrooms, and some kind of spicy (buffalo?) chicken stew, served in small white cups with a slice of jalapeno pepper on top.”

Sounds delicious!

UPDATE: This article originally stated that 26 journalists were arrested during the Nov. 15 raid on Zuccotti Park. In fact, 26 journalists have been arrested since the beginning of the movement, while at least 10 were arrested on that particular day. The article has been changed to reflect this.

Michael Tracey is a writer based in New York. His work has appeared in The Nation, Mother Jones, Reason, The American Conservative, and other publications. Follow him on Twitter @mtracey

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 14
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Pilot"

    One of our first exposures to uncomfortable “Girls” sex comes early, in the pilot episode, when Hannah and Adam “get feisty” (a phrase Hannah hates) on the couch. The pair is about to go at it doggy-style when Adam nearly inserts his penis in “the wrong hole,” and after Hannah corrects him, she awkwardly explains her lack of desire to have anal sex in too many words. “Hey, let’s play the quiet game,” Adam says, thrusting. And so the romance begins.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Elijah, "It's About Time"

    In an act of “betrayal” that messes up each of their relationships with Hannah, Marnie and Elijah open Season 2 with some more couch sex, which is almost unbearable to watch. Elijah, who is trying to explore the “hetero side” of his bisexuality, can’t maintain his erection, and the entire affair ends in very uncomfortable silence.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Charlie, "Vagina Panic"

    Poor Charlie. While he and Marnie have their fair share of uncomfortable sex over the course of their relationship, one of the saddest moments (aside from Marnie breaking up with him during intercourse) is when Marnie encourages him to penetrate her from behind so she doesn’t have to look at him. “This feels so good,” Charlie says. “We have to go slow.” Poor sucker.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Shoshanna and camp friend Matt, "Hannah's Diary"

    We’d be remiss not to mention Shoshanna’s effort to lose her virginity to an old camp friend, who tells her how “weird” it is that he “loves to eat pussy” moments before she admits she’s never “done it” before. At least it paves the way for the uncomfortable sex we later get to watch her have with Ray?

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Hard Being Easy"

    On the heels of trying (unsuccessfully) to determine the status of her early relationship with Adam, Hannah walks by her future boyfriend’s bedroom to find him masturbating alone, in one of the strangest scenes of the first season. As Adam jerks off and refuses to let Hannah participate beyond telling him how much she likes watching, we see some serious (and odd) character development ... which ends with Hannah taking a hundred-dollar bill from Adam’s wallet, for cab fare and pizza (as well as her services).

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Booth Jonathan, "Bad Friend"

    Oh, Booth Jonathan -- the little man who “knows how to do things.” After he turns Marnie on enough to make her masturbate in the bathroom at the gallery where she works, Booth finally seals the deal in a mortifying and nearly painful to watch sex scene that tells us pretty much everything we need to know about how much Marnie is willing to fake it.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Tad and Loreen, "The Return"

    The only sex scene in the series not to feature one of the main characters, Hannah’s parents’ showertime anniversary celebration is easily one of the most cringe-worthy moments of the show’s first season. Even Hannah’s mother, Loreen, observes how embarrassing the situation is, which ends with her husband, Tad, slipping out of the shower and falling naked and unconscious on the bathroom floor.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and the pharmacist, "The Return"

    Tad and Loreen aren’t the only ones to get some during Hannah’s first season trip home to Michigan. The show’s protagonist finds herself in bed with a former high school classmate, who doesn’t exactly enjoy it when Hannah puts one of her fingers near his anus. “I’m tight like a baby, right?” Hannah asks at one point. Time to press pause.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Role-Play"

    While it’s not quite a full-on, all-out sex scene, Hannah and Adam’s attempt at role play in Season 3 is certainly an intimate encounter to behold (or not). Hannah dons a blond wig and gets a little too into her role, giving a melodramatic performance that ends with a passerby punching Adam in the face. So there’s that.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Shoshanna and Ray, "Together"

    As Shoshanna and Ray near the end of their relationship, we can see their sexual chemistry getting worse and worse. It’s no more evident than when Ray is penetrating a clothed and visibly horrified Shoshanna from behind, who ends the encounter by asking if her partner will just “get out of me.”

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Frank, "Video Games"

    Hannah, Jessa’s 19-year-old stepbrother, a graveyard and too much chatting. Need we say more about how uncomfortable this sex is to watch?

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Desi, "Iowa"

    Who gets her butt motorboated? Is this a real thing? Aside from the questionable logistics and reality of Marnie and Desi’s analingus scene, there’s also the awkward moment when Marnie confuses her partner’s declaration of love for licking her butthole with love for her. Oh, Marnie.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Vagina Panic"

    There is too much in this scene to dissect: fantasies of an 11-year-old girl with a Cabbage Patch lunchbox, excessive references to that little girl as a “slut” and Adam ripping off a condom to ejaculate on Hannah’s chest. No wonder it ends with Hannah saying she almost came.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>