Volume 78 / Number 7 - July 16 - 22, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since

Meat Market

‘The Mayor’ sounds off on noise and nightlife

By Gabriel Zucker

“My nickname has been The Mayor for years,” said Michael Bloomberg.

It’s only a nickname, though.

The 51-year-old lives not in a mansion on the Upper East Side, but in the “Little Flatiron Building” at 13th St. and Ninth Ave., where he’s been a resident for seven years. And he’s not Gotham’s chief executive, but a project manager for a construction firm.

Bloomberg’s building is one of the last residential ones left in a neighborhood that is increasingly devoted to nightlife, making each day a challenge for Bloomberg and others like him.

“When I moved in, there was a parking lot where the Gansevoort Hotel is, Spice Market was under construction, Vento wasn’t here, there were sex clubs in the building, and Hog Pit was here, but we used to get just a motorcycle crowd almost every night,” he said. “We’ve lost the quality of it being a neighborhood that people can use. You have to go a distance now for a lot of the same things.”

Many of the longer-term residents of Bloomberg’s building have opted to “just tolerate a lot of the insanity” because the price tag of living in the rent-stabilized loft building is still quite low. Bloomberg, on the other hand, voices his feelings, but his efforts have not always been rewarded.

“The people that have to be reactive are being looked at as if they’re crazy people complaining,” he said. “Unfortunately, the police don’t do very much. The cops say, ‘Well, it was your choice to move here.’ Excuse me, I was here before this started.” Late-night noise is the worst problem, he said.

Before 2000, he lived in Nolita — “right before it exploded” — and before that on W. 27th St., just prior to the moment when “that neighborhood went insane with all the big high-rises.”

“I don’t mind change,” said Bloomberg of his repeated run-ins with gentrification, “but this is like giving an infant steroids.”

Bloomberg has only kind words for the city official who shares his name.

“He’s willing to back away from bad choices,” he said. “That’s how he became a successful businessman; he didn’t get stuck in an idea and assume this is it. I only wish he ran for president.”

The name connection has never fostered a meeting between the Bloombergs, though.

Still, a familiar name can be convenient at times.

“When I’ve been harassed by a police officer on my motorcycle or my car in the neighborhood and they look at my license…” he laughed. “They start asking me if I’m related and I say. ‘Irrelevant. Do you want to find out?’ ” To the best of his knowledge, they are not related.

As Mayor Bloomberg prepares to leave office, this Bloomberg is also plotting to leave the Meat Market soon — “Time to move on,” he said. Given his past history, he offered a heads up to developers. “Probably where I move next, folks, it’s going to be the next hotspot,” he laughed. “It’s happened three times already.”

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