Brigid Bergin is the City Hall reporter for WNYC. She covers city politics including the 2013 mayoral race and transition.
Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio and his family have finally decided to move to Gracie Mansion, but it wasn't an easy decision. Just last Sunday, while they were still mulling it over, de Blasio talked about the “pull” of Brooklyn on their lives.
To find out what's behind this mysterious magnetism, specifically in Park Slope, WNYC spoke to another well-known resident, the writer, comedian and, by his own description, minor television star John Hodgman.
He’s lived in the neighborhood going on eight years, “in a section of Park Slope that's called the South Slope which used to be called by people who lived in Park Slope, 'not Park Slope,” Hodgman said.
It was disappointing to hear that his neighbors would be leaving. Hodgman said he was really getting used to seeing the mayor-elect at the 9th Street Y since things could get pretty out of hand there in the mornings.
“There have been many, many fewer knife fights and judgmental stares,” Hodgman remarked dryly.
According to the announcement posted to the Transition2013 site Wednesday, the de Blasios are leaving Park Slope for security and logistical reasons, but still consider it home. The mayor often hosts formal events, and at Gracie Mansion (below) there are eight bathrooms available. At home in Park Slope, there's just one.
But Hodgman said they're leaving one of the best neighborhoods in the city, “And you know that because everyone in Park Slope is constantly saying that.”
Hodgman said he and his family moved there for the school, P-S 107. But he feels like it was just luck that he made it there at all; he used to be a freelance writer.
“Because of The Daily Show I had become a famous minor television personality and had a little extra money and could afford to continue to live in New York City,” Hodgman explained adding, “we moved to Park Slope where our friends and everyone else we knew who had mustaches lived.”
In all seriousness, Hodgman hopes the de Blasio administration can do something to make the city more affordable, particularly when it comes to housing, “Such that young people, people who are just starting out, people who do not happen to be natural resource oligarchs from other countries can actually live in the city and contribute.”
So if Hodgman was Mayor of New York and had to decide between living in Gracie Mansion and Park Slope, how would he make up his mind?
“Oh, you know, first of all, I have no aspirations to become the mayor of New York City,” said Hodgman adding, “I'll take Brooklyn Borough President any day cause I like titles that are merely titular.”
Hodgman also said he wouldn't want to be mayor because he simply doesn’t want to leave Brooklyn. He was encouraged to know the de Blasio's are keeping their home.
Hodgman even made this promise: “I will not break into it and have a party while they're gone.”