He's here all week, folks
Mike Bloomberg, president? Probably not. Mike Bloomberg, king of comedy? Perhaps.
Possibly preparing for life after politics, the mayor tested some new material today while helping unveil two fish tanks at the St. George Ferry Terminal in Staten Island.
I just have to say, holy mackerel, he began, to a mix of chuckles and groans. Undeterred, he continued, We have an opportunity to use a boatload of bad fish puns.
The mayor known for years as a tropical fish enthusiast was apparently giddy to introduce the tanks, home to about 400 fish of varying colors and sizes.
The 8-foot-4-inch tanks, which hold more than 10 tons of water apiece, feature species such as Powderblue Tang, Henochius Butterfly and Scribbled Angel. They cost a combined $750,000, paid for by the boroughs capital fund. The project included construction of a state-of-the-art filtration system below the terminals main waiting room. The Staten Island Zoo will maintain both the tanks and the filtration system.Borough President James Molinaro was recently inspired by fish tanks in the airport in Sarasota, Fla., and spearheaded the effort to install the Staten Island version.
The tanks will exert a calming influence on harried commuters, Molinaro said.
It was easy for Molinaro to attract Bloomberg the big kahuna to Molinaro to the ceremony. The mayor has long displayed fish at his Bloomberg LP offices. He recalled being mesmerized by his first fish tank, installed in his office decades ago.
Ive been hooked ever since, he said.
Bloomberg addressed potential concerns over the city spending so much money on the fish.
What is the porpoise, you might ask, he said.
The porpoise, he went on to explain, was to bring additional tourism dollars to the borough. The Staten Island Ferry is already the citys third most visited tourist destination, after the Stature of Liberty and Empire State Building, according to Molinaro.
The borough president hoped the new attraction would bring even more visitors, a plan that seemed to be working already.
Pam Hall, Di Blair and Kate Saksena, schoolteacher friends on vacation from London, were excited to see Bloomberg. They rode the ferry from Manhattan this morning to witness the unveiling.
It is wonderful to hear your mayor speak, said Blair, who insisted her age was 108, but appeared less than half that. Theyre pretty fishy jokes, though.
Regular commuters were happy with the tanks, if somewhat less effusive.
Its good to have, said Carmelo Adorno, 41, who passes through the terminal daily en route to his sales job in Lower Manhattan. I guess my kids would like it.
Meanwhile, the mayor decided it was almost time to leave.
If I keep doing this, he said, someone is going to ask me to clam up.
-- Andy Martino