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De Blasio defends his gym time

The Park Slope Armory YMCA in Brooklyn, NY.

The Park Slope Armory YMCA in Brooklyn, NY. Photo Credit:

Mayor Bill de Blasio, chafing from criticism over the time he spends on frequent midmorning workouts at a Park Slope gym, said that New Yorkers understand that the mayoralty "is a seven-day-a-week job."

And, he added, a leader needs his exercise.

"I think a lot of CEOs would say to you, if you don't get exercise, you're not going to be as effective as you can be."

Asked Tuesday about the perception that his routine could pose a distraction, he ticked off his administration's accomplishments on crime, jobs, school exam scores and below-market-rate housing -- issues about which he said he emails and calls his deputies en route to and from the gym.

"The job -- this job -- is a seven-day-a-week job. There is no such thing in this job as being off duty. I hope people know that," de Blasio said at a news conference, adding: "I think people paying attention recognize a lot of work is being done -- and done effectively."

On many mornings, de Blasio rides his NYPD-driven motorcade 11 miles to the Park Slope YMCA in Brooklyn from Gracie Mansion, the mayoral residence in Manhattan. His gym habits drew attention last week as he worked out while police were in a standoff with a reputed gang member on Staten Island who had shot a firefighter.

De Blasio's spokeswoman said then that the mayor was speaking from inside the gym to his police and fire commissioners by telephone.


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