Off-Third: Happy Alumni Weekend From Bill de Blasio

The NYU alumnus and self-proclaimed king of New York may not have been invited to NYU’s Alumni Weekend, but that’s not stopping him from advocating for his alma mater’s students.

Abby Hofstetter, Opinion Editor

Happy Alumni Weekend from Off-Third, WSN’s satire section. Try not to take us too seriously.

Bill de Blasio is the king of New York. At least that’s what he tells me.

We’re at the Domino’s on 40th Street (“The best pizza in New York, I swear to God”). The woman standing in front of us in line to order insists that we go first, but de Blasio refuses. “I don’t take handouts,” he says. “I’m just a New York guy.”

De Blasio graduated from NYU in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in Metropolitan Studies, which is now a concentration within the Social and Cultural Analysis department. “I guess I was always meant to be the mayor,” he chuckles. “I mean, Metropolitan Studies? How much more urban can you get?”

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Our pizza arrives, and we sit down. He insists we sit at the bench that looks out the window. “I love to people-watch,” he tells me. “It’s my favorite part of the job.” Out of the corner of my eye, I see his hand instinctively reach for a fork and knife, but then as quickly as he started, he stops. “You’re in public,” he says under his breath. “Stupid.” The hand retreats under the table; it doesn’t reemerge until we get the check, which he offers to split.

Though de Blasio wasn’t invited to the Alumni Weekend celebrations, he’s looking on the bright side. “They didn’t ask me to speak or anything, but it’s fine,” he tells me. “Just between us, though, I think it’s because Andy [Hamilton] doesn’t like me.”

His claim isn’t as far-fetched as one might think. De Blasio has remained a proud and active member of the alumni community, but his actions don’t always reflect Hamilton’s interests. In 2017, de Blasio visited Weinstein Residence Hall, where he dormed as an undergraduate in 1982. During his visit, he endorsed the Student Labor Action Movement’s effort to put a student on NYU’s Board of Trustees — something he had advocated for as a student.

“Yeah, I think Andy was pretty pissed about that.” He chuckles, and a drop of pizza sauce leaks from the outer corners of his mouth. I wait for him to wipe it away, but he never does.

In addition to mentioning his advocacy for student representation on the Board of Trustees, de Blasio also bragged about his “heroic” efforts to see to the safety and comfort of the student body.

“Do you remember when I shut that whole Milo thing down?” He asks, a sly grin spreading across his sauce-stained lips. He’s referencing last fall, when alt-right figurehead Milo Yiannopoulos was invited to speak to a classroom of 14 students. Campus-wide outrage followed, shown through the efforts of outspoken students, mass dissent on the popular Facebook page NYU Memes for Slightly Bankrupt Teens and even some of the 14 students saying they were afraid to attend the class where Yiannopoulos would be speaking. Despite this, Hamilton did not cancel the event, citing his support for “the free exchange of ideas.” Days before the speech was scheduled to take place, de Blasio stepped in and postponed it indefinitely, citing security concerns.

“Yeah, I guess it was pretty cool of me to do that,” he says, almost nonchalantly. “I’m really just a man of the people — a mayor for the people. If Andy won’t do anything to protect his students, it’s my job to step in. If that pisses off the president, then so what? I’m the mayor.”

After de Blasio and I pay for our pizza, he takes me to Times Square — his second-favorite place in all of New York. (His favorite, he tells me, is Staten Island.)

“You know, they love me here. Everyone loves me here,” de Blasio tells me from the top of the red TKTS stairs. He’s insisted that I take his picture. “‘It’s Mayor Bill, it’s the king of New York’ — that’s what they say when they see me.”

Just across Broadway, an emaciated woman sits cross-legged on a piece of cardboard; though we’re almost a block away, we can both hear her screaming. “How the f-ck will you help me, Bill?” She repeats herself until de Blasio steers me around the corner.

“They love me,” he repeats, almost reassuringly — though it’s not quite clear who he’s reassuring. His breath quickens, then slows. “They love me. They love me. I’m the king of New York.”

This article is satirical, and all quotes and events are entirely fabricated unless stated otherwise.

Email Abby Hofstetter at [email protected]

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