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New York City’s nap-happy chief executive said Wednesday that one of the main lessons he’s taken from the pandemic that’s killed more than 24,000 residents, shuttered countless mom-and-pop shops and left his budget in tatters is … the importance of sleep.
Mayor Bill de Blasio offered the remarks in response to a question from a reporter about what he has learned about himself and how he leads in the city through the 10 months of turmoil following the outbreak of COVID-19.
“One thing, I’ll tell you that I’ve learned — this is something that [first lady] Chirlane [McCray] used to lecture me on all the time — that sleep really matters,” de Blasio said during his daily virtual press briefing from City Hall, which he showed up to nearly half an hour late. “I’ve not been someone who’s traditionally gotten enough sleep.”
“In the beginning of this crisis, it was crazy for all of us; I mean we were working every single day, very long hours, and no one was getting enough sleep,” he continued. “I really saw that it had an impact, I mean, it makes it harder to fully think through things and, obviously, we all get more emotional when we’re tired. So, I learned the value of sleep for sure.”
The mayor also thanked city employees who labored through the pandemic to keep the five boroughs running, spoke about the frustrations that came with rapidly changing guidance from the federal government about the disease, and his optimism for how the arrival of vaccines may allow the city to begin a slow recovery in 2021.
A City Hall spokeswoman later defended his remarks, saying: “After such a hellish year, all new Yorkers deserve to get some sleep.”
Hizzoner’s sleep patterns and tardiness have frustrated his staff since he first came to office in 2014 — and been the subject of frequent coverage and citywide ridicule.
Just days after taking office, on Jan. 14, 2014, his staffers were already shopping for an alarm clock to try to get de Blasio out of bed, emails obtained by The Post show.
Staffers even eventually included potential models of clocks in the exchange, under the subject line “Visible Clock For Mayor” — and a spokesman later confirmed that one was purchased.
It didn’t help.
That November, de Blasio arrived so late to the annual memorial for those who died in the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 that he missed the tolling of the bell and the moment of silence.
His staff initially blamed fog for delaying the police boat the mayor was riding to the event, but the mayor eventually backtracked and chalked up the lateness to “a very rough night” and waking up “sluggish.”
The Post bought and gave him an alarm clock afterward, to little avail.
Rough mornings aside, de Blasio was notorious for rarely arriving at City Hall before 10 a.m. even when he was running on time.
Instead, the mayor frequently started his day late and insisted on regular sojourns to work out at the YMCA’s Prospect Park facility in Brooklyn, which is miles from the mayoral residence.
Those workouts — which were often limited to exercising on stationary bikes while watching cable television — often left the mayor so tuckered out that he began taking midday naps in his downtown offices, which The Post revealed in 2017.
In 2019, de Blasio showed up nearly an hour late for a live television interview on WPIX Channel 11’s morning show, even though the station’s studios are just a short drive from Gracie Mansion on the Upper East Side.
He told one of the show’s anchors, Dan Mannarino, that he set his alarm clock for the wrong time.
Mannarino graciously shouldered a bit of the blame as the interview wrapped up, telling de Blasio, “We dragged you out of bed early, I appreciate it.”
“Thank you, man,” de Blasio replied.
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