9:44 am Jun. 5, 2012
It was evening in the back garden of Gracie Mansion, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg was hamming it up for his guests.
“This really is my big chance,” he said, before he entered into a monologue for a Hollywood-on-the-Hudson crowd numbering a little under a thousand that included Robert De Niro, Whoopi Goldberg, Meryl Streep, Jerry Stiller and Ann Meara, Joan Rivers, and Raven-Symoné.
The billionaire last-term mayor was being facetious of course: A report earlier in the day about his prospects post-mayoralty claimed he turned down the leadership of the World Bank, because he has bigger fish to fry.
The occasion was the "Made in NY" awards, celebrating contributions to the city's image and economy especially in targeted areas of media and entertainment where the Mayor has aggressively campaigned for the city to get a larger share. He was joined in the presentation by Katherine Oliver, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, cohosted the ceremony in front of nearly 1,000 members of the city’s film industry.
Capping the night, Bloomberg gave husband-and-wife comedy duo Jerry Stiller and Ann Meara a lifetime achievement award and Ben and Amy Stiller walked onstage to roast their parents, but not before a joke on the proposed ban on large soda purchases.
“Mr. Mayor, do you think I could get a 64-ounce Cherry Coke?” Stiller asked Bloomberg.
Bloomberg replied: only if it was in four 16-ounce glasses.
The awards have been given since 2006, but this second-last outing for the mayor was a not-so-subtle reminder that his legacy in attracting film and media business to the city is about to be settled. Noted on press releases, and onstage by Bloomberg, were the industry’s 130,000 jobs and $7.1 billion in economic contributions to city coffers in 2011. An award to three young executives at Kickstarter also drove home start-up tech companies, another sector the mayor has been playing up actively. Jon Kamen also won an award for his media firm's work designing the Made in NY logo itself, which the city uses as a branding tool.
Getting his award, De Niro said the “oversized subway token” was nicer than a glass apple he’d gotten from Mayor Koch.
“It says ‘Made in New York’, then in smaller letters, it says ‘Made in China’,” he said to laughs. “It symbolizes how much of New York is owned by China.”
Bloomberg, who had been laughing earlier, simply stood with his arms crossed. (According to a spokesperson, the awards were, in fact, made at New York's Bedi-Makky, a Greenpoint foundry also responsible for the Wall Street Bull and Washington D.C.’s Iwo Jima Memorial.)
“I may be behind Meryl in Oscars, Golden Globes, Emmys and last October she beat me out for Italian-American man of the year," De Niro went on. "Made in New York Awards? We’re tied. And you know what, I got my award first.”
Streep, later accepting her award, acknowledged that.
“I can’t believe you gave this to Bob De Niro before me,” she said taking the award. “But, you know, supporting actor always precedes the lead.”
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