It was a tale of two subway stops.
Bill de Blasio returned to a Bay Ridge, Brooklyn subway station this morning, where a media scrum mobbed him as he shook a few hands and posed for pictures before jetting off. The visit was a stark reminder of how Mr. de Blasio’s mayoral fortunes have flipped since he last campaigned at the 86th street stop. On that sweltering day in the middle of July, a single reporter and no television cameras trailed him underground.
With less than 24 hours to go before Election Day and with the polls showing him with a dominating lead, Mr. de Blasio couldn’t help but gloat.
“We are finishing very strong, huge volunteer presence and the cold is not gonna dissuade us, so we’re ready no matter what’s thrown at us,” Mr. de Blasio told reporters, a hot chocolate in hand. “I think right now, the response we’re getting from a huge amount of phone banking and voter contact … We’re getting a very positive, energetic response so I feel good that people feel a high level of commitment.”
Up by about 40 points in most polls over his Republican rival Joe Lhota, Mr. de Blasio spent little time outside the station. Aides pleaded repeatedly with the horde of reporters and cameramen to clear a path for commuters to greet Mr. de Blasio, who grinned and cracked jokes about his occasional inability to wake up early.
“Yes, I am a morning person,” he said, squinting into the sunlight. “I don’t like being one but I can do it.”
He challenged reporters to meet him for a gym workout very early in the morning.
“My earliest recorded time at the Park Slope Y is 5:21 a.m. so I’m gonna challenge all the members of the media, one of these days, to meet me at the Park Slope Y at 5:21 a.m.,” he said. “Let’s see who wants to take me up on that challenge?”
Like other parts of the city, Mr. de Blasio easily won Bay Ridge, a stronghold of politically-moderate voters. The local Democratic club, the Bay Ridge Democrats, were early boosters of Mr. de Blasio and campaigned with him today.
Mr. de Blasio’s rival, Joe Lhota, also hopes to do well in the neighborhood and campaigned there Sunday afternoon.
“Bay Ridge can be a bellwether for de Blasio because [there is] a changing demographic in the neighborhood and I’m very hopeful that we can do very, very well here at the top of the ticket because that means good things for me at the bottom of the ticket,” Councilman Vincent Gentile, who is also facing a Republican challenger, told Politicker.
“I think people understand we need change in this city,” he added.