By Omar Kasrawi
Commuters exiting the Jamaica Center subway stop faced a sight that normally causes alarm – police officers ushering people from the top of the escalator.
However, the men in blue were simply keeping curious onlookers from clogging the exits as Mayor Michael Bloomberg made a surprise campaign stop before the November election.
He looked tired as he greeted all who came his way. Folks took pictures with cell phones and shared thoughts on his two terms so far. The reception was mixed.
“I love him very much and I hope he gets back there. He’s a gentleman,” said Myrtle Parkinson, 61. “But he needs to do some work on the 59th Street subway stop. We need some maintenance work where the 4 and 5 trains run.”
Sasha Thomas, 19, was more upbeat. “His visit here shows that he’s very involved with the community and even though I’m not a New York resident I’d vote for him if I could,” said the St. John’s University student from Delaware.
Yet, not everyone was impressed by the mayor this night. Dwon Campbell, 28, had more pressing matters on her mind. “I asked him to get out of my way so that I can catch my bus,” she said.
When asked what she thought of his record, Campbell said, “He’s okay. But I think he should move on and let somebody else have a turn. But I don’t like the other guy either.” She then paused for a moment before chuckling, “[Bloomberg]’s really short, isn’t he?”
An hour after the mayor left, one of Jamaica’s leading politicians had harsh words to say. City Councilman Leroy Comrie told a community meeting at the 113th police precinct that the mayor had not done enough to combat local crime.
“We’ve been having an increase in violent incidents in youths,” Comrie said. “An increase in dropouts in high schools. And this mayor’s not dealing with it. It’s another reason why we’ve got to get rid of him.”
Mayor Bloomberg greets supporters outside the Jamaica Center subway station. (Above)