New York mayor’s Spanish inspires parody, @ElBloombito
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There’s English. There’s Spanish. There’s Spanglish. And there’s Mike Bloomberg’s version.
Since about one-third of all New Yorkers speak Spanish, the city’s mayor has regularly addressed them during his three terms in City Hall in their native language with an accent and grammar that can at best be described as earnest but painful.
During his many television appearances over the hurricane weekend, a Latino on his staff was standing nearby to translate Bloomberg’s warnings about preparing for Irene. But Bloomberg clearly felt that key admonitions about safety had to come from him in the city’s second language.
The mayor’s efforts moved a local woman of Puerto Rican-Jewish descent to start as a joke for her friends a Twitter account, @ElBloombito.
“Por favor no llamando el 911 unless un emergenciando. Por que el clog los lines,” wrote ElBloombito, who was identified by the New York Daily News as Rachel Figueroa Levin, 25, who lives in northern Manhattan.
Once the skies cleared Monday and the subways were working again, her “I speaky the Spanish parody” even drew Bloomberg’s attention. And it turns out the mayor, who often looks like he wants to swat pesky reporters during press conferences, has a sense of humor too.
When a reporter asked him Monday if he was among ElBloombito’s followers -- there were 13,489 of them as of Tuesday morning -- the mayor cracked a wry smile, said “That’s great,” and went on to speak in a mixture of English and Spanish.
The mayor’s Twitter feed later posted his response, adding, “Me escuchas @ElBloombito?”
Levin told the New York Observer that she was “tickled” that she drew the mayor’s attention and later @ElBloombito expressed similar delight in this post: “Yo soy muy happydando que el mayorador found mi twitteriento humoroso. He tooko todos Los everything in mucho stride. Que classy!”
Levin, who also goes by @Jewyorican, ended Monday tweeting: “I can’t believe that THIS is my 15 minutes. Viva @ElBloombito!”
-- Geraldine Baum in New York
Video: New York Michael Bloomberg displays his Spanish-speaking abilities in this YouTube video.