Bloomberg Smooches Miss Piggy as Muppets Named NYC Family Ambassadors
By Juliet Linderman on April 13, 2012 3:28pm
MIDTOWN — It was one kind of pork that Bloomberg endorses.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg welcomed the Muppets to Manhattan Friday by appointing them the city's 2012 Family Ambassadors — sealing the deal by planting a smooch on Miss Piggy that would have made Lady Gaga jealous.
"Let me give Miss Piggy a kiss," Bloomberg said at a press conference at the Midtown visitors' center of NYC and Company, the city's tourism wing.
"First Lady Gaga, and now," Bloomberg said as he leaned down and gave the Jim Henson puppet a kiss on the cheek, a G-rated version of his New Year's Eve smooch with the pop queen.
But when Piggy asked who's the better kisser of the two, the Mayor diplomatically replied, "I don't kiss and tell. You're both wonderful...people."
Hizzoner was also joined on stage by Kermit the Frog, Gonzo the Great and Pepe the King Prawn.
"It's my pleasure to appear with these world-renowned stars of the stage, screen and television...they will be NYC and Company's NYC Family Ambassadors for the next twelve months, helping us get out the message that New York City is a fantastic place for family vacations."
"The Muppets believe in dreaming big — just like New Yorkers," he said.
As NYC's Family Ambassadors, the Muppets will have their own page on NYC & Company's website, where the characters will provide tips for families about where to dine, shop and go out in the Big Apple, with Miss Piggy offering tips about theater, dining and nightlife, and Kermit providing insight on how to navigate the boroughs.
"This city made us who we are — I mean that as a compliment," Kermit said, hoisting himself onto Bloomberg's podium.
The Muppets are the fourth Family Ambassadors of New York City, joining the ranks of Sesame Street, Dora the Explorer and the Smurfs.
The honorary tourism mascots have have helped increase tourism by 15 percent over the last three years, according to NYC & Co. statistics. In 2011, New York City welcomed 50 million tourists, who contributed approximately $14 billion to the city's economy; by 2015, Bloomberg hopes to increase that number to 55 million.
But make no mistake: just because Mayor Bloomberg's friends with puppets, doesn't mean he is one, he insisted.
"I have a Muppet at home, it's a wonderful characterization of me," he said. "But I'm taller, and better looking."