PARK SLOPE — Mayor Bill de Blasio said his regular 12-mile trek from Gracie Mansion to his Park Slope gym is a reminder of his roots as he brushed off criticism Friday over his gas-guzzling routine.
De Blasio, who hails from Cambridge, Mass., and bought his home on 11th Street in 2003, said his trips to the Y on Ninth Street help him stay connected to where "I came from," he said.
"I don't want to be someone who's seeing the world through the prism of Gracie Mansion," the mayor said Friday morning. "I want to be someone who's seeing the world through the prism of the neighborhood I come from in Brooklyn, and remembers where I came from and all the people who have been part of life here."
His comments, made during his weekly call in to "The Brian Lehrer Show," came amid a barrage of bad press about his near-daily SUV trips from the Upper East Side to the Park Slope YMCA to exercise.
The mayor says he has to be driven around wherever he goes, so that he can be mobile in case of an urgent matter around the five boroughs.
He said the obsession with his choice of transit is a distraction from the real issues.
"I just feel very comfortable, this is what I'm going to do. Meanwhile we have much bigger fish to fry," he said. "I challenge the premise that this is a burning issue; it is not a burning issue."
At a town hall meeting Thursday in Rego Park, which lasted three hours, his gym trips never came up, the mayor added.
Criticism of his routine has steadily increased, particularly due to his commitment to support the Paris Accord following President Trump's withdrawal from the climate agreement.
Top Trump aide Kellyanne Conway took a shot at de Blasio's gym habits on Monday.
Last week, a man called in to WNYC and challenged the mayor to ditch his YMCA for the sake of the environment.
"How about you stepping up your game, leading by example, getting out of your SUV armada, and if you need to go to the Park Slope Y five days a week rather than a gym near you, why don’t you take mass transit or even once and while ride a bike like the vast majority of your fellow New Yorkers so you will know how we are suffering under a transit system," the caller said.
The mayor responded by saying he wasn't going to "take the bait," insisting that his SUVs are "very fuel-efficient."