According to the New York Post, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg went crazy last Thursday, hurling invective at the owner of a taxi fleet who approached him the day after a court ruled against Bloomberg’s plan to replace city cabs with his “Taxi of Tomorrow.” Taxi Club Management CEO Gene Freidman approached Bloomberg at Madison Square Garden’s private 1879 Club during the Knick playoff game. Freidman related:
I saw Bloomberg and his security there in the club, so I went over and said, “Tell me what is going on with the Taxi of Tomorrow?” He turns to me, and said, “Come January 1st, when I am out of office, I am going to destroy your f–king industry.” I said, “Whoa, Mr. Mayor, calm down! Why can’t I sit down with you and figure out something that works?” He got back in my face and said, “After January, I am going to destroy all you f–king guys.”
He was very angry, very scary, very violent in a non-physical way. He was grinding his teeth, he was spitting, he was red and he was in my face. The mayor was extremely disrespectful, and not “mayorly” at all. He cursed at me, and when we walked away, I asked a friend who was with me, “Did the mayor just threaten me?” My friend responded, “No, he threatened you twice.”
One witness said, “It was like Gene had kidnapped his child. He used the f-word twice. Bloomberg thinks that everyone should just follow his decisions.”
Freidman led the charge against the Taxi of Tomorrow project, which Bloomberg envisioned as replacing virtually all yellow cabs with a larger Nissan model that won an open competition. State Supreme Court Justice Peter H. Moulton ruled that Bloomberg’s plan violated a city code that required a hybrid-cab option for garage owners.
Freidman said he was trying to be friendly, reminding the mayor that he had praised Freidman in 2006 for introducing hybrid fuel and wheelchair-accessible taxis, but Bloomberg went nuts anyway, trying to get security to throw Freidman out. Friedman told the NY Post:
This was my club that Bloomberg was a guest in, that I had paid to get in, and he wasn’t getting me kicked out of my own place … I don’t know how he’ll destroy me, whether he’ll start a black-car service that will take people for free. Perhaps he’ll put $10 million of his own money to lobby against the taxi industry — that is pretty powerful.
Freidman’s company owns 925 taxis.