[Video below.] One colorful mayor gone. Comes now the chorus of hopeful mayors.
So who’s Joe Lhota? The former MTA chief. Now a dancing mayoral Rockette.
” ‘Lhota’ is Czechoslovakian,” he said. “My father’s side is from the Bohemian part, 120 km south of Prague. My mother’s father was Italian. Her mother, Jewish. Like New York, I’m a little of everything, which means alienating everybody else. My great-grandfather came over first.
“I grew up in The Bronx, Pelham Bay. Then the family moved right across from the water in Lindenhurst, a house Sandy destroyed, so I’ve pulled out sheetrock, and we’ve ordered new heaters, driers, everything. Whole basement’s washed away.
“I got my MBA in Harvard and cooked every night for six guys. Shopped at Safeway and made stew, chili, spaghetti, mac and cheese. I hated doing the dishes. I graduated cum laude. I moved to the West Side, worked for Paine Webber, where, believe me, we weren’t paid like today’s guys, and traveled to 39 states. I missed Idaho which, trust me, isn’t on my bucket list.”
“Lights out was always 11. Since the campaign I try for sleep as early as I can. Maybe 10:15. Home’s Brooklyn. The Staten Island Ferry horn wakes me every 4:30 a.m. especially when it’s quiet and no wind. Back to sleep until 5:30. Then it’s coffee on my terrace. Of course, when I’m in City Hall I won’t have that problem.” Of course. “And a hearty, protein-heavy, no-carb breakfast. Cheese omelet. No bread or potatoes.
“I got married in ‘88. The most organized person I know, she’s a political fund-raiser. My daughter, a senior at Georgetown, is working on my campaign.”
After 20 minutes of how great he ran the MTA which, he acknowledges, “everybody loves to hate,” I asked how’s he make a living now. Answer: “I live off investment income. It’s costly. Cabs are expensive.”
About other things, he’s evasive. Like, will you keep Ray Kelly? Answer: “He’s magnificent. A friend. We’ll talk. I’m too superstitious to discuss it now.”
Lhota always wears a blue rubber band. “2005 I was diagnosed with lymphoma. After seven months of treatment, I’m now clean. Friends made me this, and I wore it when I went for chemo. I always wear it. It says, ‘Fear Nothing.’ ”
He’s patriotic. Blue suit, white shirt, red tie. Also wedding band. Also the right phrases like: “I grew up here. I love this city.”
Read more at The New York Post.