Could “Mr. Brooklyn” become “Mr. New York?”
Two Brooklyn pols are calling on Mayor-elect Bill DeBlasio to appoint outgoing Borough President Markowitz as the ambassador for all of New York City.
“There are few more dedicated public officials than Mr. Markowitz, and it would be fitting for him to represent the City of New York as Ambassador,” said Public Advocate-elect Letitia James.
But the position of “Ambassador of NYC” doesn’t technically exist — at least, not in name.
The job would actually take on the responsibilities, if not the title, of the commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for International Affairs, and office originally created by Mayor Robert Wagner in 1962, when it was called the NYC Commissioner for the United Nations.
The commissioner — or ambassador — serves as a liaison between the diplomatic community and local residents, businesses and government. But Markowitz’s role as “Ambassador of NYC” would presumably be broader, promoting the New York brand globally, and he has done so successfully for Brooklyn.
Markowitz has already demonstrated his diplomatic chops as borough president when he journeyed to London in 2006 to represent Brooklyn at the World Travel Market trade show. A mere two months later, the world’s largest publisher of travel guides, Lonely Planet, featured Brooklyn on its list of 30 “must see” world destinations.
Councilman David Greenfield said that Markowitz would be ideally suited to represent our city to the world.
“I can think of no better person to serve as Ambassador for New York City,” said Greenfield.
Markowitz, for his part, is grateful for the support of his colleagues, but appeared to be keeping his options open as he heads into the final weeks as borough president.
“It is flattering that two of my colleagues in government would think of me in such esteem,” said the outgoing Beep. “I look forward to whatever role I may take in continuing to serve my borough and my city in the next chapter of my life.”
A spokesman for mayor-elect Bill DeBlasio did not return calls for comment.
Marty Markowitz is on his way out of Borough Hall after 12 years as Brooklyn's borough president. He has made a name for himself through zany photo-ops and relentless cheerleading for the borough as a brand. Letitia James and David Greenfield think that qualifies him to be New York's public face abroad. But what do you think? Should Marty Markwoitz be the city's cultural envoy? Take our poll and cast your informal-but-public vote.
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