NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – There was a startling admission Thursday from Mayor Bill de Blasio about the ceremony marking the first anniversary of the worst terror attack in New York City since 9/11.
Not only did the mayor initially forget to read the names of the victims, his aides apparently to forgot to plan the event.
“The problem was the event was put together way too late. It was not originally planned,” de Blasio said.
The terror attack on the West Side Highway bike path killed eight and injured many more.
Aides didn’t think a ceremony was called for until after the tragic shootings at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh brought it to mind. They didn’t start planning it until last weekend, just days before the anniversary.
“The idea really emanated from what happened the week before because it focused everyone’s attention on the fact that we went through another type of attack,” de Blasio said. “So there was an effort to put together an appropriate memorial, but it wasn’t handled right.”
Not handled right? Friends and relatives thought it was bungled, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported. The mayor forgot to read the names of the victims who perished and only hurried back to the podium to correct the mistake after it was pointed out to him by one of the mourners.
Full Video: NYC Marks 1 Year Since West Side Terror Attack
“I want to apologize. This should have been part of the gathering, to read the names,” de Blasio said during the memorial.
Apology not accepted by Hugh Hales-Tooke, a friend of the mother of the only local victim, Nicholas Cleves. He pointedly started straight ahead and refused to shake the mayor’s hand before the ceremony, telling reporters he was furious the victim’s mother couldn’t attend because city officials only told her about the memorial the day before at 4 p.m., and she was already out of town.
Pundits say it’s an example of how the mayor may be focused on his national ambitions than running the city.
“Not remembering the names of those murdered in the second worst terror attack in New York City history shows one thing: The mayor’s mind is on Iowa, not here,” said political consultant Hank Sheinkopf. “More importantly, why would you have to wait to think about something like that? Why wouldn’t it be on your mind? If you’re the mayor, it’s on your mind.”
The mayor apologized again today to the families of those who lost their lives, saying “I’m not happy about it. It wasn’t right.”