NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Mayor Bill de Blasio wants you to turn off your car and truck engine while parked.
To send the message, the city enlisted the help of a rock legend.
CBS2’s Alice Gainer explains it was a nice day for a… press conference.
Rock concert or press conference, it was hard to tell, Gainer reported.
— Alice Gainer (@GainerTV) February 27, 2020
The crowd chanted “Billy never idles! Billy never idles!”
To spread the anti-idle message, Billy Idol. And with a rebel yell, he cried “Shut it off!”
After a bit of fangirling and butchering of a classic, de Blasio got to it.
“It’s a good day… It’s a nice day to start again,” de Blasio said. “Idling is just stupid… If we stopped unnecessary idling in New York City, it would mean the equivalent of taking 18,000 cars off the road every single day.”
I love NYC and I‘m troubled when I see cars and trucks sitting idle while polluting our neighborhoods. New Yorkers are some of the most passionate people in the world and I hope they will join me in turning off their engines. SHUT IT OFF NEW YORK! #BillyNeverIdles @NYCWater pic.twitter.com/5Ed1LiaM6Y
— Billy Idol (@BillyIdol) February 27, 2020
There’s actually money to be made in idling. That is, if you tell on the people doing it, Gainer reported.
George Pakenham has made $16,750 in over three years for reporting idling vehicles. We watched him in action last April.
“I had 98 submissions last year,” Pakenham said.
If you witness and record a truck or bus idling for longer than three minutes or more than one minute while adjacent to a school, you can file a complaint online and collect 25% of the penalty.
In total, the city says tattlers have made $387,000 so far.
— NYC Water (@NYCWater) February 27, 2020
The $1 million ad campaign aims to increase these complaints and expand enforcement at idling priority zones, which include Chinatown, the Port Authority, World Trade Center, Fulton Street, Richmond Terrace, Flushing, Roosevelt and Commercial Fordham Road.
So how much is Billy Idol getting paid to be the face of the campaign? Nothing.
“I just wanted to give back to the city,” he said.
The Los Angeles resident says he grew up in Patchogue and Rockville Centre.
As for the mayor’s motorcade, de Blasio claims he’s obsessive about telling drivers to shut off the vehicles “all the blanking time.”
Using language a bit more befitting a rock star than elected official, the mayor’s hoping to make his point about curbing pollution.