Mayor Michael Bloomberg at a Barclays pro-am in Paramus, N.J., in 2010 (Reuters). Mayor Michael Bloomberg was notified of the deadly train derailment in the Bronx on Sunday while he was playing golf at Bermuda's Mid Ocean Club, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Mr. Bloomberg, who steps down on Dec. 31 after 12 years at City Hall, was playing golf Sunday at Bermuda’s majestic Mid Ocean golf club, a person who spotted the mayor said. The Metro-North Railroad train derailment — killing four people and injuring more than 60 others — occurred at roughly 7:20 a.m. New York time.
Mr. Bloomberg was golfing in the early morning and did not leave the course until roughly 1 p.m, the person said. Bermuda is one hour ahead of New York time.
A spokesman for Mr. Bloomberg, a 71-year-old billionaire businessman, declined to discuss his whereabouts on Sunday. The mayor did not attend any of the briefings at the scene of the accident Sunday, but he visited with the injured at two hospitals after nightfall.
Golf has always been a thorny issue for politicians. John F. Kennedy tried to hide his passion for the game because of its patrician image, George W. Bush stopped playing golf during the Iraq War out of respect for the families of soldiers who died in action, and conservative news outlets gleefully keep track of President Obama's rounds in office (now at 150). Bloomberg, who has described himself as an "18 to 20 handicap", has tried to keep his personal time private during his 12 years as mayor, whether golfing or not.
Shortly after winning his first race for City Hall 12 years ago, Mr. Bloomberg said he planned to keep secret any personal trips he takes while in office. He has kept that promise, igniting controversy over the years.
“My personal life is my personal life,” Mr. Bloomberg, then the mayor-elect, said in December 2001 when reporters inquired about his out-of-town travel. “I don’t think the press should be concerned with the personal life of any of the 250,000 wonderful people that work for this city.”