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N.Y. City mayor apologizes to Brown

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg allowed an apology to slip past his lips and into the ear of Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown on Wednesday evening.

Hours after making a disparaging remark about Buffalo to a room filled with developers in the Big Apple, Bloomberg got on the phone and called Brown to say he was sorry.

When asked whether he was still "pissed off" at Bloomberg -- the phrase he used Wednesday -- Brown softened his reaction and said he remains "disappointed."

Bloomberg had told those attending a forum on housing and neighborhood development that his city faces the problems of success because of a lack of space to build more roads, housing and classrooms.

He then went on to bash Buffalo. There was plenty of available space here, Bloomberg said, but he doubted that anyone would want to come here.

The comments did not go over well at this end of the state, so Bloomberg got on the horn.

" 'Mayor Brown, this is Mike Bloomberg,' " Brown said in recalling the conversation. " He apologized and did the right thing."

Was it a tense mayoral chat?

"It was a cordial conversation. I told him it was a cheap shot. I thought it was very damaging and that someone as well-respected as him and whose name is attached to an international media company should not be saying that," Brown said.

Brown added that he has had friendly relations with Bloomberg and has, in fact, been to his home and office in Manhattan.

The mayor added that Bloomberg mentioned the possibility of coming to Buffalo for a visit.

"He said, 'I should get up there and see for myself,' " Brown said, adding that he suggested that Bloomberg bring with him a group of developers to see the city's architecture and other real estate.

But was Bloomberg really sorry?

"He sounded genuinely apologetic," Brown said.

Brown mentioned the conversation with Bloomberg after a news conference on the city's upcoming fourth gun buyback day set for May 14.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo was glad that Bloomberg apologized for the remark.

"We're one state, at the end of the day. We work together, and both mayors will work together," the governor said. Meanwhile, New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio used social networking to challenge Bloomberg's remarks about Buffalo. De Blasio sent out a Twitter message stating that he "couldn't disagree more" with Bloomberg's assessment, noting that he visited Buffalo regularly when he worked as a federal housing official. The public advocate is elected by voters citywide and serves as their ombudsman.

e-mail: lmichel@buffnews.com

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