MAYOR, 70, NODS LITTLE TO AGE

By Michael Howard Saul

 

Michael Rubens Bloomberg took the oath of office as New York City’s 108th mayor when he was 59 years old. He turns 70 on Tuesday, and if he finishes his third term as expected next year, he would be the oldest serving mayor since the five boroughs were consolidated in 1898.

Mr. Bloomberg may get teased about his advanced years this Valentine’s Day, but the mayor typically hasn’t allowed his senior status to get him down. The billionaire likes to say tomorrow will always be his best day, and maybe it doesn’t hurt that 25-year-old Lady Gaga kissed him smack on the lips this New Year’s Eve.

Bloomberg Through the Years

Bloomberg Through the Years

In honor of Mr. Bloomberg’s 70th birthday, The Wall Street Journal asked two image consultants to look at photographs of the mayor and evaluate whether time and the rigors of City Hall have accelerated his aging, as some believe the White House dramatically speeds up the aging of presidents.

Their conclusion: The mayor looks good.
“He hasn’t really changed that much,” said Laura Rubeli, a Las Vegas-based image consultant who is originally from New York.

“For a 70-year-old man, I think he looks fantastic. I really do. In my opinion, he looks fabulous.”

Amanda Sanders, a New York-based image consultant, agreed: “It doesn’t look like he’s aged at all,” she said.

Ms. Sanders said it is remarkable how little the mayor appears to have changed in the past decade, given how much older President Barack Obama looks after three years in office.

“Obama has aged. I don’t know if that’s stress related. Every time I see him, I’m thinking ‘My! Has he been in office that long?’” Ms. Sanders said.

Unlike Mr. Obama, who is 50, Mr. Bloomberg already sported a head of gray hair when he took office. But the image consultants said the mayor had retained something harder to pinpoint.
“Michael Bloomberg looks very cool, sort of unscathed, unchanged,” Ms. Sanders said.

Mayor Bloomberg, Then and Now

By the end of his third term, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg will be the oldest serving mayor since the city was consolidated in 1898. As he turns 70, compare photos of the mayor taken nearly a decade apart.

Mr. Bloomberg has been watching his diet over the years, especially during his first term when photographs showed a growing mayoral paunch. The divorced father of two daughters has been with his girlfriend, Diana Taylor, 57, the former state banking commissioner, since before he was elected.

During an appearance Monday at a fashion-related event in Midtown Manhattan, he received high praise from designer Diane von Furstenberg. When a reporter asked if she had any fashion advice for the mayor, she said the mayor is “so hot—he doesn’t need any.”

Over the years, Mr. Bloomberg has maintained a normal public schedule on his birthday, going to events and making announcements. On Tuesday, he is scheduled to swear in judges in Manhattan and appear at a charity fund-raiser. Last year, he cut a birthday cake presented at a Brooklyn Brewery event, but he has otherwise celebrated privately.

Mr. Bloomberg has remained active and makes few noticeable accommodations for his age. Several years ago, he experimented with a hearing aide but he hasn’t appeared to be wearing one recently. A City Hall spokesman didn’t respond Monday to a request for comment.

When the mayor turned 65, he became eligible for a reduced-fare MetroCard, not that the billionaire mayor needs any discounts. And more than once, he’s proudly displayed his AARP membership card.

Records of New York City mayors since 1898 reveal Mr. Bloomberg is neck and neck with former Mayor Abraham Beame to be the city’s oldest serving mayor. Mr. Beame was 71 when his term ended in December 1977. If Mr. Bloomberg finishes out his term next year, he, too, will be 71, but since his birthday is in February and Mr. Beame’s was in March, Mr. Bloomberg would be the city’s oldest serving mayor in the final weeks of his third term.

Former Mayor Ed Koch, who was 65 when he left office and is 87 now, said the mayor is a spring chicken compared with him. “At age 70 in today’s society, he would be perceived as middle-aged—and he should make the most of it,” he said.

Mr. Bloomberg has said he plans to focus his attention on his philanthropic efforts after he leaves City Hall.

Bobbie Sackman, an advocate for senior citizens, described the mayor’s record on the elderly as “mixed,” noting severe budget cuts.

But she said she hopes the birthday reminds him that seniors need the city’s help.

“His wealth will obviously make his aging process different than the average person’s,” Ms. Sackman said.