Mayor Bloomberg braved it out onstage today beside a hand puppet and Young Frankenstein's benighted monster to make clear that — while our mass-transit system implodes and high-density new neighborhoods like Hudson Yards seem beyond our reach — New York City leads in symbolic announcements of marginal steps to avoid climate disaster. Today, Broadway theaters and shows staged a hoo-hah at the Eugene O'Neill Theater, where they promised to switch to compact fluorescent bulbs, use ecofriendly sets, and make recycling bins easier to find during intermission.
The last time the mayor bantered with an actor about his green agenda, it was to watch Arnold Schwarzenegger salute him as an "environmental warrior" on the launching of PlaNYC. Since then, the state and federal governments have blocked every city-crafted law that offers meaningful reform. When singers from current shows stepped off the bleachers to belt out a specially commissioned tune ("Yes, one person may seem weak and small-y/But all work together and, by golly..."), the friendly folks in the audience noticeably let the laugh lines pass. The mayor's environmental show must go on, but the mess at the MTA and the stall in development makes it feel ever closer to a bread and circus.