I am generally not a fan of proclaiming that a particular celebrity “won” Halloween since it is a day when cosplay is not confined to the realm of nerds and when Twix bars are consumed in great numbers: There are no losers. But I feel comfortable declaring, by the powers vested in me as a person who writes stuff on the internet for a living, that Bill de Blasio is already the winner of this year’s festivities. The New York City mayor showed up to a press conference on Thursday wearing a Star Trek costume and got things so wrong they bounced back and became right again, like some temporal slingshot. (I’ve only watched Tenet twice, don’t @ me.)
I’ll admit, when I first saw de Blasio’s outfit, I didn’t get it. “Halloween is almost here, and it’s time to choose your costume,” he said, beaming. “I’ve chosen mine. This is my homage to Captain Kirk.”
I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if the seven Star Trek fans actually watching de Blasio’s presser had simultaneously cried out in terror. That’s not a Captain Kirk costume! De Blasio was wearing a blue uniform, which Spock wore on the original series as the chief science officer. Kirk wore a command uniform, which was gold (or, in reality, for you Über-geeks out there, lime green).
Mixing up the two most famous characters on Star Trek is a very de Blasio thing to do, but it soon became apparent that the USS Bill had gone a big step further and initiated the auto-destruct system.
“It’s going to be an amazing time, and I want to remind everyone of the Prime Directive,” he said. “Live long and prosper … with candy.”
For those who didn’t successfully beg their mom to sew them a Dr. Beverly Crusher Halloween costume in third grade, allow me to explain: These are two wildly different Star Trek things. “Live long and prosper” is the Vulcan salute, which is usually accompanied by a hand sign (adapted from a Jewish tradition by actor Leonard Nimoy, who played Spock). It’s such a well-known gesture that Apple added it to its emoji library in 2015.
The Prime Directive is a principle Starfleet officers swear to uphold that forbids them from interfering in the normal development of alien civilizations. “A star captain’s most solemn oath is that he will give his life, even his entire crew, rather than violate the Prime Directive,” said Captain Kirk. In practice, it mainly provides an opportunity for Star Trek characters to sit around and debate ethical questions because this show rocks.
Anyone who has watched more than a handful of Star Trek episodes would know this — which made me suspicious. Why would de Blasio dress as a Star Trek character if he doesn’t know the most basic facts about the show?
After the press conference, the mayor cheerfully acknowledged his errors, telling reporters, “I always say I’m going to give credit where credit is due to the media. That’s a good catch. I like the blue a lot, but you’re right, it’s historically inaccurate. But I’m still gonna wear it because now we bought it.”
But something about this still didn’t sit right. I saw a tweet noting that de Blasio had once declared that he and his wife are Trekkies. Here’s the full quote, from an April 2021 press conference:
Chirlane and I are Trekkies, so we have been very devoted to all the different iterations of Star Trek. And Michelle Hurd is an extraordinary actor, but she also helped to save the entire known galaxy at a crucial moment in Star Trek: Picard. So I really think — you know, I thank a lot of people when they join us in these morning gatherings, but few of them have saved the galaxy. So Michelle, just wanted to do a special shout-out — all sentient beings thank you for that act of courage and heroism.
So de Blasio doesn’t just claim to have watched all the different iterations of the show; he was able to reference a plot point from a Star Trek: The Next Generation sequel series that’s currently airing only on Paramount+!
What’s more plausible here: a devoted Trek fan just forgetting that “Live long and prosper” isn’t the Prime Directive, or something deeper? Perhaps everything — the incorrect costume, the obvious flubbing of Star Trek canon — is actually performance art, a cheeky way for de Blasio to acknowledge his often cringy, eating-pizza-with-a-fork, groundhog-dropping persona? And what GIF would sum up New Yorkers’ entire stance toward their mayor over his nearly eight-year tenure?
I understand it may be hard to accept that Bill de Blasio could be this clever and self-aware. But after all, Star Trek is all about boldly going where no one has gone before.