New York mayor delays Italy trip by a day after backlash

NEW YORK Fri Jul 18, 2014 7:16pm EDT

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio speaks about the city's emergency preparedness for a summer storm bearing down on New York, at an official weigh in for the Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest at City Hall in New York July 3, 2014 file photo.  REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio speaks about the city's emergency preparedness for a summer storm bearing down on New York, at an official weigh in for the Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest at City Hall in New York July 3, 2014 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Lucas Jackson

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will delay a 10-day trip to Italy by a day after a wave of criticism over taking the longest holiday outside the city by a mayor in over a decade.

De Blasio, a liberal who won November elections by a landslide, and his family were due to leave for Italy on Friday. His press secretary Phil Walzak said they would postpone their departure to Saturday so he could handle pressing city business.

His office declined to clarify what specific issues delayed the trip, or whether the trip would be shortened.

De Blasio has not been treated particularly kindly by the city's feisty tabloid press, especially with respect to his vacation plans in the wake of labor negotiations that threatened to affect tens of thousands of commuters.

As the Long Island Rail Road strike loomed, the New York Post ran a headline, "Let Them Use Gondolas," mocking the Italy sojourn. A tentative deal on Thursday averted the walkout.

De Blasio, his wife, Chirlane McCray, and their children, Chiara and Dante, were set to leave for their summer getaway on Friday just seven months into his administration.

They planned to visit Rome, Venice and Capri, and split his time between sightseeing tours and meetings with local government officials.

Earlier on Friday, the mayor expressed sadness the death of a Staten Island man who was put in a chokehold by police, and promised a full investigation into the incident during a press conference at city hall. It was not clear whether his trip was delayed because of the incident.

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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