STRANGE SCENE BEHIND THE CURTAIN AT CEREMONY FOR DWIGHT GOODEN

New York Times
05.29.2017

A few weeks back, Bill de Blasio tried to slip into the skin of a Mets fan and honor pitcher Dwight Gooden, a lost son of the 1986 championship Mets. Gooden is a gentle and fragile soul whose struggles with alcohol and cocaine have stretched many decades. In 1986, he partied too hard and missed the championship parade.

So city workers hung red, white, and blue bunting and Mets banners from the balconies of the elegant old City Hall and erected a stage, and de Blasio presided over a recreated ceremony to honor Gooden. Press aides and the mayor hawked this as a celebration of a recovered addict. They noted it was put on by a documentary filmmaker, Amy Heart.

“Doc didn’t get the accolade that day in 1986, that parade, he didn’t get to stand here with teammates and Mayor Koch,” de Blasio said on the stage. “We’re going to fix that right now.”

The confected nature of this ceremony was curious. My colleague J. David Goodman, who covers the mayor, began to ask how the mayor’s staff had come to throw this party.

Goodman unearthed intriguing facts. Heart was not a documentarian; she was a would-be celebrity — her website features shots of her posing with athletes and of her in furs and bikini underwear — in hopes of turning this “ceremony” into a reality television vehicle for herself.

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