Belmar mayor treated to Staten Island tour

August 1, 2008 3:50:08 PM PDT
The New Jersey beach town mayor whose use of ethnic slurs and stereotypes in a newsletter aimed at summer renters caused an uproar on Staten Island paid a visit to the borough Friday to make amends."I'm thrilled that I visited," Belmar, N.J., Mayor Ken Pringle told a news conference after taking the ferry from Manhattan to Staten Island and visiting some of the borough's cultural attractions. "It was an eye opening experience."

Pringle shut down his blog, the Belmar Summer Rental News, after ruffling feathers with remarks he said were intended to poke fun at badly behaving visitors to the Jersey shore town.

While recounting a bar fight between two female tourists, one from Staten Island, he wrote in a July 4 newsletter, "Journalistically speaking, 'SI woman punches another woman' is right up there with 'Dog bites man."'

He portrayed Staten Island women as heavily hair-sprayed blondes holding drinks and called men "guidos," offending Italian-American groups by using a term widely considered a slur.

Pringle participated in a daylong tour of the borough Friday, attended by borough President James Molinaro's spokesman, public relations agency officials and a horde of media.

Pringle rode the ferry, took a trolley along Staten Island's esplanade, visited the memorial to Staten Island victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks and stopped at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center, a complex of 19th century buildings that once served as sailors' retirement homes.

He stopped for lunch at Staten Island's brand-new Hilton.

Larry Ambrosino, Molinaro's spokesman, praised Pringle for showing up.

"He's been a man about it. He apologized and he came," Ambrosino said.

Pringle didn't spend much time meeting the residents who said they were unfairly maligned.

Barbara Servider, a native of Staten Island, watched Pringle get off the ferry Friday morning.

"Ah! The bad guy!" she said. She said she and her husband no longer spend summer days in Belmar; now they go to another Jersey shore town, Avon-By-The-Sea.

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