The Preacher Who Would Be Mayor

11/02/2009 4:00 AM |

Outside, a woman on a cellphone passes. “It’s Reverend Billy,” she says. “Oh my God, I’m at Reverend Billy’s office!” She hangs up and starts snapping pictures with her iPhone. “He’s insanely fabulous,” she tells a few supporters congregating outside.

Two young women, who must be on the brink of drinking age, pass. “Reverend Billy?” one says. “For may-or?” Billy makes his way outside and chats with them. “You’re welcome to”-he motions inside. “We have wine, if you like.” They walk away instead. Two separate fratty jocks pass by and ask, with a tinge of hostility, “what’s this about?”

By 7:30, the chairs are filled, the booze is being consumed as supporters mingle, nibbling on grapes. Billy, though, has wandered across the street to meet his new neighbors: Ladder Company 20, Engine Company 13. He’s received politely, if a little bemusedly.

“So you’re running for mayor?” Captain Weldon asks.

“Yeah, on the Green Party ticket,” Billy says.


They discuss curbside idling, and Billy delivers a critical diatribe against Bloomberg’s environmental policies.

“Oh, I forget—that’s your boss, right?” Billy says, feigning fear that security cameras are watching them.

“Do you do healings?” Weldon asks, changing the subject.

“Yeah,” Billy answers enthusiastically.

“Cos I need healing,” he says, smiling, “and this guy.” Weldon looks to his left. “C’mere,” he says coldly, as though calling a dog.

A tall, muscular and baby-faced firefighter appears, with a nametag that identifies him as Gallagher. He smiles awkwardly while Billy grabs his shoulder and asks the “mysterious creator” to heal this man so he can fight fires. A good sport, Gallagher continues to smile.

Afterwards, Billy makes to leave. “Thanks for letting us be your neighbor for seven months,” he tells Weldon. “And don’t forget,” says Brennan Cavanaugh, the campaign’s photographer, as Billy and his retinue makes its way back to HQ, “the mayor doesn’t know who pulls the voting lever.”

3 Comment

  • It’s easy to dismiss a campaign that has the look of self-promoting parody. When you open it up though– it’s a huge mistake. 95% of what Billy advocates is EXACTLY what this city needs WAY WAY more of. Hoory for this heroic campaign. Let’s hope he gets enough votes to get someone’s attention.

  • A long and worthwhile piece, kind of a definitive piece on the Rev. Really good, thanks.

  • Excellent piece. I agree with the first commentator. It can seem like an ackward marriage until you actually discover the depth and value of the Reverend’s vision and policy directions. I think he’s done a great service by putting this together and showing how an integrated message can be delivered–even without hairdo’s and choirs. May it bring benefit to the future and influence future candidates! Thanks for putting this out there.