It’s not like he ever really left.
Ex-Mayor Bill de Blasio — now competing in a crowded congressional race that includes incumbent Rep. Mondaire Jones — has returned to his now spruced-up Park Slope digs, after nearly eight years in Gracie Mansion and living at a pricey Brooklyn hotel for months afterward.
But don’t worry, he won’t get lost. De Blasio was notorious for near-daily trips from the Upper East Side mansion to his favorite gym — the Park Slope Y — as well as stops to his favorite neighborhood haunts like Colson Patisserie and Bar Toto, just down the block from his now-renovated house.
The Post spotted the ex-mayor Thursday on 11th Street, where he said he and wife Chirlane McCray moved back two weeks ago following their extended stay in the ritzy New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge on Adams Street.
Wearing his customary business-casual campaign-trail uniform of a light-blue button-down shirt, khakis and gray New Balance sneakers, de Blasio expressed delight about moving back to the neighborhood where they lived for years and raised their daughter Chiara and son Dante.
“Beautiful. It’s absolutely beautiful,” he said of the area, which he represented in the City Council in the aughts before being elected Public Advocate.
“It’s just wonderful to be back home. It’s amazing. This is the home my kids grew up in,” the former mayor gushed. “The home where my kids grew up has my heart and soul, so it feels just so good to be back in the neighborhood.
“This is my neighborhood. I know so many people here — the small shops, the store owners. This is the world I came from and could not wait to get back to, truly,” he added with a smile.
Politico New York first reported Thursday morning that de Blasio had moved out of his hotel and back to Park Slope.
De Blasio — who in May announced his run to represent the newly redrawn 10th Congressional District — on Thursday afternoon told The Post he was “happy” with the renovations, though he noted they were hampered by supply-chain issues.
“We got whomped by supply chain stuff. A bunch of stuff got delayed, so everything got slowed down well beyond what we hoped,” said the former mayor.
Asked which components of the house were refurbished, de Blasio replied, “a lot.”
“The house is over 120 years old, and it needed a huge amount of work, and so now it’s ready to be the house for the rest of our lives,” he explained.
In April, The Post first revealed that the 61-year-old Democrat and McCray in early 2021 traded Gracie Mansion for the pricey hotel while one of their Park Slope residential properties was undergoing a face-lift.
The Post previously reported that the pair had been staying in one of the hotel’s more modest suites, but it was unclear at the time — and remains so — how exactly the wealthy but not extravagantly rich couple was able to swing staying at the pricey, 667-room building for several months.
While de Blasio is eligible for a six-figure pension for his two decades of public service and also receives rental income on two Brooklyn residential properties he and his wife own, The Post reported in October that de Blasio put himself in more debt by taking out a second mortgage totaling $615,342 on one of the pair of 11th Street houses.
In total, the longtime politician and former first lady have racked up at least $2.5 million in debt.
Following a Wednesday afternoon campaign event with a union that backed his congressional bid, de Blasio told a Politico New York reporter that he and the hotel’s owners were able to agree on a deal for a four-to-six-month stay in Downtown Brooklyn.
The four-star facility is owned by Muss Development, a real estate company that received at least $239 million in city contracts since de Blasio took office in 2014.
On Thursday afternoon, de Blasio again referenced unspecified “long-term arrangement” with the hotel’s owners, while noting its workers are unionized and that Big Apple hotel occupancy has plummeted since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was OK. It’s a union hotel, I appreciate that. We had a long-term stay arrangement, and obviously had a point where they had very few guests, and they were looking for anyone with long-term stays,” he said.
In the 15-candidate August Democratic primary for the lower Manhattan-Brooklyn House seat, de Blasio is set to face Jones — who currently holds a Hudson Valley-based seat and reportedly moved to Brooklyn on June 6 — Councilwoman Carlina Rivera, Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou, Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon, Daniel Goldman and others.
Asked for his reaction to The Post’s reporting on Jones using a pandemic perk to vote 17 times via a proxy while in France, de Blasio said the remote vote casting is “important information” for potential constituents to have when they head to the polls on Aug. 23. Still, he declined to tee off on his opponent repeatedly saying au voir to Washington, DC.
“Look, I’m not going to get into discussing other candidates right now. My focus is on my own message to voters,” he said. “I think that was important information for the people of this district to know, but they’ll draw their own conclusions.”
While campaigning, de Blasio — who has repeatedly touted his close relationship with Mayor Eric Adams – recently criticized the new city budget shrinking New York City public school funding by $215 million.
The congressional contender provided a vague answer when asked about his performance so far.
“I’ve spoken on this many times. He’s a friend. I want to see him succeed. He’s dealing with very tough circumstances, and I think the important thing is to put his vision out there and then work it every single day consistently,” said de Blasio.
“You can’t achieve your vision in five months; it takes more time,” he added, before ending the interview and walking to the nearby Muse Cafe and Tea on 6th Avenue, where he often spends time.