By Amy Phillips Penn

“And because no matter who you are, if you believe in yourself and your dream, New York will always be the place for you.”

So true, Michael Bloomberg, and Happy Valentine’s/Birthday to you.

Cupid drew back his bow, and aimed his uber-arrow at the greatest apple in the world; then declared the future Mayor Bloomberg’s birthday to be Valentine’s Day.

What a love affair: a great mayor and the city he loves, New York, New York.

Mayor of New York City: One of the most challenging, invigorating, close-to-impossible, Excedrin headache-number- infinity jobs in the world…all for the overwhelming salary of a dollar a year.

Mayor Bloomberg aced the American dream–self-made, we might add, no member of the “lucky gene pool­”–double-aced the Billionaire bank account, and gave back BIG TIME.

“I am a big believer in giving it all away and always said that the best funeral planning ends at bouncing the check to the undertaker.”

Follow the bouncing check…and be blown away, before it plays dead.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is philanthropy personified, concentrating on the arts, health issues, education, and whatever needs cultivating.

How can we not love him? Those smaller soda cans will always have an invisible Bloomberg signature, coupled with lower sodium, all adding up to the motto “Take good care of yourself, you belong to New York.”

New York has it all, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to keep it that way and up the ante.

What does it take to be Mayor of New York?

Everything, anything, virtually no sleep, and then some.

A love of the city, it’s incredible and every changing cultural, political, ethnic and religious mélange, budgets, health issues, and keeping Central Park semi-sane and beautiful. New York is a magnet for moviemakers, sightseers, shoppers, gourmet, deli and International cuisine lovers and… debaters.

Yes, debaters. Ever listen to a New Yorker make a point? Ever hear a New Yorker back down gracefully? Let’s leave that at “rhetorical.” Everyone New Yorker has an opinion, and he’s at the starting gate ready to let it roll.

Ask any New Yorker with a heartbeat: we love a good, mediocre, trivial, self-important, or inconsequential debate. The passion lies in the art form (or lack, therein) of the argument.

Take the very edgy questions as to “the Mosque.” That’s the Mosque, the one theoretically a little too touchy-touchy with Ground Zero even for some of the most Liberal of New Yorkers.

What’s a Mayor to do? Stand up, stand for… and then duck. Only Bloomberg doesn’t duck.

“Political controversies come and go, but our values and our traditions endure, and there is no neighborhood in this city that is off-limits to God’s love and mercy, as the religious leaders here with us can attest,” declared Mayor Bloomberg in support of the Mosque to be… or not to be.

Happy birthday, Mayor Bloomberg.

We love you for your love of New York, your cameo in Gossip Girls, your tolerance for SNL digs, being the All American “soccer dad” at horseshows (Go Georgina!), and for loving the Big A with all your A-plus New York loving heart.

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