A Salute Not to the Yankees, but to Their Logo

A medal awarded to a New York City police officer in 1877, and designed by Louis B. Tiffany, was eventually the inspiration for the New York Yankees' logo.The New York City Police Museum A medal awarded to a New York City police officer in 1877, and designed by Louis B. Tiffany, was eventually the inspiration for the New York Yankees’ logo.

For only the second time in 19 years, the Yankees are out of the playoffs before the postseason has even begun. Phew. Now I can finally wear my Yankees cap.

Here’s the thing: I love the Yankees’ logo, but couldn’t care less about the team. It’s not that I object to a $1.85 billion franchise with a $230 million opening-day payroll. And I’m not a Mets or Red Sox fan. I just don’t care all that much about baseball. But, that logo. This is not where I segue into some screed on graphic design, gushing about serifs or kerning. The logo is just flat-out quintessential, distilled, pure New York.

It was designed by Louis B. Tiffany as part of a silver shield-shaped Medal for Valor depicting a woman placing a laurel wreath on a policeman’s head. It also contained the by-now-familiar interlocking letters “NY.” The medal was given to John McDowell, the first New York police officer shot in the line of duty, in 1877, one year after the National League was formed.

In 1903, when the American League moved the Baltimore Orioles to 168th Street and Broadway for a season, they were dubbed “The Highlanders,” because, in those days, 168th was the nosebleed section of the city. In 1909, after several unsuccessful uniform designs, William “Big Bull” Devery, a part-owner of the Highlanders, essentially expropriated the logo, having remembered it from his days as the city’s police chief. (The Police Department still awards medals of valor, but they are based on a 1939 redesign.) By 1913, when the team moved to the Polo Grounds, newspaper reporters who were sick of the long team name had nicknamed the Highlanders as “Yankees” and the franchise had made the moniker official.


So here, in these simple overlapping letters, is a Venn diagram of every type of power in the city: the luxurious jeweler, the valiant public servant, the three-card-monty entrepreneur, the imperious immigrant and the chummy citywide nickname. It has been the winningest thing in the city since day one. But it gets ruined by baseball.

Whether people move here from Connecticut or Kazakhstan, there are certain immigrants who pride themselves on earning a New York state driver’s license. But the Yankees cap is the true calling card.

Picture any celebrity walking their dog through TriBeCa or shopping with their child in SoHo. Their costume from the neck up is sunglasses and a Yankees cap. It’s cliché because it’s true, so true that Sports Illustrated keeps a slide show of celebrities in Yankees caps: Billy Crystal, Kate Hudson, LeBron James, Spike Lee, Jennifer Lopez, Madonna, Adam Sandler, Paul Simon, Denzel Washington, and on and on. Before they were part-owners of the Brooklyn Nets, the rapper Jay Z and his wife, Beyoncé Knowles, were avid Yankees cap devotees. Jay Z not only rode in Yankees’ World Series parades, but in 2010, he also unveiled a line of co-branded gear.

When Hillary Rodham Clinton was the first lady, she greeted Yankees at the White House and wore a Yankees cap the whole time, perhaps underlining her New York credentials as she prepared to run for a Senate seat here.

The mayor at the time, Rudolph W. Giuliani, strutted about town wearing “a Yankees cap like a king wears a crown,” noted The Washington Post in 1999. In his reign as mayor, Mr. Giuliani gave keys to the city to Yankees players, coaches and retired legends on nine separate occasions. By comparison, his predecessor, David N. Dinkins, gave out only two keys, one to Mikhail Gorbachev, the other to Nelson Mandela.

The lower rungs of society, too, know the power of a Yankees cap: a 2010 analysis by The New York Times of Police Department news releases, surveillance video, and images of robberies and other crimes, as well as police sketches and newspaper articles that described suspects’ clothing, revealed that Yankees caps far outnumber those of any other sports team among the crooked.

More than Broadway or bagels or perhaps even that beacon on Liberty Island, the Yankees logo has been our greatest ambassador.

I hold no illusions that anyone sees the back story and symbolism of the logo when I wear my hat. As a friend explained to me: “The Yankees are so big and famous it’s kind of a stretch to wear the logo and expect anyone to take your symbol-splicing seriously.”

Whatever the motivation or interpretation, a Yankees cap is an open invitation for anyone anywhere to feel cool, rich, tough or victorious (mostly). That is not a feat made possible by Mariano Rivera or Andy Pettitte or the ghosts of Babe Ruth or Joe DiMaggio — rather, it’s by virtue of the more than eight million sluggers rounding the bases in this crackerjack slog of a town.

And now the Yankees’ season is over. Long live the Yankees cap!

A Yankees cap doesn’t make you a Yankees fan as much as it makes you a New Yorker. It is the secular skullcap for the priesthood of all believers who arrive at the likes of Port Authority, Pennsylvania Station and Kennedy Airport by the minute with nothing but a duffel bag full of dreams. To that, I tip my hat.

New York Today: Overdue

Damaged by Hurricane Sandy, a library in Brooklyn reopens today.Chang W. Lee/The New York Times Damaged by Hurricane Sandy, a library in Brooklyn reopens today.

Updated 7:05 a.m. | In addition to destroying lives and homes, Hurricane Sandy took something less valuable but still precious: library books, by the tens of thousands.

In Brooklyn alone, more than 30,000 soggy, moldering volumes had to be discarded.

Six branches were closed for months.

But today at 10:30 a.m., the library in the Gerritsen Beach neighborhood will reopen.

The modern, church-like building, less than 20 years old, had to be gutted after the storm.

“We lost pretty much everything,” said the Brooklyn library system’s president, Linda E. Johnson.

With storm aid helping to finance a $1.5 million renovation, the Gerritsen branch has added meeting rooms, technology, handicap access and a more open layout.

“The bad news is that the community that was so hard hit was without a library for a long time,” Ms. Johnson said. “The good news is that what’s opening is going to be much better.”

Next month, Brooklyn’s worst-damaged library, in Coney Island, where five feet of water swamped the shelves, is to reopen, too.

Here’s what else you need to know for Monday.


Yet another gorgeous day, with a high of 74. Clouds are promised for tomorrow, though.


- Mass Transit [7:05 a.m.] Delays on most PATH trains because of a signal failure. New Jersey Transit Montclair/Boonton line trains suspended because someone was struck by a train. Subways are O.K. Click for latest M.T.A. status.

Metro-North has added trains on its crippled New Haven line, but is still up to only 50 percent of normal service as Con Edison works to restore power.

The railroad is offering 8,600 free park-and-ride spaces at stations on the Harlem line and near subways in the Bronx. See advisory and schedule.

- Roads [6:41 a.m.] No unusual delays. Click for traffic map or radio report on the 1s.

Alternate-side parking is in effect all week.


- On the campaign trail, Bill de Blasio tours the Children’s Aid Society and talks about his plan for universal prekindergarten.

- Joseph J. Lhota is on 1010-WINS radio at 8 a.m. and hosts a tele-town hall with city residents at 6:30 p.m.

- A public hearing on the state’s review of the Indian Point nuclear plant, at 250 Broadway. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Live-streamed here.

- Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott announces the expansion of Advanced Placement programs at city high schools. 10 a.m.

- Federal officials release the final $500 million plan for the Superfund cleanup of the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn. 11 a.m.

- The astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson touches down in Brooklyn Heights to deliver a public lecture at St. Francis College. 12:30 p.m. [Free, reservation recommended]

- Don’t you wish you could call your memoir “Wild Tales: A Rock and Roll Life?” Graham Nash did. He’s at the Strand bookstore at 7 p.m. [Buy the book or $20 gift certificate to attend]

- The literary historian Carla Kaplan discusses her new book “Miss Anne in Harlem: The White Women of the Black Renaissance” (The Times called it “a remarkable work of historical recovery”) at the Gotham Center for New York City History in Midtown. 6:30 p.m. [Free]

- “The Last Unicorn,” the beloved 1982 children’s film, shows on a big screen and Peter S. Beagle, author of the book and screenplay, speaks. City Cinemas, East 86th Street, 7 p.m. [$14 for adults, $11 for children]

- For more events, see The New York Times Arts & Entertainment guide.


- Most New Yorkers favor more casinos in the state, a poll finds. [New York Times]

- The city often taxes homeowners in poor neighborhoods much more than those in rich ones. [Daily News]

- The city collected $73 million in taxes by cracking down on properties that were listed as tax-exempt but should not have been. [New York Post]

- Elevators in city housing projects are magnets for crime. [New York Times]

- Residents of the Chelsea Hotel settled with its new owners over construction conditions. [DNA Info]

- The City Opera put on what will probably be its last performance. [New York Times]

- Mr. Lhota’s early political career included an investigation of the Georgetown University campus pub. “It has obviously lost all sense of fiscal control,” he wrote in 1975. [New York Times]

- What? I said, “In the long run, subway noise can damage your hearing.” [Newsday]

- Season finales: Yankees beat Astros, 5-1 in 14 innings. Mets beat Brewers, 3-2.

Joseph Burgess contributed reporting.

New York Today is a morning roundup that stays live from 6 a.m. till about noon.

What would you like to see here to start your day? Post a comment, e-mail us at nytoday@nytimes.com or reach us via Twitter using #NYToday.

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Rock, Paper, Scissors for a Citi Bike

Victor Kerlow

Dear Diary:

Approaching a Citi Bike station at 55th and Lexington one recent afternoon, I became interested in the dynamics when a young woman returned the only available bike and two slightly older men, arriving at the same moment in time, found themselves in a dilemma.

“Excuse me, but I think I arrived first and I am in a terrible hurry,” said one.

“Well, I believe I was a step ahead of you, and I also am in a rush,” the other replied.

“So, what if we played one round of Rock, Paper, Scissors, Shoot for the bike?” the first proposed.

And as I watched, Scissors beat Paper, the two men shook hands, and Scissors pedaled off.

Read all recent entries and our updated submissions guidelines. Reach us via e-mail diary@nytimes.com or follow @NYTMetro on Twitter using the hashtag #MetDiary.

Week in Pictures for Sept. 27

Here is a slide show of photographs from the past week in New York City and the region. Subjects include unlawfully painted bike lanes in Manhattan, oyster planting in the Bronx, and environmentalists in the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn.

This weekend on “The New York Times Close Up,” an inside look at the most compelling articles in the Sunday newspaper, Sam Roberts will speak with The Times’s Eleanor Randolph, Michael Barbaro and Javier C. Hernández. Also, John Burnett, Republican nominee for comptroller, and Sudhir Venkatesh, an author. Tune in at 10 p.m. Saturday or 10 a.m. Sunday on NY1 News to watch.

A sampling from the City Room blog is featured daily in the main print news section of The Times. You may also read current New York headlines, like New York Metro | The New York Times on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Big Ticket | A Hint of Europe for $13.579 Million

The Touraine condominium building.Ángel Franco/The New York Times The Touraine condominium building.

A four-bedroom penthouse, one of four that crown the Touraine, a new luxury condominium with distinct European overtones at 132 East 65th Street (at Lexington Avenue), sold for $13,579,371.82 and was the most expensive transaction of the week, according to city records. The listing price for the 3,695-square-foot simplex, PH4, was $13,675,990, and the monthly carrying charges are $6,631.

Toll Brothers City Living, the developer/sponsor, built 22 units and quickly accumulated a near sellout. Another penthouse, PH3, sold for $9,771,116.82, city records show. The only residence still available to those who crave an address at the 15-story building designed by the French architect Lucien Lagrange is the costliest one, PH1, a duplex on the 14th and 15th floors with an asking price of $19,995,990.

The six-room PH4, on the 11th floor, has a private elevator, an art-ready reception gallery, four and a half Calacatta marble baths, and a Gaggenau windowed eat-in kitchen with marble countertops.

The buyer of PH4 used a limited-liability company, NY Touraine PH4, as did the buyer of PH3, recorded as Ask Ventures.

The week’s second-highest-price sale, at $13 million, was downtown in a warehouse-to-loft conversion at 196 West Houston Street. Built in 1899, the property was reimagined as a private residence/entertainment mecca with a two-car garage, a basement recording studio — later converted into a yoga studio — and a roof deck with outdoor showers. Among those who attended parties there in its heyday were John Lennon and Norman Mailer.

The seller, represented by Stan Ponte and Vannessa Kaufman of Sotheby’s International Realty, was Draw Ventures, a limited-liability company based in Palo Alto, Calif. The buyer also used a limited-liability company, Shatter Scape Holdings.

Big Ticket includes closed sales from the previous week, ending Wednesday.

Full Disclosure, Theater District Noise

Dear Diary:

The following e-mail was sent by my husband in early August to someone interested in renting a “cube” in his office, in response to her question, “Is your office insulated from noise?”

One of the features of our space is our location in the heart of the theater district. We participate in that local soundscape, including the guide chatter from frequent tour buses, the weekly rush of Wednesday matinee traffic, the queues outside for “The Book of Mormon,” and the regular sound of horse-drawn carriages looking for tourists.

Depending on the season, we also sometimes hear faint strains of piano, singing and dancing as the theatrical companies in our building prepare for coming Broadway shows.

We regularly hear the bells from St. Malachy’s: the Actor’s Chapel right across the street (including a carillon performance of “There’s No Business Like Show Business” every Wednesday). We are also fortunate to be protected locally by F.D.N.Y. Engine 54 “Never Missed a Performance” and other fire engines very nearby, so we hear their activity and sirens every day.

Our windows can be opened, so we participate in those sounds more or less, depending on the season, but I would not call us insulated by any means.

- Dan

Read all recent entries and our updated submissions guidelines. Reach us via e-mail diary@nytimes.com or follow @NYTMetro on Twitter using the hashtag #MetDiary.

New York Today: Baby Boom

It is high season at the city's maternity wards.Christian Hansen for The New York Times It is high season at the city’s maternity wards.

If the air seems to be filled with the cries of newborns lately, it’s not your imagination.

This is the time of year when the most births occur in New York.

The week ending Sept. 26 saw an average of 404 babies born per day over the last decade, according to the city health department.

That’s the highest figure for any week in the year.

It’s 14 percent more than the 355 births on an average day in the slowest week, the week of Nov. 28. (Who wants to be stuck in the hospital over Thanksgiving?)

All the dates with the lowest rates are around major holidays, led by Christmas Day, with an average of just 286 births. You and your doctor may thank the miracle of the scheduled c-section for that.

We’re not sure why the birth rate is so high this time of year.

Maybe it has something to do with the calendar event that falls 40 weeks before today: Dec. 21, usually the shortest day — and the longest night — of the year.

What’s your theory?

Here’s what else you need to know for Friday and the weekend:


Clouding over with a high of 70, but clearing overnight and pretty sunny on Saturday and Sunday, with highs in the low 70s. You are free to move about the city.


- Mass Transit: Subways are O.K. But Metro-North’s New Haven line is still providing very limited service — see details. Click for latest M.T.A. status.

- Roads: No major problems. Click for traffic map or radio report on the 1s.

Alternate-side parking is suspended today for the Jewish holiday of Simhat Torah. Meters remain in effect.


- On the campaign trail, Bill de Blasio appears on the Brian Lehrer show and on “Pura Politica” on NY1 Noticias at 6 p.m. Joseph J. Lhota discusses his jobs plan at a restaurant in Jackson Heights.

- Mayor Bloomberg’s weekly appearance on the John Gambling radio show on WOR-710 AM. 8:05 a.m.

- Cycle for Survival, which raises money for Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, takes over a plaza in Times Square with more than 100 stationary bike riders and loud music. 9 a.m.

- Intriguing-sounding thing you won’t be going to: the deputy agriculture secretary speaks downtown at a United Soybean Board workshop, “Country and City Connect for Sustainability: Bringing the Benefits of Bio-based to the New York Region.”

- Put on your tin foil hats, conspiracy nerds. Tickets go on sale at noon to see David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson at the Paley Center on Oct. 12, where they will speak of the 20th anniversary of “The X-Files.”

- Be serenaded at lunch by cast members of “Annie,” “Pippin,” “Newsies” and other shows at the “Broadway on the Hudson” concert at Waterfront Plaza downtown. 12:30 p.m. [Free]

- Roberta’s, Red Hook Lobster Pound, Calexico and others purvey their wares as Madison Square Eats, adjacent to Madison Square Park, opens for a four-week run. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

- Free outdoor concerts at night in autumn? Yes. St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble plays brass music at Granite Prospect in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Bring a sweater. 7 p.m. [Free, also on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Snug Harbor in Staten Island.]

- Over 400 artists, 100 studios, 50 galleries and three days of art and performance as the venerable Dumbo Arts Festival returns for its 17th year. [Free]

- “For and About,” a show of art made in response to Hurricane Sandy by Brooklyn artists opens at the Brooklyn Arts Council Gallery, also in Dumbo. 6:30 p.m. [Free]


- Who says industry is dead in New York? Companies are still polluting the Gowanus Canal. [New York Times]

- New York City’s air, though, is the cleanest it’s been in 50 years, the mayor says. [New York Times]

- A horse pulling a carriage bolted and toppled the carriage on Eighth Avenue near Columbus Circle. No one was injured. [Daily News]

- Yanks lose to Rays at Mariano Rivera’s last home game, 4-0. Mets lose to Brewers, 4-2.



- A discussion of Abraham Lincoln’s speeches at the Staten Island Museum. 11:30 a.m.

- Elvis Costello, Alicia Keys, Kings of Leon and Stevie Wonder perform at the Global Citizen Festival in Central Park. All free tickets are accounted for, but some VIP tickets still remain. Or watch the live stream. 4 p.m.

- Take a night hike around Van Cortlandt Park with the Urban Park Rangers. 7 p.m. [Free]


- The mountainous former landfill on Staten Island now known as Freshkills Park hosts a free afternoon of kayaking, biking and climbing walls. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. [Free]

- Jousting anyone? The annual Medieval Festival transforms Fort Tyron Park into a medieval town from 11:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. [Free]

- The Atlantic Antic street fair returns to Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. Noon to 6 p.m. [Free]

- For more events, see The New York Times Arts & Entertainment guide. Also check out The Skint, where we read about some of this weekend’s events.

Joseph Burgess and Judy Tong contributed reporting.

New York Today is a morning roundup that stays live from 6 a.m. till about noon.

What would you like to see here to start your day? Post a comment, e-mail us at nytoday@nytimes.com or reach us via Twitter using #NYToday.

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Please Call Me Miss, Not Ma’am

Dear Diary:

To the polite men of Manhattan and beyond,
If I happen to drop my scarf
and you’d like to alert me to the fact,
you need not call me “Ma’am”
or “Excuse Me.”
My sisters and I were once “Miss”
and you know what? We kinda miss it.

Read all recent entries and our updated submissions guidelines. Reach us via e-mail diary@nytimes.com or follow @NYTMetro on Twitter using the hashtag #MetDiary.

New York Today: Slow Train, No Train

Trains will be few, far between and jam-packed on Metro-North's New Haven line this morning.Ángel Franco/The New York Times Trains will be few, far between and jam-packed on Metro-North’s New Haven line this morning.

Updated 10:11 a.m. | For the 40,000 commuters who take Metro-North’s New Haven line, the railroad’s advisory this morning offers a choice:

“Customers are strongly encouraged to stay home or should seek alternate service.”

Staying home seems like a pretty good idea.

Otherwise, the alternate-service thing is going to be a bit of a nightmare — probably for a while — after a power failure on Wednesday disrupted service on the line.

Metro-North has cobbled together a network of buses and diesel trains, but the service (see map or description) will be slow, infrequent, fragmented and very crowded.

And it can only accommodate a third of the line’s regular riders.

Some commuters can drive to a nearby Harlem line station. If you drive into the city, prepare for heavy traffic including in Manhattan, where the United Nations General Assembly is still closing streets.

Please tell us about your commute, in the comments below. Or on Twitter, with #TellNYT

“Found a replacement locomotive for tomorrow,” Michael P wrote to us, appending a photo of an antique train. “Runs on steam, goes well with outdated railcars.”

Here’s what else you need to know for Thursday.


In case you had forgotten what clouds look like, there will be some today. But also some sun, with a high of 72.


- Mass Transit [10:11] Subways are O.K. Click for latest M.T.A. status.

- Roads [10:11] Clearing up in Connecticut. Click for traffic map or radio report on the 1s.

Watch for East Side street closings as the United Nations General Assembly continues. Click to see list. Or follow @GridlockSam on Twitter.

Alternate-side parking is suspended today and tomorrow for the Jewish holidays of Shemini Atzeret and Simhat Torah.


- On the campaign trail, Joseph J. Lhota does a live Web chat on Huffington Post at 1 p.m., cuts the ribbon on a restaurant in Queens and attends the Staten Island Republican convention.

- Bill de Blasio greets evening commuters at a subway station in Harlem.

- Former Mayor David Dinkins reads from his new memoir at the Barnes & Noble in Union Square. 7 p.m. [Free]

- “Alice in the Time of the Jabberwock,” a musical monodrama featuring a menopausal Alice, is presented by American Opera Projects at South Oxford Space in Fort Greene. 8 p.m. [Free, with reservation]

- Reading, with free noodles: Jen Lin-Liu talks about “On The Noodle Road: From Beijing to Rome with Love and Pasta” at the Asian American Writers’ Workshop in Chelsea, and cooks. 7 p.m. [Free, with reservation ]

- “Tweet,” a show of art about birds, opens at the Children’s Museum of the Arts in SoHo.

- “See it Loud,” featuring work by seven American postwar painters, opens at the National Academy Museum.

- Foodies with $75 to spare: check out Prosciutto di Parma Palooza at the Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg. 6:30 p.m.

- For more events, see The New York Times Arts & Entertainment guide.


- The Tampa Bay Rays put the Yankees out of their misery, beating them 8-3 and eliminating them from the playoffs.

- A man was was fatally shot at a lighting company in Nassau County over a business deal gone bad. The gunman fled, setting off a manhunt. [The New York Times]

- For $2,000, Department of Motor Vehicle security guards and others helped drivers cheat on their commercial license tests, prosecutors say. [Daily News]

- A woman survived being pushed in front of a train at the Metro-North station in White Plains. A homeless man was arrested in the attack. [New York Post]

- Judging from Twitter, Hunter College High School is the saddest spot in Manhattan. [New York Times]

- The battles over the Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn drag on. A judge awarded legal fees to lawyers who sued the state over the project’s timetable. [Atlantic Yards Report]

- A video peek behind the scenes at Christine C. Quinn’s unsuccessful mayoral campaign. [New York Times]

- The world twerking record fell yesterday in Herald Square (not Times Square, as we mistakenly reported earlier). [Fuse TV]

- What would be in a New York time capsule created today? [Gothamist]


The children’s-violin bandit was on a spree.

More than 30 boys were waylaid on their way to music schools in the Bronx and Upper Manhattan in 1923 by a man who asked them to run an errand and offered to hold their violins while they did.

When the boys returned to the spot, the man had vanished.

Ninety years ago today, a 42-year-old Armenian embroidery worker, Adys George, was hauled before a judge.

Mr. George pleaded not guilty. He said he had never seen any of the boys before.

We have not been able to determine whether he was convicted.

Joseph Burgess contributed reporting.

New York Today is a morning roundup that stays live from 6 a.m. till about noon.

What would you like to see here to start your day? Post a comment, e-mail us at nytoday@nytimes.com or reach us via Twitter using #NYToday.

Find us on weekdays at nytimes.com/nytoday.

A Post-Mayoral Role for Bloomberg in London

There is life after City Hall — and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s version of it is already looking rather glam.

In the first official appointment for his post-mayoral career, Mr. Bloomberg will become chairman of the Serpentine Gallery in London next year.

The mayor, a billionaire, has made it clear that he plans to focus on philanthropic work, along with national policy issues like immigration and gun control, after his term ends on Dec. 31.

But Mr. Bloomberg has long eyed a return to the more global lifestyle he enjoyed in pre-political days, and London — where he has cultivated deep ties to Britain’s cultural and political elite — is a natural first stop. He owns a home in the tony Knightsbridge neighborhood and has weighed in on the construction of an enormous new London headquarters for his media firm in the city’s financial district.

Mr. Bloomberg is a longtime benefactor of the Serpentine, a prestigious exhibition space for contemporary art in the leafy Kensington Gardens, and he served on its board before pursuing political office in 2001.

As mayor, Mr. Bloomberg is no stranger to serving on prestigious boards: he is the chairman of the September 11 Memorial and Museum and created national groups like Mayors Against Illegal Guns. But he stepped down from formal positions with several cultural institutions when he entered public life.

His chairmanship of the Serpentine was disclosed this week at the gala opening of the museum’s newest gallery, partly designed by the famed architect Zaha Hadid and partly paid for by Mr. Bloomberg himself.

He flew to London to attend the event, where he spent the evening reconnecting with his British coterie, including the Serpentine’s director, Julia Peyton-Jones, a close friend; Boris Johnson, the mayor of London and a close political ally; and George Osborne, the chancellor of the exchequer.

Graydon Carter, the editor of Vanity Fair and another longtime friend of the mayor, hosted the event with Mr. Bloomberg.