NEW YORK - At a press conference held here at the Javits Convention Center, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that New York City was inaugurating an annual Running of the Rats, to compete for tourist dollars with Pamplona, Spain and Mina, Saudi Arabia.
"We realized that we were losing out to Pamplona, but losing out to Mina in Saudi Arabia took us completely by surprise," Mayor Bloomberg said at the start of the press conference. He continued, "We knew people were not afraid of running with charging bulls. Tourists go to Pamplona year after year, in spite of the injuries and goring. However, we did not have any idea that people were so attracted to human stampeding, and we were even more surprised to see that no one at the hajj minded being trampled. They go back, year after year, for more. Everyone at City Hall knew right then that we had to go after that market aggressively."
The mayor then continued, "What we have in the planning stages right now is to begin the annual event with a running of the rats down Broadway. The plan is to have the participants don running shoes and sweat pants - the kind that has an elastic band on the cuffs. City Run officials will then attach raw hamburger to each participant's shoes, and with the firing of a starter pistol, the Run tourists will begin running down Broadway."
"Then," Mr. Bloomberg went on to say, "once a horde of rats has gathered, and everyone is running and screaming down Broadway, city officials will release a pack of Jack Russell terriers. Pamplona and Mina will pale in comparison. The scene will be a pure, un-distilled New York City Rat Race. We will get immediate world wide attention."
Mr. Bloomberg said he hoped this event will quickly take on the stature of Pamplona and the reverence of the hajj trampling in Mina. "I do not know if a latter day Hemingway will write about it with such eloquence, but I believe our hope for world class journalists to come here and publicize it, will be realized. We are going to offer complementary airfare and lodging to journalists who will not only write about it, but also participate in it as Hemingway would have."