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Billionaire John Catsimatidis calls for pandas in NYC, says they would save the city

The Gothamist, Ramsey Khalifeh, Nov 21, 2023

Cute pandas will save the city’s economy – and ease tensions between the United States and China, local billionaire John Catsimatidis declared during a bizarre press conference on Tuesday.

“New York is in deep doo-doo right now. We need tourism, we need people to come to New York,” Catsimatidis told reporters at his Midtown office. “Who doesn’t love pandas? Everybody loves pandas, they’re beautiful.”

Catsimatidis — who wore a tie featuring illustrations of pandas he claimed he made himself — made the call after China demanded three pandas be returned from the National Zoo in Washington.

He did not know which zoo could house the pandas, but offered to pay for a pavilion to be built for the cuddly creatures. He said if they were at the Central Park Zoo he’d visit “every day.”

A spokesperson for the Wildlife Conservation Society, which runs the city’s zoos, said in a statement that the group has not been involved in any recent discussion to bring pandas to the five boroughs.

Catsimatidis also claimed to have the support of Mayor Eric Adams and Huang Ping, the Chinese consulate general in New York.

Read More: The Gothamist