NEW YORK - New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to maintain his politically-correct credentials on global warming -- but hates to get into a hot car when he leaves an air-conditioned building.
The solution his aides came up with could easily have doubled as a stunt on David Letterman's show.
In full view of bemused tourists and other passersby Tuesday, workers performed what looked like a comedy routine -- they hoisted a standard room air conditioner to a side window of one of the mayor's SUVs parked in the City Hall lot to see if it would fit.
If the strange plan gets a green light, the units would be plugged into electrical outlets and cause less pollution than running the vehicles' own air conditioners (A/Cs) on an idling engine.
"This is an experiment to be used on extremely hot days like the types we saw last week," mayoral spokesman Stu Loeser said. "Even with the vehicles parked in the shade, the temperatures inside can quickly rise to more than 100 degrees [38C]."
The mayor's two Chevy Suburbans have been on cooling restriction since July 2009, when reporters spotted them all around town idling with the A/Cs on for several minutes at a time.
Bloomberg quickly apologized for the gaffe and ordered his security detail to obey the city's three-minute idling restriction.
But, officials said, they still wanted to chill out the vehicles for the mayor, the cops who protect him and the heavy load of communications equipment they say might otherwise overheat.
"There is far less emissions corresponding to the power of a single air conditioner on the grid than idling a V-8 engine," Loeser said.