Two men in dark suits ducked unnoticed into Pepe’s & Mito’s Mexican Café in Dallas, savoring their anonymity thousands of miles from the crush of their new celebrity back home.
They barely knew each other. But that June afternoon, sitting together and picking at sizzling chicken fajitas, the two men understood better than anyone the whirlwind they had each faced the previous six months.
It was a lunch date between Bill de Blasio and Martin J. Walsh, the newly minted mayors of New York City and Boston. They had traveled to Dallas for a conference but broke away for 45 minutes of solitude at a no-frills cantina.
“We talked about learning the job, how it’s been,” Walsh recalled in an interview. “We talked about snowstorms. He’s a former [city] councilor, I’m a former [state] rep. We talked about how this job is different.”
De Blasio and Walsh both campaigned on a message of economic populism, vowing to tackle income inequality and dramatically expand early education. They shared an advertising firm, an education adviser, and staunch support from organized labor. And each represented a generational shift, replacing longtime mayors whose personalities defined City Hall.
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