Curtis Sliwa hopped into the water off Coney Island on Sunday, defying Mayor Bill de Blasio’s no-swimming order — and mocking hapless city Parks Department cops who watched him from shore as a crowd cheered him on.
The mayor had warned last week, “Anyone tries to get in the water, they’ll be taken right out of the water,” while also threatening summonses for violators as the city battles to keep the coronavirus under control by banning swimming for now.
But Sliwa, dressed in a wet suit — and his trademark red Guardian Angels beret — strolled into the surf and swam around for about an hour without consequence, while a crowd of people on a pier near the old Parachute Jump cheered for him.
Seven or eight Parks officers tried ordering the Guardian Angels’ founder and mayoral candidate out of the drink at one point, but when he refused, they just stood and stared from the sand.
“I slowly walked into the water, and the Parkies are apoplectic, they don’t know what to do,” Sliwa recalled to The Post. “They start blowing their whistles as if they were lifeguards, screaming, ‘Come back! Come back!’ And I just keep going deeper and deeper and deeper.
“The whole concept is, this is our beach, not de Blasio’s. We pay for it. We’re taxpayers. Everybody else gets to swim in Long Island, Jersey Shore, Mediterranean. Not us? No, no, no.”
Before he took his first dip, Sliwa, who announced in March that he is running for mayor, buried an “effigy” of de Blasio in the sand. It consisted of a foot-high cardboard cut-out of the mayor’s head glued to a stick.
“I buried an effigy of de Blasio, right up to his head, so you could see his whole face. And I started kicking sand in his face, because of his edict that you could not swim in the water,” Sliwa said.
“His Parks Department people were staring. .. And then I slowly walked into the water,” and the officers start freaking out, to no avail, said the civilian-patrol leader.
“I’m just frolicking in the surf, enjoying myself. And then finally I came back, and I kicked more sand in the effigy of Bill de Blasio’s face, and I said, ‘OK, what are you going to do? You can either lock me up or write me up,’ ” he said he told the Parks officers.
“They said, ‘We’re just advising you you can’t swim, because there are no lifeguards.’
“But I’m swimming at the beach. This is our beach, not de Blasio’s beach,” Sliwa said.
“And they were perplexed, didn’t know what to do. They just watched me go back in and do the backstroke, do the Australian Crawl,” he said.
“I told them, ‘Since you don’t know what to do and you’re on your radio with your commanders, at least give me marks for my swimming ability. “Is that a nine? Is that an eight?” ‘They did not catch the humor.”
He finally got out of the ocean, picked up his de Blasio cut-out head and starting walking off along the boardwalk — while urging passers-by to join him in defying the mayor’s swim ban.
City Hall ripped Sliwa over the swim.
“Curtis Silwa should be ashamed of himself. Just days after a fellow New Yorker passed away after swimming in dangerous water, he had the audacity to publicly flout safety regulations and encourage other New Yorkers to join,” said mayoral rep Jane Meyer, referring to the drowning of a 24-year-old man in Rockaway Beach in Queens.
“We all must work together to keep each other safe during this pandemic — not make things worse,” Meyer added.
When the conservative Republican Sliwa announced he was launching a bid to take the Democratic mayor’s place, he told The Post, “I am the only candidate with the onions to take back the city.”
Last week, in issuing the swimming ban, de Blasio said, “I’ve been really clear about the beaches — they are closed for swimming . . . People are not supposed to go to the beach to swim.”
Hizzoner said the rules would be strictly enforced by about 150 Parks workers — backed up by “hundreds” of NYPD cops.
Sliwa said Sunday that the last time he went swimming at the Brooklyn beach was more than two decades ago, when he was King Neptune in the annual Coney Island Mermaid Day Parade.