"I apologize, I certainly did not mean to offend anybody," he said in a statement Thursday after his words the evening before at a book launch event at the American Irish Historical Society's Manhattan headquarters raised some eyebrows.
"Normally when I walk by this building, there are a bunch of people that are totally inebriated hanging out the window waving," Bloomberg had said Wednesday to laughter and moans from the crowd, according to a transcript of the event provided by his office. He continued: "I know, that's a stereotype of the Irish, but nevertheless, we Jews from around the corner think this."
Explaining his comments the following morning, Bloomberg said: "I was talking about a party that they have every year on the, on St Patrick's Day, when it sort of is traditional to hang out the window and yell and scream, and it's in good fun, and I certainly didn't mean anything that anybody should take offense to."
The mayor, who lives nearby, walks underneath the windows of the Upper East Side building every year when he marches in the city's St. Patrick's Day Parade.
"It's a great organization. They have a very good time on St. Patrick's Day," Bloomberg said Thursday. "I just wish that I didn't have to march in the parade. I'd rather be up there with them."
Still, members of the Irish American community criticized the mayor for Wednesday's remarks.
The parade's chairman, John Dunleavy, told The New York Times that the mayor's remarks were "outrageous and totally uncalled for."
"He wouldn't make a joke about any other ethnic group," Dunleavy said.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, an Irish-American, said in a statement that "given the mayor's long history of support for the Irish community his remarks last night were both surprising and inappropriate."
She said that "while he should not have said it," she was pleased to hear he had apologized.