01/30/2002 AT 01:20 PM EST
Lower Manhattan got a much-needed economic and morale boost Tuesday afternoon when the Ritz-Carlton Hotel chain opened its latest luxury inn only four blocks from the World Trade Center site. So significant was the ribbon-cutting ceremony, which was originally planned for last October until final construction was delayed by the tragic events of Sept. 11, that it took two New York mayors, a current and a former one, to officially launch the hotel, reports PEOPLE.com. "I won't stay here," quipped the current mayor, the billionaire Michael Bloomberg, before the champagne was poured at the ceremony. "I have two houses in the city," he explained, referring to his own townhouse and to Gracie Mansion, the official mayoral residence. His predecessor, Rudolph Giuliani, looking relaxed since he's left office, noted that 70 percent of the new hotel's rooms face the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island -- and have telescopes in them. He questioned in what direction they were pointing. "Not into the other rooms," Marriott CEO J.W. "Bill" Marriott (whose company runs Ritz-Carlton) assured him. "I'm not so sure," said the politico. Marriott also kidded Giuliani for not advising people to stay in a hotel when he spoke in September about how Americans could help New York. Giuliani had just said at the time that people should come to the city, eat in its restaurants and see a Broadway show. "Well," replied Giuliani, "I certainly wasn't encouraging them to be homeless."