John Catsimatidis is trying to get China to loan pandas to NYC

They are black and white and may be living in New York City for the first time.

New York supermarket mogul John Catsimatidis says he is trying to convince the Chinese government to loan panda bears to the Central Park Zoo in the Big Apple.

“I’ll even pick her up,” Catsimatidis told The Post. “Kids have nothing to look forward to in New York City right now. It will be a symbol of peace and culture.”

The billionaire radio show host claims the big, lovable bears could bring New York more than $10 million as the city’s tourism industry is slow to recover from COVID – and foot traffic in Lower Manhattan is still down 33% compared to before the pandemic has receded.

Catsimatidis, 75, says he has already spoken to the Chinese ambassador about bringing pandas to New York zoos.

The billionaire businessman plans to hold a press conference about the move later on Tuesday.

Catsimatidis says he is talking to the Chinese ambassador about the plan.
Robert Miller

Following the announcement, Catsimatidis hopes to get the ball rolling and create a commission to try to bring the animals to New York City.

The former mayoral candidate previously co-chaired a campaign in 2017 to open a panda pavilion in Central Park and called on former President Donald Trump’s sons, Donald Jr. and Eric Trump, to join the effort to import two pandas from China .

Catsimatidis isn’t the only one witnessing the “panda monium” that erupted after China recaptured a trio of lovable bears from the country’s capital earlier this month.

New York supermarket mogul John Catsimatidis hopes to bring pandas to the Big Apple.
AFP via Getty Images

Pandas Mei Xiang, Tian Tian and cub Xiao Qi Ji returned to China on November 8 after negotiations to extend their stay at the Washington National Zoo failed.

San Diego and Memphis previously abandoned their pandas – only four remain in Atlanta.

About a week after the big bears returned home, Chinese President Xi Jinping said he planned to send more pandas to American zoos, calling the creatures “envoys of friendship between the Chinese and American people.”

Catsimatidis has previously expressed his support for bringing the beloved bears to New York City.
Gregory P. Mango

“We stand ready to continue our cooperation with the United States on panda conservation and do our best to meet the wishes of Californians to deepen friendly relations between our two peoples,” Xi said at a dinner held hosted by the National Committee on US-China Relations and the US-China Business Council last week.

“I was told that many Americans, especially children, were really unwilling to say goodbye to the pandas and went to the zoo to say goodbye,” Xi added.

The news comes as three bears were brought back to China from Washington DC.

The dinner, which coincided with the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, followed a news conference in which Biden called Xi a “dictator,” even as Chinese officials expressed outrage after the U.S. president spoke at a fundraiser in June had made the same comment behind closed doors.

China’s decision to take back pandas followed tensions with Washington that began during Trump’s time in office and worsened with the COVID pandemic, which some U.S. officials say began with a leak from a Chinese lab conducting risky research before more than 1.1 million Americans were killed.


JACLYN DIAZ is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. JACLYN DIAZ joined USTimeToday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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