Speaking of NYC, it’s election day and we’ll be getting a new mayor today. The democratic candidate who lives in our Brooklyn neighborhood actually, is most likely to win. I don’t know how any other New Yorkers feel, but I think it’s so strange that we’re getting a new mayor today. I’m pretty sure I felt that way when Bloomberg replaced Giuliani in 2002, but it’s not often we get a new mayor here in the city; there’s only been five in the last 40 years.
Say what you will about Bloomberg and some of his more crazy proposals like his big ounce soda ban (which I was amused by and secretly hoped would pass just because I was curious to see if it could), but the guy worked for free for the last 12 years. I mean sure, he’s a multi billionaire and doesn’t need the salary, but you gotta have big love for this crazy city if you’re willing to do an often thankless job for basically nothing in return except for a legacy and a part in NYC history. I didn’t always agree with some of his policies but I did appreciate how he tried to raise the quality of life here in NY with smoking bans in public places, bike lanes, car free plazas, and recycling among other things (oh, I know he tried to get composting going here in the city this year, but that is a huge effort considering just how big the city is). Is NYC a better place to live than it was 15 or 20 years ago? There’s always going to be a debate on that one and with a city this big, you’ll always get polarized opinions from its citizens, but personally, despite or aside from the fact that the city has gotten more expensive to live in, I would say generally yes.
I think us old time New Yorkers like to romanticise the old days of New York and see the graffiti covered, gritty and seedy New York of our childhood with rose colored glasses of nostalgia. But that New York, despite how much we “pine” for the old days before gentrification took over and before the last two mayors turned NYC into a Disney-fied version of itself, was not really fun at all. It definitely had more character and flavor and we didn’t know anything else at the time, but hindsight makes us look back and see how far the city has come, for good (and bad).
Mayor Bloomberg, I will miss your calm inducing sweater ensembles during your televised press conferences to the people of NY during times of crises like the hurricane. It’ll be weird, for awhile, to hear someone else’s voice and see another figure up on that podium when we tune in for press conferences. It’s a new era.
PS. The New York Times did this fantastic interactive piece a few months ago on how Bloomberg reshaped the city over 12 years. It focuses only on the topology of the city, but very interesting nonetheless.