Love him, hate him, wish he’d run for president or 100 percent sick of him, you can’t deny Michael Bloomberg has had an outsized impact on New York City over the last 15 years. Today the man, the mayor, and the mogul turns 75. As a tribute to his milestone birthday, we present the high points, the low points and the still up-for-debate points of Bloomberg’s legacy as New York City’s mayor. It’s meant as a conversation starter, not as a comprehensive piece so if we’ve missed any of his seminal achievements or most obvious missteps, please let us know in the comments section below.
And hats off to you, Mayor Bloomberg! The city owes a whole lot to you. Or as they say in Spanish, Felize Cumple, El Bloombito.
Bloomberg’s Victories, Successes and Triumphs
- Smoking ban
- Time Square pedestrian plazas
- A surge of public-private partnerships, which paved the way to the completion of Hudson River Park, the development of the High Line and the birth of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy.
- 7 Train Extension
- Bike lanes! – 450 miles of bike lanes were added during the Bloomberg years
- El Bloombito
- City control of Governors Island
- New mass transportation opportunities including the East River ferries
- Public art flourishes. NYC gets Christo’s Gates in 2005 and Olafur Eliasson’s Waterfalls in 2008
- The TV and film industry booms, netting $60B in 10 years.
- Citi Field replaces the old and decaying Shea Stadium
- New Yankee Stadium
- Tall buildings rise, Seven of the 20 tallest buildings in NYC go up under Bloomberg
- Campaign against obesity via calorie information at chain restaurants, expansion of greenmarkets among other initiatives
- Proliferation of local tech industry
- Close encounters with Chuck the Groundhog
Losses, Fails and Missed Opportunities
Still Up for Debate
- The boom of real estate development. 40,000 new buildings are added during Bloomberg’s 12-year tenure as mayor.
- Rezoning of 40 percent of city’s land mass including 57th Street in Midtown, Hunter’s Point, Downtown Brooklyn, Williamsburg waterfront and Greenpoint industrial areas
- The construction of Atlantic Yards and Barclays Center
- Education policy and promotion of charter schools