“Put me down in the category of optimistic on the economy,” Mayor Bloomberg said at a sumptuous breakfast at Isabella’s Tuesday morning celebrating the Columbus Avenue Business Improvement District (BID)’s 10th anniversary. “But I don’t think we’re going to see a spur. I think you’re just going to see slow growth—but I do think we’re over the worst.”
Before darting off to speak at a fifth-grade graduation in the Bronx, Mr. Bloomberg pitched a strangely dissonant case for a third term in an elegant restaurant packed with about 70 Upper West Side real estate brokers, landlords and business owners. White-clad waiters served omelets, fruits, and sweet potato fries.
Mr. Bloomberg pointed to a lower crime rate (“The national wisdom is that the economy goes down, crime goes up. It turns out the bad guys don’t read the Wall Street Journal,” Mr. Bloomberg quipped, apparently ignoring the Madoffs and Dreiers of the world); a higher graduation rate (a whopping 56 percent which was announced Monday, trailing the state average of 71 percent); and a higher life expectancy (or, in Mr. Bloomberg’s terminology, 1 1/3 more “man-years”).
He did acknowledge that the city’s problems are not over: “There’s still plenty of real estate empty and stores ready to sell, but there is some evidence that people are starting to rent.”
But he pointed to an art gallery opening next to a café on Madison Avenue where he had breakfast this morning as a sign that the economy is getting back in shape.
Mr. Bloomberg also did his share of statistic-dropping, even if said stats seem to belie the reality New Yorkers see on the street every day: Mr. Bloomberg claims that there are only 2,500 homeless people in all of New York City—a ratio of roughly 1 in 4,000—compared to 1 in 96 in Los Angeles.
Agency 21 managing partner Brett Friedman said that he found the statistic, if true, to be “staggering.” But Mr. Friedman added that since Mr. Bloomberg is campaigning for re-election, he had to spin the economy “as a rosier story.”
“[The economy is] basically just kind of