The Peanut Gallery: Dozens of Influential New Yorkers Weigh In With Ideas for Mayor Bill

Alec Baldwin wants more public protests. Dick Parsons wants to fix the schools. Katie Couric hopes potholes get filled. And the Naked Cowboy urges our boys in blue to keep up stop-and-frisk. Unsurprisingly, they aren’t the only New Yorkers anxious to share some friendly advice.

Now that we can all say “Mayor-Elect de Blasio,” 8.3 million locals with a billion opinions will want the ear of our next chief executive. The Observer wondered what some of the city’s biggest influencers, agitators, opinion leaders and larger-than-life characters would ask him to tackle first.

We didn’t expect them to talk parking meters and garbage pickup, and they didn’t—though there was kvetching over taxi fares and traffic flow. As for Internet infrastructure, affordable housing, public-private partnerships, big-box retailers, racial profiling, bike-sharing, the future of the planet and the city’s very soul, however—on all that, we got an earful.

Mr. de Blasio, we hope you’re taking notes.

Additional research by Sarah Jacoby and Leah Li. Photos via Getty and Patrick McMullan. Illustration by Alex Fine.