Advice For The New Mayor
Just because everyone and her brother wants to give their two cents to the mayor, that doesn’t mean Hizzoner has to listen. And as history teaches us, he often doesn’t. Herewith, a not-so-nostalgic look at how five of Bill de Blasio’s predecessors handled advice from their inner circle, the media and citizens—and the sometimes-disastrous results. Read More
“The permits!” The voice was panicked. “They’re fucking us!”
“Slow down. What’s wrong?”
“They’re revoking our permits.”
This was the call I got eight years ago on the eve of a graffiti block party I was throwing to celebrate the release of my first video game, “Getting Up.” It just happened that this call set in motion a series of events that very few have experienced. I, Marc Eckō, went up against Mayor Michael Bloomberg in New York City and won.
PR POWER LIST
When reporters call, moguls don’t exactly rush to the phone. Most of them have trusted press reps who can pretty much anticipate their thoughts and filter them before hitting “send” to the media. Read More
Like all six-lane urban highways scattered with years of pulverized wreckage—nary an inch of shoulder for breakdowns, center lines that weave like spaghetti, out-of-control speeders passing each other on curves designed to be rounded by wooden subway cars, long-haul truck drivers pounding the roadway to pieces and blatantly nonsensical subverbal signage essentially declaring to the Read More
A federal judge has decided that the Police Department’s crime-busting stop-and-frisk policies are unconstitutional. It’s hard to top Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s reaction. Justifiably furious, Mr. Bloomberg noted the judge clearly knows nothing about police work.
So true, but why let ignorance stand in the way of ideology?
The city Read More
It's All About the Bitcoins
Well, here’s another sign that Bitcoin has hit the big time: Bloomberg is testing a Bitcoin ticker internally. This’ll end well.
In the Rezone
Mayor Bloomberg is clearly a fan of the Field of Dreams, if-you-pay-for-it-they-will-come mentality. In order to make Hudson Yards a reality, the city agreed to pick up the tab for the 7 Train extension, with the expectation that tax revenues generated by new development would quickly replenish the city’s coffers (a plan that, as The Wall Street Journal revealed this spring, has not worked out very well).
Now, Bloomberg has altered the Midtown East rezoning proposal to follow the same model—rather than waiting for developers who benefit from the rezoning to pay into a fund dedicated to infrastructure improvements (giving the neighborhood transit improvements and additional open space in return for taller towers), he wants the city to front the money to make the area more attractive before developers move in.
Adrian Benepe donned swim trunks for the opening of McCarren Park pool (after the ribbon cutting, he jumped in and swam a lap). High Line co-founder Robert Hammond remembers him in bike shorts during the elevated park’s inaugural weekend. But on the steamy evening when the New York Restoration Project held its annual fund-raising dinner at Gracie Mansion, Mr. Benepe was dressed conventionally in a suit, albeit with a backpack slung somewhat incongruously over one shoulder.
The backpack, like the granola bars that he keeps in his office, suggested a recent or upcoming tromp through some greensward more rugged than Carl Schurz, making it an agreeable accessory for an event aimed at rehabilitating neglected parks. But the former parks commissioner—for that was how people introduced him, despite the fact that he has been working at the Trust for Public Land for the past year—checked the bag at the entrance.
Leaving behind the “best job in the world” at the New York City parks department, where he spent the better part of 40 years and the near entirety of his professional career, has been more difficult. Mr. Benepe no longer presides over the 29,000-acre emerald empire whose transformation from overgrown, shabby and often-frightening urban wilderness into one of the city’s major tourist attractions has paralleled not only New York’s shift from a down-and-out city to an almost terrifyingly prosperous one, but also his own rise through the department’s ranks.
Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous
While the mayor has been busy locking down as many new initiatives as possible in his final months in office—a $20 billion waterfront rebuilding plan here, a stair-building push there—he has not been neglecting things on the home front.
The New York Times reports that Bloomberg has been busy spiffing up his townhouse on East 79th Street, a project that will span some of the last few months of his term. Presumably, the mayor wants to make sure that he has a decent place to putter around after leaving office. He may have many other manses—the townhouse in London, the estate in the Hamptons, his vacation homes in Colorado and Bermuda—but re-gilding his Manhattan home base is clearly a top priority.
Every knowledge-based institution, whether government, business or nonprofit, engages in a fierce battle for top talent. As deputy mayor for economic development and rebuilding for New York City and chief executive officer of Bloomberg LP, I’ve seen firsthand that the better the people, the better the institution. That is why I find recent criticisms of Read More