As someone in the office just put it: “You can die for your country, but you can’t smoke a cigarette.” That line, usually just applicable to drinking throughout the United States, will soon apply to anyone between the ages of 18 and 20 trying to buy tobacco products in New York City. Today, Mayor Bloomberg signed a new law (passed by City Council earlier this year) that means in 180 days it will no longer be legal for high school seniors to use time-honored traditions to look cool at parties where there are college kids.
This is the first time in America’s history where a city or a state has raised the age to prohibit young adults from purchasing tobacco products.
Of course, it’s all for “our own good.”
The city needs to meet the housing needs of young, working New Yorkers, and Bloomberg’s micro-apartment initiative is proving to be a model for other global cities. Read More
This week’s New York cover is eye-catching, certainly: a cover story on mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio and his multiracial family, of whom the media can’t seem to get enough. (Dante’s hair! Chiara’s flowers and/or college! Chirlane McCray’s lesbian past!)
But there’s more to it than immediately meets the eye.
The mayor has condemned him. The police are after him. Possible copycats are posing as him. And vandals who dare deface his work are being humiliated by vigilante mobs.
Which all points to one conclusion: Banksy is Batman.
On the Street
The Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner is an annual white tie fundraising gala to benefit Catholic Charities USA, and it’s attendance sheet each year is filled with enough important names to make you wonder if the Jews are maybe losing their foothold in this city. Between Mayor Bloomberg, Cardinal Dolan, Gov. Cuomo, Sen. Charles Schumer and Police Comissioner Ray Kelly, the event last night at the Waldorf-Astoria was not only a political powerhouse, but one that managed to raise over $3 million.
And lest you think this was a lot of podium guilt-talk, The Dinner had a 16 minute keynote address from Stephen Colbert, which you can listen to below
Primary Day: it is, for many New Yorkers, a time when the next mayoralty moves from the realm of the hypothetical to the realm of the real; the current administration recedes accordingly. But for a few hours at least, on a street corner in Bed-Stuy, the leaflet-brandishing volunteers seemed very far away, as Bloomberg administration commissioners, political appointees, local buinsess leaders and term-limited outgoing council member Al Vann gathered to celebrate a brand new pedestrian plaza. After all, what could be more Bloombergian than a new pedestrian plaza?
Mayor Michael Bloomberg led the city through two devastating economic slumps—the recession that followed the dot-com bust and the attacks of 9/11, and, of course, the Great Recession that began in 2008. While the mayor has done a laudable job managing the city’s finances through hard times, he probably would be the first to admit that the city’s employment picture could be better. A lot better.
The city’s jobless rate remains too high at 8.4 percent, more than a full percentage point higher than the national average. True, unemployment is lower today than it was a year ago, when the figure stood at 9.4 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But many new jobs are in low-paying fields like hospitality and food service. While those jobs can, and do, serve as vital steppingstones for hard-working young people, they are hardly the centerpiece of dynamic economic recovery.
The Bloomberg era is another step closer to history. Primary voters made their choices on Tuesday, and, while the results weren’t clear as this is being written, there’s little doubt that the general election will become a referendum on the successes—and failures—of the incumbent’s 12 years in office.
The Democratic Party front-runner heading into Primary Day, Bill de Blasio, eagerly portrayed himself as the anti-Michael Bloomberg, a tactic that seemed to have awakened the party’s core constituencies. The Republican Party front-runner, Joe Lhota, represented continuity not only of the Bloomberg years, but of the two decades of reform, experimentation and progress under Rudy Giuliani and Mr. Bloomberg.
The success of those themes—or the lack thereof—may tell us a great deal about the coming general election campaign. But beyond a public debate over Mr. Bloomberg’s legacy loom any number of critical issues that will shape the legacy of the next administration in City Hall, regardless of party or ideology.
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio took some shots at Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s speech this morning, but rival mayoral contender John Liu just took today’s Bloomberg criticism to an even higher level in a statement of his own.
“An ‘unprecedented opportunity’?” Mr. Liu asked of Mr. Bloomberg’s suggestion the next mayor use labor negotiations to keep pension and healthcare costs down. “That’s a rather diplomatic way to describe what hundreds of thousands of workers would actually call ‘dine-and-dash.”
Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s depiction of New York City’s economy was a tad too rosy, Bill de Blasio said, even as the mayor was predicting a gloomy future unless his replacement follows his lead.
Shortly after Mr. Bloomberg delivered a speech this morning warning that New York City was at risk of facing the same economic fate as Detroit, Mr. de Blasio, the city’s public advocate and a leading mayoral candidate, released a statement praising the mayor for diversifying the city’s economy while also bashing him for letting income inequality soar.