Saturday, August 17, 2013

"A Mayor Who Puts Wall Street First"

I've been happy to see the recent surge in the polls by NYC mayoral candidate and current Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio, who is the most progressive candidate in the race (with the exception, perhaps, of John Liu). With his "Tale of Two Cities" narrative, emphasis on economic inequality, and opposition to stop-and-frisk, DeBlasio has been positioning himself as a clear break from the Bloomberg years.

With the twelve-year reign of Lord Bloomberg in New York City coming to a close, we'll likely see a number of pieces discussing what legacy he'll leave behind in our nation's largest city. I recommend checking out Gina Bellafante's critical take in the New York Times aptly titled "A Mayor Who Puts Wall Street First."

The best line, in my opinion, has to be this one: "Do any wounds require avuncular tending quite like those of an investment banker?"

However, I want to highlight two few key longer passages and recommend that you check out the full piece on the NYT's site.

This line encapsulates Bloomberg's blend of genteel urban liberalism with support for the most rapacious manifestations of American capitalism:
Among the various enduring images of the Bloomberg years, many are positive and some perhaps even blessed: bike lanes, smokeless restaurants, new expanses of green space, the increased presence of ferries on the city’s waterways. But to my mind, this gesture of therapeutic outreach to an institution that defrauded its own clients is unmatched in its symbolic weight, so clearly encapsulating the mayor’s most devoutly held allegiances and the civic repercussions accompanying them, the tireless coddling of the overclass.
And this passage highlights the economic stratification of NYC ushered in by Bloomberg's reign:
Mayor Bloomberg, who did nothing to elevate the status of teachers, an exercise that might have helped draw the most talented to that profession, has done a lot to elevate the status of people who make things, or rather the people who make the right things intended to be sold to the right MacBook-carrying-Martha’s Vineyard-vacationing people.

To the graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design who can create $13,000 copper bathtubs (of the kind the mayor recently imported from France for his home) or cerused cocktail tables commissioned by uptown decorators, New York is an increasingly hospitable place. If what you make is more pedestrian, Stella D’oro cookies once sold in places like Key Food, instead of $6-a-piece shortbread of the type you might find at Chelsea Market, the mayor’s subliminal message winnows down to this: “Good luck, and send us a postcard from Ohio.”

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