Sunday’s New York Times was a veritable Chuck E. Cheese party for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who is soon vacating the position after three not uncontroversial terms.
Page One appetizer:
(Also shown: the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, but our screengrab missed it.)
Inside was a Metro trifecta, topped by this Jim Dwyer piece:
Reflections on How the Billionaire at City Hall Has Transformed New York
The question was a trap, put to a novice politician who had only just been elected mayor and had no government experience whatsoever.
Would Michael R. Bloomberg be keeping any of the seasoned hands from the administration of his predecessor, Rudolph W. Giuliani, acclaimed after 9/11 as America’s Mayor, Time Magazine Person of the Year, not to mention The Guy Who Personally Tamed and Therefore Saved New York City?
Mr. Bloomberg had no intention of doing so, nor was he going to say that. He praised the Giuliani team. Then he explained why he needed new faces.
“After you’ve done a job for six or eight years,” Mr. Bloomberg said, “you know what can’t be done.”
Michael Bloomberg, twelve-year mayor of the Big Town, now knows quite well what can’t be done.
But what he did do is the subject of some debate.
From Dwyer’s piece:
Baffling, visionary, obstinate and brilliant, Mr. Bloomberg had complications that could be maddeningly hypocritical or endearingly human. He preached the virtues of dietary sodium restrictions, but sneaked shakes of salt onto slices of pizza. His staff let it be known that Mike Bloomberg had a regular guy palate for beer and a hot dog; at dinner with a few commissioners, he confided that he didn’t see why anyone should have to pay more than $300 for a good bottle of wine.
Elected to lead a city that was the grieving, wounded site of an atrocity, he will depart as mayor of a city where artists have been able to decorate a mighty park with thousands of sheets of saffron, for no reason other than the simple joy of it; where engineers figured out how to turn sewage gas into electricity; where people are safer from violent crime than at any time in modern history.
By contrast, Ginia Bellafante’s Big City column is less ambivalent. Witness its headline: Bloomberg’s Heart Belongs to Wall Street.
No mayor in New York’s history has done more to consolidate the city’s identity with Wall Street. Mr. Bloomberg obviously does not bear responsibility for the creation of the indecipherable, huckster financial instruments that resulted in our economic crisis and the litany of personal miseries that followed, but he was one of the country’s most impassioned and nurturing supporters of Wall Street during its most ethically unhinged hour.
It’s worth reading both articles in full. Not to mention the piece headlined His Policies Are Popular, But His Priorities Aren’t.
And don’t forget this two-page graphic:
Michael Bloomberg is New York’s official Rorschach test.
What you see goes here.