Summertime is on us like a warm blanket in a sauna.
The heat radiates off the subway grids on the street, the air barely moves at all. Experienced New Yorkers find small ways to maintain some sense of dignity in heat like this. Standing at the top of the train platform until a train arrives, taking the odd cab or air conditioned bus. Iced coffee, walking on the shady side of the street; it all leads to an elevated manner with which we deal with record breaking heat and humidity. This time of year, gives one the opportunity to look forward and size up what’s next for the big Apple, the greatest city in the world.
Perhaps there is no more important issue for all of us than who will next lead our city.
We have been truly fortunate to have Mayor Mike Bloomberg as our steward. Our standard of living has continued to improve. His retention of Ray Kelly as police chief and the subsequent significant drop in crime in the city to the lowest levels in modern day history has made this city all the more enticing. This Mayor, though, is not out seeking credit for everything he does. His team borrowed the pedestrian mall concept from other nations, planted tens of thousands of trees, created bike lanes and bike shares much like in Paris. They have created more hospitable walkways and sitting areas, increasing retail traffic all over the city, a more friendly experience with a European feel.
Is there anyone who can doubt that Mayor Bloomberg has done more to lure tourists/customers to this town than anyone previously in office? It took a business person to recognize that more tourists mean more business for everyone. At last count we were up over 52 million visitors a year. These “customers” poured more than $34Billion dollars into New York. Try to get through Times Square at any time of the day or evening without deciding to walk in the street because we have so many visitors walking on the sidewalks, snapping photos and visiting stores, a sign of a vibrant economy.
Remember when we were worried about the financial services sector of our city? It was late September of 2008 just after the collapse of Lehman when economists began to wonder what would happen with the loss of all those jobs, finance being the driver of the New York City business engine. Along came an exciting mass of technology and new media firms whose innovation has changed the lives of millions of people in so many ways that we now just take for granted. The tech campus on Roosevelt Island breaks ground in 2014 creating two million square feet of academic space, research and development facilities, a conference facility, housing, and publicly accessible open space.
The city is in very good shape.
Yes, there will always be things that bother some New Yorkers, but Mayor Bloomberg has brought order from chaos and led this city to a better place. Business and innovation keep New York competitive and make New York a great city.
Let’s hope that one of the candidates now running for Mayor has the ability to continue to lead NY forward. A pro business, creative innovator with a good staff would go a long way to making everyone feel more comfortable. The world is watching.