With perhaps an eye on the exit door, Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave a speech Thursday that was billed as a progress report on lower Manhattan but also laid out a comprehensive case for the mayor's legacy. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
One day after marking the 12-year anniversary of the September 11th attacks, Mayor Michael Bloomberg returned to the World Trade Center Thursday to declare that the September 11th era is over.
"The time has come to recognize that our city has emerged from the shadow of 9/11 stronger than ever, and that we have entered a new era," he said.
Gone, Bloomberg says, is that post-September 11th uncertainty over whether the city could survive and bounce back. Today, despite obstacles along the way, the World Trade Center site is blossoming.
"Seven World Trade Center, where we are today, is 100 percent full," he said. "Later this year, 4 World Trade Center, the big building over there, will open its doors for business. And next year, 1 World Trade, right here, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, will open for business. Tower 3 is going up right now. The new Calatrava PATH station right down there. It's all happening here."
The September 11th Memorial, meanwhile, has welcomed 10 million visitors in two years, and lower Manhattan is a magnet for both residents and tourists. Within two years, there will be 30 hotels Downtown. There were just six in 2001.
Bloomberg also highlighted the gains made citywide, touting job growth, booming tourism and crime reduction, noting that 600 murders a year once seemed an unattainable goal.
"Now, we are on pace to cut it below 400 murders a year," he said. "That was something absolutely unthinkable a decade ago."
If it sounded like the mayor has an eye on his legacy, some don't blame him.
"You know, he's entitled to it," said Larry Silverstein, the World Trade Center leaseholder. "He's had a fantastic run."
"He has a legacy, and Downtown is a part of that," said Bill Rudin of the Association for a Better New York.
Bloomberg said in his remarks that it'll be up to the next mayor to keep the progress going, but he's keeping quiet on who that should be. Though clearly not a fan of Democrat Bill de Blasio, it's unclear if he might throw his support behind Republican Joseph Lhota. He hasn't taken any questions from reporters since last week.