It's the 2013 race for mayor, but some say the leading contenders are in a time warp two decades old, as Joseph Lhota and Bill de Blasio are dropping names and presenting images of a city unknown to many New Yorkers, leaving some observers to wonder how effective it could be two decades later. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.
Some say New York City may as well look like it did in 1994 the way the contenders are talking.
"Mr. Lhota was a right-hand man of Rudy Giuliani when he was going out of his way to divide this city," Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio said during a mayoral debate Tuesday night.
"Bill de Blasio served in the administration of David Dinkins, and during that period of time, we had 2,000 murders a year," Republican mayoral candidate Joseph Lhota said during the same debate.
If that wasn't clear enough, Lhota hearkens back to years past in a campaign ad. The ad says that grisly scenes will return if de Blasio is elected.
The Democrat all but warns of Giuliani time again at City Hall, a return to incivility if Giuliani's former deputy wins.
The only thing missing was Cliff Huxtable on TV.
But there's a problem. People may not have tuned in to New York news then.
"The vast majority of New Yorkers weren't here then," said Mickey Blum of Baruch College. "They were either children or they lived somewhere else."
Of the more than 3 million New Yorkers registered to vote now, just 32 percent were eligible to vote in 1993, when Giuliani won a first term. Go back four more years to when Dinkins won, and that number is only 21 percent.
Asked about it Wednesday, both men blamed the other.
"Think about, Josh, how this all started. This all started with my opponent tagging me with Rudy Giuliani. Rudy Giuliani this, Rudy Giuliani that. That's fine. I'm inextricably linked to Rudy Giuliani," Lhota said. "But if that's the direction he wants to go in, I want to remind everybody that he worked for the biggest failure of a mayor that's ever hit the shores of the city of New York.
"What we have to call out is, when someone uses a divisive approach from the past, I will call it what it is, and I will note that that's something we thought we left in the past," de Blasio said.
The primaries were largely different, particularly the Democratic one. There, the current mayor was the focus. De Blasio persuaded many voters that he'd provide offer the sharpest break from Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Of course, both men say they're offering ideas for the future.
One thing for sure that's changed: the lever machines are gone, at least for this election.