Mayor Michael Bloomberg kicked off 2012 with a big celebrity kiss, but he is ending his second-to-last year in office on a somber note, as the city is trying to recover from Hurricane Sandy and the mayor is urging Washington lawmakers to enact tougher gun laws in the wake of a deadly shooting. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.
It all started with a kiss. Mayor Bloomberg locked lips with Lady Gaga to ring in the New Year.
A big parade followed, celebrating the Giants' fourth Super Bowl win.
But scandal soon hit, as the outcry over the New York City Police Department's surveillance of Muslims grew louder.
"We have the best police department in the world, and I think they show that every single day," Bloomberg said.
The mayor was also on the defensive about the NYPD's stop-and-frisk policy. It came under heavy fire in 2012.
He unveiled the Taxi of Tomorrow, but his plan to extend taxi service to all five boroughs was blocked in court, blowing a hole in the city's budget.
The city's bike share program also hit a road bump. It was supposed to start over the summer. It is now on track to begin in May.
"The software doesn't work," the mayor said. "We are not going to put it out until it does work."
The mayor's biggest policy push, though, had nothing to do with transportation. He proposed banning the sale of large sodas from restaurants, movie theaters and sports stadiums. The Board of Health signed off on it.
"You can still have your 32 ounces," Bloomberg said. "Just pick up two and go back. Nobody is banning anything."
The mayor then put his money to work in the general election by launching a Super PAC.
But politics soon took a back seat to more pressing concerns. Hurricane Sandy struck the city a week before Election Day. It left 43 New Yorkers dead and caused unimaginable destruction.
New Yorkers in the hardest hit areas struggled to get by. On a visit to the Rockaways, angry residents lashed out at the mayor.
The mayor launched a Rapid Repairs program to help homeowners, and he imposed gas rationing to fight the long lines. He vowed to rebuild the city.
Then, there was a deadly shooting in Connecticut. The mayor's tough talk on firearms thrust him once again onto the national stage, and that is where he is finishing the year, calling for an end to gun violence.