Mayor Michael Bloomberg is drawing national attention with his ambitious plan to protect the city's coast against extreme weather, but he wasn't always as convinced about the very projects he now champions. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.
Five months ago, Mayor Michael Bloomberg seemed less convinced about the possibility of building dikes and barriers.
"Dikes and barriers, if you wanted to do that, I would think a reasonable time frame would be 15 to 20 years before you put a shovel in the ground," he said at the time. "I've never been convinced it is possible, number two, that it's worthwhile."
Now, the mayor not only sees dikes and barriers as possible, but necessary.
"This is urgent work, and it must begin now," he said Tuesday.
Aides dismissed suggestions that Bloomberg's changed, but a close look shows evolution from someone skeptical of European-style projects to one proposing projects visible in the Netherlands.
"There's berms, there's revetments, there's gates from Staten Island to the Bronx," said Roland Lewis of the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance.
Whatever happened in the last seven months, Bloomberg wants to get things started in the remaining months before he leaves. He's promising to put political muscle to make sure it continues.
So where do the hopefuls stand? None of them, other than Christine Quinn, has delivered an address devoted to climate change.
"I was very gratified that much of what the mayor talked about was exactly what I talked about in that speech," Quinn said.
Without diving into dozens of specifics, others were warm to his proposals, even those who part ways with Bloomberg on most everything else.
"This is when Bloomberg's at his best," said Democratic mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner. "Look, one of the things I think that Bloomberg's legacy will truly be is trying to be innovative, and think around the corner on things."
Making these things happen won't be solely up to the next mayor. It will be up to the governor, too. Andrew Cuomo's term doesn't end until 2014.
Aides tamp down talk of splits, but the Cuomo administration and the Bloomberg administration haven't always agreed when it comes to rebuilding post-Hurricane Sandy. For one, they split over Cuomo's plans to shore up the subways. Bloomberg thought the money would be better used for expansion.
The governor's office would only say it was studying the mayor's plan, calling it a positive addition to the conversation.