At the center of Mayor Bill de Blasio's campaign for City Hall four years ago was a promise to fight the so-called Tale of Two Cities. As he runs for re-election, NY1 Political Reporter Grace Rauh takes a look at whether the mayor has delivered.
"When I said I would take dead aim at the Tale of Two Cities, I meant it," de Blasio said at his inauguration Jan. 1, 2014.
In the nearly four years since that day, the mayor has been trying to deliver on his central campaign promise.
Expanding the public school system to include pre-kindergarten for four-year-olds; reducing the use of stop-and-frisk while keeping crime low; changing zoning law to require developers to build affordable housing; giving 500,000 New Yorkers paid sick leave; and freezing rents on one million apartments.
"I do not accept the status quo in this town," de Blasio said last Tuesday to supporters. "We've got more to do, my friends."
City officials predict that by the end of this year, 280,000 New Yorkers will have been lifted out of poverty on de Blasio's watch.
"Fundamentally, the reason we are here is to try and make it a fairer city," First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris said.
But the mayor's top government aide says the numbers tell only part of the story.
"What really matters is asking a parent taking their kid to pre-k today, asking somebody living in one of those 75,000 units that are already produced, created, or supported, asking a young African-American in a community when is the last time he was subjected to stop-and-frisk and hearing he wasn't," Shorris said. "Those are real changes that people feel."
The data, however, can tell a different story, too. The Manhattan Institute found that income inequality has increased under de Blasio, and homelessness has reached record-highs.
"The Tale of Two Cities is actually going to be worse when he leaves office than when he entered office," said Jonathan Westin of the group New York Communities for Change.
Westin supported de Blasio four years ago, but the activist argues that de Blasio's decision to rely on private developers to build affordable housing is gentrifying neighborhoods and pushing poorer New Yorkers out.
"He ran as a very progressive Democrat that was going to take on the establishment, take on the real estate interests, take on kind of the big money players here in New York," Westin said. "I think he's just failed to do that."
De Blasio's efforts to fight income inequality are far from done, but it does look like he may get another four years to work on it.