With candidates vying to succeed Mayor Bloomberg at the polls this week, New York Magazine devoted its September 9 issue to the billionaire mayor’s legacy, including an interview with the mayor, analysis and infographics examining zoning, tourism and the homeless population, and an overview of architecture and development. In an article entitled “Shiny, Alluring, Ugly, Visionary, Inspiring, Incomplete,” New York Magazine‘s architecture critic, Justin Davidson, delves into the Bloomberg era’s concrete footprint, from the city’s streets to its skyline.
How extensively did Mayor Bloomberg transform the city’s landscape during his tenure? “Extensively,” Davidson told MetroFocus host Rafael Pi Roman. In his article, Davidson recounts Bloomberg’s quest to create a “desirable, magnetic city.” Since taking office in the turbulent aftermath of 9/11, the mayor has been a driving force behind numerous controversial initiatives, from rezoning proposals to transforming the city’s pedestrian and bike pathways to revitalizing the city’s waterfront.
According to Davidson, the transformation was wrought “…through a kind of overall optimism about the city as an engine of growth, of the economy, and of culture.” Davidson cited ambitious plans to transform the Hudson Yards, a $65 million Queens museum expansion and proposals to overhaul rezoning in East Midtown as examples of the physical manifestation of Mayor Bloomberg’s optimism. “All those things […] flow from the energy of the Bloomberg Administration, and have paid off in concrete – literally concrete – projects,” said Davidson.
Some critics believe Mayor Bloomberg’s vision has focused too much on tourists and not enough on residents. But Davidson argued, “From the point of view of the physical city, what he wanted was a city that would attract immigrants, professionals, businesses, that would make people really want to be here. So it’s not just for tourists, it’s for everybody, this idea of the city as a magnetic place, that really draws people in from all over.”
Even with less than four months left in his tenure, the list of the mayor’s unfinished projects continues to grow. “The Bloombergification of New York isn’t over yet by a long shot. We’re going to see these things developing,” Davidson told Pi Roman.