Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio's Wednesday swearing-in ceremony is an opportunity for Hizzoner-to-be to articulate his vision for how the city should move forward under his leadership.
The ceremony at City Hall, billed as an "inauguration for all New Yorkers," is already steeped in inclusiveness. De Blasio, who will be sworn into office by former President Bill Clinton, offered 1,000 tickets to the public, which snatched them up in two hours. De Blasio will greet New Yorkers with the city's first lady, Chirlane McCray, after the oath and will hold an open house at the family's new residence, Gracie Mansion, on Jan. 5.
"I don't remember anyone doing that, and I think it is an important step because it indicates an openness and desire for contact with the general public," Michael Krasner, a Queens College political science professor, said of the ticket giveaway.
Political observers expected de Blasio's inauguration speech to build on his campaign themes to address the city's inequality and set the tone for his administration.
"Every inauguration is a curtain-raiser on what the administration will look like," said Democratic consultant Hank Sheinkopf.
Sheinkopf said de Blasio's speech will hew to his idea of a riven city that needs to have a place for everyone and shared economic benefits.
"What you're going to hear is more of that kind of rhetoric," Sheinkopf said. "It'll be as progressive as he can get away with."
The inauguration chair, Gabrielle Fialkoff, in a Dec. 17 statement, said the ceremony "promises to be one of the most open and accessible swearing-in events in New York City history."
Bill Cunningham, a communications director for Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who helped him craft his remarks, said new mayors have used the inauguration to convey a particular emotion. Bloomberg in 2002 vowed to rebuild lower Manhattan and lead a city devastated by the 9/11 attacks; Mayor Ed Koch touted New York City's resiliency and character after its brush with bankruptcy; and Mayor John Lindsay prioritized the public interest over special interests, with a transit strike looming over the city.
"You are the mayor, you are addressing the city for the first time as mayor, you want them to come away with certain feelings," Cunningham said. "One is, we have the right guy in charge, he understands all of us."