Editorial: NYC mayoral race will be shaped by prosperity
This could be a mayoral race like New Yorkers haven’t seen in eons. The essential question could turn out to be this: Who in the crowded field of candidates is a natural-born manager of success? Who can solve the challenges of swift and dramatic growth?
When Ed Koch was elected in 1977, New York City was struggling just to stay solvent. When David Dinkins was elected in 1989 and when Rudy Giuliani won in 1993, the city was waging the fight of its life against crime. When Michael Bloomberg prevailed in 2001, New York was still trying to get its bearings after the horrors of 9/11.
People spoke of a city that was dying. People described a city that was hard-pressed to make a comeback.
And today? The vital signs have seldom looked better.
- For the first time since 1950, more people are moving into the five boroughs than are moving out, according to census data released last week by the city.
- The city’s population has reached an all-time high of 8.3 million, and Brooklyn is especially hot, with a surge of 61,000 new residents since 2010 alone.
- The city in 2012 hosted a record 52 million visitors — with an economic impact of $55 billion — and the tourism industry is hoping to attract 55 million by 2015.
- The NYPD recorded 419 murders in 2012 — the lowest tally in more than 50 years. By comparison, in 1990, says the department, the city counted 2,245 murders.
- Subway ridership climbed to 1.6 billion last year despite superstorm Sandy, reaching a 62-year high, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority reports.
- And life expectancy for babies born in the city is now a record 80.9 years — 2.2 years above the national average.
True, seemingly intractable problems remain. City schools have a long way to go. The NYPD has some tough issues to resolve in minority communities. City finances can always go south.
Still, the next mayor will have an abundance of success to manage and to grow. That takes a certain kind of wisdom and vision. It demands a thoughtful steward.
Who knew we’d be looking for that?