by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to the Republican National Convention
“Welcome to World’s Second Home”
Madison Square Garden
August 30, 2004
Delegates and guests: Welcome to my New York, your New York, our New York, everybody's New York.
Thank you, Mayor Koch, for serving this town so well over so many years and, especially, for helping us mobilize, not only the 8,000 volunteers you sought, but the more than 20,000 you got for this amazing event. Your success is a mark of how excited New Yorkers are to have the Convention here.
It's also our way of saying "thank you" to the Republicans for your tremendous vote of confidence in our city. We should remember, it wasn't so long ago that confidence in New York was in short supply. When I took the oath of office nearly three years ago, we were a city in mourning…a city that had, in a few dreadful hours, lost almost 3,000 of our own - husbands, wives, sons, and daughters from every part of the nation, and every corner of the globe.
There were those who doubted then whether this city could hold onto the gains made during the 90s under Mayor Giuliani. A lot of people were wondering what the future held for New York City, or whether we even had a future.
But neither America nor President Bush ever stopped believing in us. Nearly two years ago, with the city's fate still a question mark in many minds, our President decided that this Convention would come to New York. This was a show of faith that required courage and vision - one that all New Yorkers will not forget.
And today it fills me with enormous pride - and gratitude - to tell everyone…that New York City is back! Our economy is growing, with 45,000 private sector jobs created in the last 12 months alone. Our neighborhoods are humming, with a level of public and private construction not seen since the end of World War II. Our streets are bustling, with a three-year, 15% reduction in crime that has defied the odds and made the nation's safest city even safer. Our schools are reviving. Our streets are cleaner. Our quality of life is better. And our future is brighter than ever.
And New York City has been given the high honor of representing all America in the competition to host the world's greatest athletic event: the 2012 Olympics.
It's only fitting, because from our earliest days, when Peter Stuyvesant was the governor of a small, multi-lingual frontier outpost, right up to today, when 170 languages are spoken on our streets and in our homes, New York City has been, and always will be, an Olympic Village.
We've showed the world that New York can never be defeated, because of its dynamic and diverse population...because it embodies the spirit of enterprise and the love of liberty...and because, no matter who you are, if you believe in yourself and your dream, New York will always be the place for you.
This is the city of dreamers. And time and again, it's the place where the greatest dream of all - the American Dream - has been tested and has triumphed.
It's where, in his first major national speech in 1860, Abraham Lincoln challenged this party, and our nation, to face the moral evil of slavery with "the faith that right makes might."
And later that year, it was New York's delegation to the Republican National Convention that moved to make Abraham Lincoln's nomination for the Presidency of the United States unanimous. I'm proud to say that, framed on a wall of my home, is the flag those New York Republicans carried during that convention. It's a constant reminder to me of the proud role New York played at a pivotal moment in our nation's history.
Four score and seven years later, New York City is where Jackie Robinson erased the color barrier in our national pastime with his bat and glove and gallant spirit. A monument to this trailblazer is under construction in Brooklyn to remind us all: America is for everyone.
And our city is also where, on Independence Day, Governor Pataki and I laid the cornerstone for the Freedom Tower at the site of the World Trade Center. The terrorists hit us there. Our knees buckled. But we stayed on our feet. And we showed that our dreams, like our liberties, will never be lost to violence or hate.
No place epitomizes the American Experience and the American Spirit more than New York City. Ironically, it is exactly because we are a city that embraces freedom - that welcomes everyone and encourages their dreams - that New York remains on the frontlines in the war on terror.
I want to thank President Bush for supporting New York City in changing the Homeland Security Funding formula and for leading the global war on terrorism. The President deserves our support. We are here to support him. I am here to support him.
We all must recognize that Homeland Security funds should be allocated by threat and no other reason. I will repeat this message to my fellow Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, as many times as it takes, so we can keep New York safe and secure.
New Yorkers will go forward, doing our duty for our city, our nation, and our families. And we know that you will, too. Because in our hour of greatest trial, you - all our fellow Americans, from every corner of this land - were there for us.
And we owe you more than we can ever say. Your Police Officers and Firefighters volunteered for duty at Ground Zero. Your houses of worship sent blankets, food, and prayers. Your school children mailed us pictures and poems. That's another reason that this Convention is our chance to say "thank you." It's why we're making our town your town for the week.
We're the World's Second Home - the place where every religion is practiced and every culture is celebrated. It's all there for you - from Brooklyn Heights to Bayside, and from Coney Island to Chelsea. Take it all in: The world's greatest museums; Broadway; the Yankees and the Mets; high-fashion shopping and bargain-hunting specials; and more than 18,000 restaurants in all five boroughs, eager to please any palate and fit any budget.
And let me give you an insider's tip - my own personal favorite thing to do in this city. At least one morning while you're here, begin the day with a ride on the ferry to Staten Island. Out there in the harbor, you'll glide past the Statue of Liberty, the beacon of freedom that America holds out to people everywhere. It's guaranteed to bring a lump to your throat, because you'll be looking at New York the way generations of new Americans have:
As the place to make all your dreams come true.
Thank you, and have a great convention.