Printer Friendly Format
  February 27, 2005

Bright Lights, Big City

By Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg

By all rights, the past seven days should have been another typically quiet mid-February week in New York. Instead, we saw the close of an historic event in our economic history… and the beginning – we hope – of another.

Last week was the last day of “The Gates” – Christo and Jean Claude’s monumental work of art – more than 26 years in the making – which has so far drawn more than a million visitors to New York over the course of its appearance in Central Park. While there will undoubtedly be hundreds of thousands of opinions about “The Gates,” the economic impact is undeniable: Millions of dollars have been generated for our city.

Last week, members of the International Olympic Committee also came to town to evaluate New York’s bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games. By all measure, it was a great visit. Having the Summer Games here would trigger a tremendous celebration of the diversity and spirit that defines our great city. It would also pump nearly $12 billion into our local economy… produce 135,000 new jobs… and galvanize an unprecedented era of construction – new parks, new housing on the East River in Queens, new transportation links, a new pool at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park and other world-class sports facilities for our youth.

Big events in New York – like the Olympic Games and The Gates – will always be incredible opportunities to create jobs and boost our tax revenues… but maintaining steady economic growth depends on sticking to our five-borough strategy of making every community more livable… more business friendly… and more economically diverse.

Making our city more livable means ensuring that everyone has access to housing that is clean, comfortable, safe, and affordable. So last week, with our help, former Mets first baseman Mo Vaughn launched the renovation of two neglected developments in Mott Haven that provide housing for 300 low-income families in the Bronx. This project is part of our commitment to build or rehabilitate 65,000 units of affordable housing for 200,000 New Yorkers by 2008.

Last week our city also took a step towards greater economic diversity as we strengthened New York’s position as a world-class entertainment production center. At Silvercup Studios in Long Island City, for instance, there are currently five exciting television pilots being filmed. These productions, which are contributing more than $15 million to our local economy, decided to shoot in New York largely because of an innovative, business-friendly incentives program that we recently rolled out called “Made in New York.”

Attracting new film and television productions – like our efforts to create new industrial zones and expand our tourism industry – is a vital part of our effort to reduce our economy’s reliance on Wall Street. And that’s really crucial to our city’s long-term prosperity and our ability to provide opportunity to New Yorkers in every borough.

Five new television pilots… Three hundreds renovated units of affordable housing… The 2012 Olympics…And 7,500 gates… Well, so much for a quiet week in February!