FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 8, 2006
MAYOR BLOOMBERG DISCUSSES RECORD SETTING YEARS IN TOURISM AND CRIME REDUCTION IN WEEKLY RADIO ADDRESS
The following is the text of Mayor Bloomberg’s weekly radio address as prepared for delivery on 1010 WINS News Radio for Sunday, January 8, 2006
"Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. And, in case you didn't know, I love New York.
"And it seems that more people than ever agree with me. Preliminary estimates indicate that a record number of visitors traveled to our city last year: an incredible 41 million people. They came to see our world-class museums and eat in our fantastic restaurants. They came to shop and stroll through our diverse neighborhoods. They came to experience one-of-a-kind events like The Gates, and bask in the bright lights of Broadway. In fact, the final seven days of 2005 represented Broadway's single, highest-grossing week in history.
"The forecast for 2006 looks even more promising. This spring, we will officially open our new, state-of-the art cruise terminal in Red Hook on the Brooklyn waterfront. It will receive 40 ships in just its first year of operation and give another big boost to our booming cruise line business. Later this year, we'll break ground on an expansion project that will roughly double our convention facilities on Manhattan's West Side.
"And over the next two years, nearly 5,000 new and renovated hotel rooms will open, bringing the city's total inventory to some 75,000 rooms. What's most encouraging is that nearly half of these new hotel rooms will be in neighborhoods and boroughs outside of Midtown Manhattan - a clear sign that tourism is strong throughout the city. That's important because, in many ways, tourism is the backbone of our local economy, generating 24 billion dollars a year in business and supporting nearly 300,000 jobs in our city.
"Expanding our tourism industry is a key part of diversifying our economy and spreading opportunity to all New Yorkers. And we'll continue to make our city a place that people want to visit by keeping it clean, exciting, and, above all, safe.
"We are coming off another record-setting year for fighting crime in New York. In 2005, we recorded the fewest number of murders since the Police Department started formally tracking crime in 1963. 540 homicides were reported last year, compared to a staggering 2,245 in 1990.
"Crime continues to fall in virtually every category, in virtually every neighborhood, and at a rate that outpaces the decline of crime in the rest of the nation. Over the past four years, it has dropped nearly 20%, including 5% last year. According to a recent FBI report, New York is once again the safest big city in the country, with the lowest crime rate of our nation's 25 top urban centers. And of the 227 cities with populations greater than 100,000, New York ranks safer than 210 of them - right between Alexandria, Virginia and Edison Township, New Jersey.
"These achievements are all the more impressive considering the NYPD has recently devoted vast resources and personnel to protecting our city from the threat of global terrorism. And in the months and years ahead, we'll continue to make New York even safer by focusing on the neighborhoods hit hardest by crime and by stepping up our efforts to get illegal guns off our streets.
"There's no doubt about it: building on our record of public safety is essential in keeping the city I love and you love a beacon to people from all around the world.
"This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening."
Edward Skyler (212) 788-2958