On Friday evening, I stood with millions of people from around the world in Times Square, the Crossroads of the World, to watch the crystal ball drop and usher in the year 2000. It was a tremendous night, and I want to thank those within City government-in the Police Department, the Fire Department, the Sanitation Department, the Office of Emergency Management, and others-for their rigorous and intelligent preparations to ensure that the celebration would be as peaceful and enjoyable for as many people as possible.
But this particular event was preceded by a great deal of talk about potential terrorism or other possible disturbance. I'm very proud of the way that the Police Department responded to potential threats, and took reasonable precautions without overreacting. When we stop going about our lives as we otherwise would, the terrorists win by successfully creating a climate of fear. So I'm really happy that millions of people who wanted to be part of the biggest party in the history of the city came out to Times Square. Like the Police, they too reacted reasonably and sensibly to potential threats without getting swept up in any hysteria.
New York City was the perfect place for the world to ring in the millennium, because we're the Capital of the World, populated by people from every national background, race, ethnic background, religion, and way of life. The process of immigration that has made us the most diverse city in the world has also made us the world's most successful city.
So as we look back over the last century at all of the truly remarkable things that have been accomplished, we should also look forward into this new century with a sense of confidence and optimism. New York City today is safer, stronger, more fiscally secure, and more generous-and in the midst of creating more job opportunities for more people-than it's probably been at any point in the entire 20th century.
So we enter the 21st century with a great deal of momentum on our side - and we should keep it up. We still have serious problems, of course, that require focus and hard work and creativity to solve… but the overwhelming feeling as we begin this century should be one of hope and confidence. If any city can address its problems with ingenuity and decency, and accountability, New York City can.
Finally, I want to briefly thank everyone within City government, and also within the utility companies, the banks, the other institutions, the private companies, the businesses, all of them who worked hard to make all systems Y2K-compliant. We may very well see in the coming days some small glitches, but in the vast majority of cases-especially for vital services-the problem was fixed efficiently and on time.
Happy New Year, Happy New Century, and Happy New Millennium. This is Rudy Giuliani.
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