am New York: Two cities ‘transforming into one New York,’ Mayor Bill de Blasio says

By Matthew Chayes and Emily Ngo
am New York 

Mayor Bill de Blasio used his third State of the City address to promise streetcars linking Queens and Brooklyn, a citywide street-cleaning campaign and retirement plans for New Yorkers who would otherwise be penniless when they’re old.

De Blasio, a Democrat, delivered the annual speech to about 1,000 invited guests in the Bronx at Lehman College, where the auditorium holds 2,300.

The speech was closed to the public, though it was streamed on the Internet and delivered at night when more people could watch it live.

“We see the Tale of Two Cities transforming into One New York,” de Blasio said, invoking a trope of his 2013 mayoral campaign.

De Blasio did not mention the 11th-hour collapse earlier in the day of a political deal he had orchestrated to reduce the number of horse-drawn carriages and confine the rest to Central Park.

De Blasio titled the speech “One New York: Working for Our Neighborhoods.”

The invocation was delivered by a female FDNY chaplain, the Pledge of Allegiance by a Muslim family and the national anthem by a Bronx youth choir for at-risk inner-city youth. A young black man praised the mayor for reducing the use of the NYPD tactic of stopping, questioning and frisking mostly black and Latino men.

“We draw our strength from diversity,” he said. “We are a city where everyone is respected.”

De Blasio, whose winning 2013 mayoral campaign centered on complaints by black and Latino New Yorkers that the police are too aggressive, would introduce “implicit bias training” by the spring — “helping them identify, understand and change unconscious behaviors that may affect their policing,” he said.

De Blasio — who has almost entirely stopped criticizing the NYPD since police officers turned their backs on him at funerals for slain officers in 2014 — pointed out officers in the audience who had performed heroically.

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