Mayor de Blasio Delivers “One New York” State of the City Address at Lehman

Mayor Bill De Blasio, delivered his third State of the City address at the Lehman Center for the Performing Arts on February 4th,  promoting a vision of “One New York, working for every neighborhood.” During his 2013 campaign, the mayor famously described New York as divided;  a “tale of two cities.”

“We call these speeches the State of the City,” the mayor said.  “To me, that really means the state of our people. Because it’s the 8.5 million of us, living in neighborhoods across the five boroughs, that make this the greatest city in the world.”

For more than a hour, the mayor addressed a packed audience and live primetime television viewers, discussing a series of new proposals and past accomplishments like universal PreK and paid sick leave. Perhaps the most high-profile new proposal  is  the “Brooklyn Queens Connector,” a 16 mile tram/railway that would run along the East River in Queens and Brooklyn from Astoria to Sunset Park. He also disclosed a plan for the further transformation of Governors Island into a “year round” destination that will “boast unparalleled open spaces, a reanimated historic district and a 21st century ‘innovation cluster,” bringing together innovators, entrepreneurs and educators, to generate new ideas, economic activity and jobs.”

He also called for a “retirement savings program for private sector employees,” and announced a $91 million revitalization of the  long-neglected Downtown Far Rockaway neighborhood.

The mayor discussed improving conditions in two other neighborhoods that “haven’t gotten their due”: The South Bronx and the Brownsville section of  Brooklyn.

“Another part of our city that for decades didn’t get its due—where people have fought through some truly tough times—is the South Bronx,” de Blasio stated. “Of all 62 counties in New York State, the people of the Bronx face the greatest health struggles. And we simply do not accept that.”

“Within a few weeks, the people of the South Bronx will be able to walk into their new community clinic in Mott Haven to see a doctor, a dentist, or a mental health professional,” he continued. “All patients there, and at all our other healthcare facilities will get high-quality care regardless of immigration status or ability to pay.”

Despite some perceptions to the contrary, the mayor boasted of a continuing decrease in crime throughout the city.

“I am proud to say that by summer, we will expand neighborhood policing to 11 more precincts across the city, from the 43 in the Bronx, to the 72 in Brooklyn, to the 109 in Queens,” he said.

De Blasio’s mentor, former Mayor David Dinkins, was among the political dignitaries attending the ceremony. De Blasio got his political start working in the Dinkins administration.

The state of the city speech was not de Blasio’s  first trip to Lehman.  In November 2014, he came to the college to announce a sweeping overhaul of workforce development programs intended to better train New Yorkers for quality jobs like nursing.