From the NY Post:
Call him the new Moses -- Robert Moses, that is.
Mayor Bloomberg says that since 9/11 he has tried to transform the city on a scale not seen since the days of the legendary and controversial master builder of highways, bridges and parks that changed the metropolitan landscape.
"I think if you look we've done more in the last seven years than -- I don't know if it's fair to say more than Moses did -- but I hope history will show the things we did made a lot more sense," Bloomberg tells The New Yorker.
"You know, Moses did some things that turned out not to be great: cutting us off from the waterfront, putting roads all along the water," he adds.
"Thanks to his money, Bloomberg has managed, perhaps more than any other Democratic politician ever before, to govern strictly with what he considers to be the greater good in mind," the magazine writes.
But the money has also served to curb New York's usually lively political discussion, it says.
A Democratic political consultant tells the magazine, "He's probably been a fine mayor, but he seems a lot better because all the usual agitators -- groups that exist to drive a mayor crazy -- have in one way or another been bought off.
"It's amazing the climate you can have when nobody is criticizing you," the consultant adds.
At least Robert Moses created actual parks and didn't pretend that streets and schoolyards were an acceptable alternative to parks. Anyway...
From the New Yorker article:
Neither the stadium nor the Olympics came to fruition, and, instead of great architecture, retrofitting is at the top of the agenda. Cataclysmic events like September 11th and the current global financial crisis have a way of occasioning revisionist thinking, and in the early months of this year, after the shock of the prospective third term had subsided, a more skeptical narrative of the Bloomberg mayoralty began to surface, in which he appeared less like Batman and more like a beneficiary of larger social and economic forces. One Manhattan businessman, after warning that he would say only “extremely positive” things for attribution, suggested that just about anyone could have been mayor from 2002 to 2008 and overseen sustainable development and growth. As the former Times columnist Joyce Purnick writes in a new book, “Mike Bloomberg: The Mogul and the Mayor,” to be published next month, “Ed Koch had cracked the eggs, Giuliani had made the omelet, and then Bloomberg appeared, and served it.”
The re-assessors rattle off similar lists of unfulfilled projects to imply that the verdict on grand-scale transformation is far from certain. The World Trade Center remains unbuilt, the conversion of the old Post Office on Eighth Avenue into a new Penn Station—Moynihan Station—is stalled, and the real-estate giant the Related Companies has had to postpone financing for the Hudson Yards project on the West Side, where the stadium was to have gone. If Atlantic Yards, a proposed remaking of downtown Brooklyn centered on the relocation of the New Jersey Nets basketball team, ever proceeds, it will be greatly diminished, and without the participation of Frank Gehry, whose involvement was originally used as a selling point. The rezonings, which amount to an impressive one-sixth of the city’s total land area, await the next boom cycle, but their primary imprint on the skyline, thus far, can be seen in luxury condominium towers and garish McMansion co-ops in Brooklyn and Queens that now seem emblematic of an unrealistic age when Wall Street money accounted for thirty-five per cent of the city’s earnings.
Who would have guessed, back in 2002, when the businessman Mayor seemed to regard recycling as a discretionary luxury, that his physical legacy might come to be defined as much by the planting of a million trees and by lawn chairs in the middle of Times Square as by gleaming (and empty) new office towers?
New York Magazine takes a closer look at Bloomie's bitchiness.