In his final address in office, Mayor Michael Bloomberg reflected on the the past, present and future of the city he ran for 12 years. Credit: Getty Images
In his final major address in office, Mayor Michael Bloomberg reflected on the the past, present and future of the city he ran for 12 years.
"When I think back to when I moved here in 1966, what was happening, New York was beginning to decay," the mayor said during an Economic Club of New York lunch Wednesday.
At the time, he said, politicians believed the city would continue to thrive even if it was "dysfunctional and dystopian."
"As soon as you begin to take success for granted, you begin to fail," Bloomberg said.
Throughout his remarks, the mayor noted successful projects and initiatives that he believes helped make the city a global leader. He said his administration lifted zoning restrictions that were hampering economic growth, expanded transportation alternatives like CitiBike and worked with other cities to combat the sale of illegal guns and the effects of climate change.
"The common denominator in all of these actions is a commitment to investing in the future. When city governments fail to look ahead, cities fail," he said.
Bloomberg said he was optimistic about the city's future, but acknowledged that Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio must tackle growing pension costs, which increased from $1.5 billion to $8.2 billion during his own three terms.
The mayor warned that de Blasio, who was backed by several unions throughout the mayoral campaign, should resist a "labor-electoral complex" and focus on what is best for future generations.
"I really do believe that the best days are still ahead for our city, but that requires all of us – government and the people outside of government – to understand the basic truths: there are no free lunches, we cannot continue to pay more than we need to, we have to make the big investments in infrastructure and in our labor force that will give us a future," the mayor said.