Top 10 New York City news stories of the past decade
It’s been 10 years since Metro New York first hit the city’s streets. From political scandals to one of the worst natural disasters to hit the Big Apple, here’s a look at the 10 biggest stories that have impacted the five boroughs in the last decade.
2004: Mass arrests by NYPD at RNC protests
More than 1,800 protesters, journalists and bystanders were arrested before and during the Republican National Convention at Madison Square Garden in August. Charges were eventually dropped in 90 percent of the cases, and the city announced earlier this year that it will pay $18 million to settle dozens of lawsuits over the arrests. City lawyers defended the NYPD, saying 800,000 people demonstrated during the event and only a small fraction was arrested.
2005: Transit strike
Subway and bus service came to a halt on Dec. 20 when the Transport Workers Union Local 100 called a strike after negotiations for a new contract with the MTA broke down. Millions of commuters were left without their primary mode of transportation for 60 hours. Service resumed on Dec. 22 after state mediators brokered a deal with transit officials. Also in 2005, Mayor Michael Bloomberg was re-elected to a second term.
2006: Groundbreaking for One World Trade Center
Ground was broken for One World Trade Center on April 27. Formerly dubbed the Freedom Tower, the building reaches a symbolic 1,776 feet. It is the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere. Construction was completed in May 2013 with the installation of the final piece of the building’s spire.
2007: Midtown steam explosion
A steam pipe exploded underneath a busy Midtown intersection during the evening rush hour on July 18, shooting a hot jet of steam taller than the Chrysler Building towards the sky. A hole in the ground swallowed a tow truck and debris pelted nearby buildings. A New Jersey woman died of cardiac arrest while trying to flee the area; 45 others were injured.
2008: Spitzer’s prostitution scandal
The New York Times reported on March 10 that then-New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer had patronized an elite escort service run by Emperors Club VIP. The scandal led to Spitzer’s resignation two days later. Investigators said Spitzer, referred to as Client 9, paid up to $80,000 for prostitutes over a period of several years, while he was attorney general and then governor.
2009: Bloomberg re-elected to a third term
After pushing for a change to the city’s term limits law, Mayor Michael Bloomberg ran for a third term and defeated then-City Comptroller Bill Thompson, 50.6 percent to 46 percent. The New York City Council voted in 2008 to extend the city’s term limits, sparking controversy and debate. Bloomberg and defendants of the plan argued that the city needed an experienced leader to weather the financial crisis.
2010: Park51 controversy
A planned Islamic community center and mosque in Lower Manhattan attracted national attention in 2010 when protesters rallied against the project because of its proximity to the World Trade Center site. The developer behind the 13-story community center now plans to build a three-story museum dedicated to Islam on the same site.
2011: Weiner resigns
Anthony Weiner tweeted a photo of his crotch on May 27 to a woman who was following him on Twitter. After days of claiming that his account had been hacked, Weiner finally admitted he exchanged inappropriate messages and photos with about six women over several years. He announced his resignation on June 16. Also in 2011, the protest movement Occupy Wall Street began in Zuccotti Park over issues of social and economic inequality.
2012: Superstorm Sandy
Sandy’s storm surge hit New York City on Oct. 29, flooding streets, tunnels and subway lines. It was the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season, killing 53 people in New York. It cut power in and around the city, destroyed homes and businesses, and displaced tens of thousands of residents.
2013: Mayoral Election
Anthony Weiner returned to the public eye for the first time since his scandal and ran for mayor. After revelations that he continued online relationships with women after his resignation, he won just 5 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary. Bill de Blasio, who started out as an underdog in the polls, catapulted to first place and eventually won the Democratic nomination. He defeated his Republican challenger, former MTA Chairman Joe Lhota, in the general election.
2014: East Harlem building explosion
An explosion leveled two East Harlem apartment buildings at 9:31 a.m. on March 12, killing eight people and injuring more than 70 others. City officials said a gas leak caused the blast that collapsed 1644 and 1646 Park Avenue. Con Edison said it received a report about a gas odor in the area 15 minutes prior to the explosion and sent two crews to the site, but they arrived after the blast.