From a scandal-ridden mayoral election to the shifting role of stop-and-frisk, change and unrest are central to some of the year's biggest stories.
Bill de Blasio elected
For the first time in 12 years, New Yorkers would have a new mayor in Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. Considered an underdog in July, de Blasio seized on ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner's sexting spiral and the public's growing distain for the city's established political powers, including rival City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Highlighting inequalities Bloomberg often shrugged off as mayor, de Blasio's campaign catchphrase, "A Tale of Two Cities," resonated with New Yorkers eager for change.
Ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner and ex-Gov. Eliot Spitzer shook up the election season after the former congressman announced his bid for mayor on May 21 and the "luv gov" launched his city comptroller campaign July 7. Despite their earlier falls from grace – either by sexting strangers or being linked to a high-end prostitution ring – both Weiner and Spitzer managed to get ahead in several polls. Spitzer ultimately lost to Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and esteem for Weiner dropped dramatically when he admitted to sexting after his resignation.
Changes to stop-and-frisk
Even as NYPD began to scale back stop-and-frisk, the tactic faced continued scrutiny this year. The City Council passed the Community Safety Act, with one bill requiring the next mayor to appoint an inspector general to the department. Another bill makes it easier to bring profiling lawsuits. An appeals court blocked a federal judge's decision ruling stop-and-frisk unconstitutional in October, holding her remedies. The appeal will be picked up in the spring.
New York City celebrates DOMA decision
New Yorkers cheered on the Supreme Court's landmark DOMA decision with rallies and celebrations in the West Village. Plaintiff Edie Windsor joined supporters in the neighborhood, including City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who was vying to be the city's first female and openly gay mayor. "The federal government picked the wrong New Yorker to screw with when they sent Edie that tax bill!!" Quinn said at a rally in front of the Stonewall Inn.
Biker gang assault
Eleven people have been arrested, including one undercover cop, since Alexian Lien's SUV hit a motorcyclist on the West Side Highway,sparking a Sept. 29 biker gang assault. Stunning video captured a group of bikers catching up with Lien, pulling him from the car and beating him in front of his wife and daughter.
Train derailment in the Bronx
In one of the MTA's deadliest days in decades and causing the first fatalities in Metro-North's history, four were killed and dozens injured when a train derailed in the Bronx on Dec. 1. The train was going 82 mph approaching a 30 mph curve in Spuyten Duyvil. A union boss later said the engineer was dosing off before going into the curve, though it's unclear if the engineer will ever be charged in the derailment.
- Photos: Women's March In New York City30 Pictures
- PHOTOS: 16 Betty White quotes to brighten your day17 Pictures
Shooting of Kimani Gray
Two plainclothes police officers shot and killed 16-year-old Kimani Gray on the night of March 9, insisting the teen pointed a gun at them and was acting suspicious. Gray died, shot seven times in the front, three times in the back, according to police. Officials said a .38 caliber revolver was recovered at the scene. His death sparked days of protests throughout the neighborhood. In May, his parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city.
Spike in anti-gay hate crimes
After a 32-year-old Mark Carson, an openly gay man, was shot and killed just blocks from the Stonewall Inn on May 17 in an alleged hate crime, gay rights activists rallied during a march and protest through the West Village. Officials highlighted the murder in an apparent spike in anti-gay attacks citywide. "The first thing we want to tell people who are victims of this is to report it," NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said following a separate incident.
Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter @AnnaESanders