From The Mayor’s Desk ...
If you couldn’t be with me and almost one million of my closest friends in Times Square on Friday night, I hope you were watching. It was spectacular. Giant crowds of cheering revelers… Secretary of State Colin Powell, a great New Yorker and a real American hero, who helped me lower the ball… and 30 tons of party hats, noisemakers, confetti, and paper streamers – all of which were collected and disposed of by our fantastic Sanitation Department, New York’s Strongest, before the break of day.
As 2005 begins, we have good reason to feel optimistic. Crime is down to lows not seen in two generations…fire fatalities are the lowest they’ve been since before the Depression…and traffic deaths are at levels not seen since the turn of the last century. In our school system, we are continuing a sweeping reform, and are on the way to ensuring that all of New York City’s 1.1 million public school students get the education they need and deserve. We’re also in the midst of the largest affordable housing initiative in the past 20 years. And our five-borough economic development strategy is continuing to produce jobs and opportunity in every community. As a result, unemployment in New York is the lowest it has been in nearly four years, and nearly 40,000 more New Yorkers have private sector jobs than did 12 months ago.
We’ve got a lot to celebrate — but in the process, we should also all remember our friends and neighbors in uniform and in harm’s way, fighting for our freedoms overseas. Nor should we forget our responsibility to pray for, and help, the tens of thousands in South and Southeast Asia who lost their lives during last week’s terrible earthquake. Right now, the best thing we can do to help the survivors is donate to the relief effort. There are a lot of aid groups involved in the effort. If you send your donations to the Mayor’s Office, we’ll make sure they go to the most effective organizations, such as the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders. Please make checks payable The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City and mail them to the mayor’s office at City Hall. I’ve given money to the effort, and I strongly encourage anyone else who can do so to do the same.
The year 2005 gives us new opportunities to create a better world. Here in New York, we can look forward to a number of initiatives that will make our city stronger and more exciting: Hopefully, we’ll find out this year that we’ve been picked to host the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. A New York Games would not only mean welcoming the world’s greatest sporting event; it also would produce $12 billion in economic activity, 130,000 new jobs, and a lasting legacy of recreation facilities, parks, and housing that New Yorkers want and need.
I know it’s a little early to be bragging about keeping our New Year’s Resolutions, but I think New Yorkers can be forgiven for talking about one sure thing. In 2005, we’ll continue to go on living our lives to the fullest and building the best future we can for our children – and making the greatest city in the world even greater.