Inauguration 2014: A new mayor for a new year

January 1, 2014 Heather Chin
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The new year brought New Yorkers a new mayor and a host of other new elected officials, many of whom call Brooklyn their home.

Chief among them is Bill de Blasio, who was officially sworn in as New York City’s 109th mayor shortly after midnight on Wednesday, January 1, on the steps of his family’s Park Slope brownstone. He was joined by his wife Chirlane McCray and two teenage children, Chiara and Dante.

The midnight ceremony was officiated by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who was also present at the big formal inauguration at City Hall later that day, where de Blasio again took the oath of office, this time with a Bible once owned by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and guided by former President Bill Clinton.

In his speech, de Blasio vowed to “take dead aim at the tale of two cities”—the prevailing problem of inequality, not the Charles Dickens novel itself—by expanding the paid sick leave law, requiring big developers to build more affordable housing, tackling the wave of hospital closures, building more community health centers, reforming the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy, and implementing at least a five-year tax “on the wealthiest among us” in order to fund full-day universal pre-kindergarten and after-school programs.

“We won’t wait. We’ll do it now,” de Blasio repeatedly reiterated.

“[New York is] a place that celebrates a very simple notion: that no matter what your story is—this is your city. Our strength is derived from you. Working together, we will make this one city,” vowed de Blasio. “And that mission—our march towards a fairer, more just, more progressive place [and] to keep the promise of New York alive for the next generation. . . It begins today.”

Also taking the oath of office that afternoon were Public Advocate Letitia James, a native Brooklynite from Fort Greene, and City Comptroller Scott Stringer, who lives in Manhattan with his wife and two young children.

James, who just finished a nine-year tenure as city councilmember of the 35th Council District and won the public advocate seat on a platform promising to tackle inequality in housing, real estate development, and police-community relations, also referenced New York City’s “gap between the haves and have nots” and the “gilded age of inequality.”

“Words cannot express my gratitude” at being elected and being “the first woman of color to hold citywide office,” said James after being sworn in by former Mayor David Dinkins—the city’s first African American mayor. “We have no luxury to rest [because in addition to inequality], I have also seen enduring hope and optimism. We must capitalize on the resources the city has to offer [as] the unquestioned hub of creativity and advancement.”

In his remarks, Stringer echoed this desire to utilize the office of city comptroller into “a think tank for innovation and ideas.”

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