Mayor Bloomberg chose Brooklyn as the centerpiece of his legacy during his 12th and final State of the City address delivered on Thursday at the Barclays Center — touting the gleaming arena as the reward for three terms of large-scale development and bashing critics as naysayers who tried, but failed, to stand in his way.
“Over the past 11 years, we have beaten the odds, and the obstructionists, over and over again, not just here in Brooklyn, but in neighborhoods all across the city,” said Bloomberg to a who’s-who of political luminaries including mayoral hopefuls Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio, Councilwoman Christine Quinn, and Comptroller John Liu. “Is there anyone who still believes that New York City can’t get big things done? Since we’re here in Brooklyn, I’ll say it again: Fuhgeddaboudit.”
The mayor ticked off a laundry list of large-scale development projects around city, but gave special attention to those in Brooklyn.
He championed the planned Greenpoint Landing project, which will bring luxury housing to the banks of the Newtown Creek, the Domino Sugar factory, which Two Trees Management Co. aims to turn residential, the Brooklyn Navy Yard, which is slated to become a technology and media hub, Downtown cultural developments, which include plans for a new theater and glass-working facility, Brooklyn Bridge Park, which recently debuted new open space and will soon turn the Tobacco Warehouse into an arts venue, Steeplechase Plaza, which heralds a glitzy new future to Coney Island, and, of course, the Atlantic Yards mega-project, which brought the borough the Barclays Center.
“The Barclays Center is the latest sign of just how hot Brooklyn has become,” he said, trumpeting the 2,000 people employed at the arena, 75 percent of whom he claimed are borough residents. “For the first time since La Guardia was mayor and FDR created the WPA, we’re not only conceiving big plans that fundamentally change the landscape of our city, we’re achieving them.”
The mayor, who wasn’t just celebrating his final State of the City address but also his birthday, called for a computer science training program for adults to be built Downtown as part of a larger program for strengthening the tech industry.
The mayor also vigorously endorsed the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk program while calling for reduced penalties for marijuana possession, announced permanent East River ferry service, and triumphed environmental initiatives including a solar- and wind-powered recycling mega-center in Sunset Park that will accept more plastics — including salad containers and CD cases, Bloomberg claims — when it opens.
“Even if you don’t care about climate change, cleaning our air is good for your health,” said Bloomberg, who bragged of reducing the city’s carbon footprint by 16 percent in five years.
Borough President Markowitz, who served as the hype man for the mayor, kvelled about Brooklyn’s new Miss America, marvelled that it took “two boychiks not even from Brooklyn” to make the Barclays Center happen, and wondered what birthday gift to get for a man who, as he repeatedly pointed out, has more money than him.
But he came up with something: a Big Gulp cup made from Styrofoam, which the mayor hopes to ban twice over.
But, as always, it was the Brooklyn Nets Kids who stole the show with a short routine, proving once again that the dancing tykes are the borough’s biggest stars.