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Bloomberg's vision of NYC often realized

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg holds a

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg holds a news conference in the Blue Room at City Hall in Manhattan. (Dec. 12, 2013) Credit: Charles Eckert

Mayor Michael Bloomberg usually got his way while running this city.

He succeeded in mainstreaming policies once thought impossible: kicking cigarettes out of bars and restaurants; carving pedestrian space into Times Square and Herald Square; rezoning large swaths of the city.

In the twilight of his administration, Bloomberg has been touting the gains in New Yorkers' health and pedestrian safety over the past 12 years, as well as the creation of new business hubs and more.

But there were times when New Yorkers, the courts or the state blocked Bloomberg's ambitious plans.

Bruce Berg, a political science professor at Fordham University, said Bloomberg never let his policy setbacks jam up his vision for New York.

"I don't think he was affected, his administration was affected, by the failures," Berg said. "They had other items on the agenda and when they lost something, they just said 'next.' "

The mayor's willingness to "take on any challenge, and fearless approach, has led to a few swing-and-misses, but it's also led to unmatched successes," Bloomberg spokesman Kamran Mumtaz said.

Among the misses:


Nonpartisan elections

To become mayor, Bloomberg left the Democratic Party in 2001 to avoid a crowded primary and jumped to the Republican Party, which had room for the billionaire media executive. Then he spent $7 million of his own money to get voters to embrace nonpartisan elections in 2003. They rejected the proposal. Nonpartisan elections were debated again by the 2010 City Charter Review Commission, which declined to put the issue on the ballot again.


West Side Stadium

Bloomberg's effort to develop the industrial land on Manhattan's far West Side into a residential and commercial neighborhood included a new football stadium for the Jets. The stadium was also a key part of the city's effort in 2005 to attract the 2012 Olympics. Ultimately, state legislative leaders sacked the idea.


2012 Olympics

A month after a state panel rejected what was dubbed the "West Side Stadium," the International Olympic Committee nixed New York City's bid to host the 2012 Summer Olympics, picking London instead. Mitchell Moss, an NYU professor, argued in a 2011 paper that in losing the bid, New York City ultimately won because elements of the administration's NYC2012 plan for the Olympics, such as the No. 7 train extension and the High Line, became reality.

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