STATE OF THE CITY REMARKS BY MAYOR DE BLASIO, AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY
One New York: Working for Our Neighborhoods
Thank you to everyone here tonight, everyone watching at home, and all our friends here at Lehman College. Thanks for hosting us.
And thank you to Ausar. The future of our city is in the hands of young people like you, Ausar, and we’re very proud of you tonight.
For too long, many of our young men weren’t treated like our future. They were treated as something less.
But we are changing that. We are lifting up our young people.
For this fine young man in one of our neighborhoods, we see the Tale of Two Cities transforming into One New York.
I want to acknowledge the elected officials who serve New York: City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Public Advocate Letitia James, City Comptroller Scott Stringer, the Borough Presidents, District Attorneys, Members of Congress, the City Council, and the State Legislature. And a special thank you to my former boss, Mayor David Dinkins.
And the most special thanks I can give is to the love of my life, and the author of a new groundbreaking vision for a city where mental health challenges are addressed head on. Let’s thank our First Lady, Chirlane McCray.
We’re very proud that for the first time, this year’s State of the City is in the evening, when more working New Yorkers have a chance to watch it, and hear what we’re doing to move our city forward.
We call these speeches “the State of the City.”
To me, that really means the State of Our People.
Because it’s the 8.5 million of us, living in neighborhoods across the five boroughs, that make this the greatest city in the world.
Now, 8.5 million of us means 8.5 million different experiences of New York.
All of you here, all of you watching tonight, travel a different path throughout the day, dropping your kids off at different schools, taking different trains to work, and nurturing different dreams.
But different as our lives are, we are bound together by an invisible thread. We are united by the profound and powerful fact that we are ALL New Yorkers.
As mayor, I have the extraordinary privilege of seeing this unifying force in action, this strength and this spirit which is unlike any other in the world.
I have seen people come together as One New York in an astounding way, time and time again.
As recently as two weeks ago, we bore the brunt of the second-worst snowstorm in the history of New York City.
During Winter Storm Jonas, people in every community across the city checked in on their most vulnerable neighbors. They shoveled snow for those who couldn’t do it themselves.
And one particular New Yorker, Chantelle Diabate did something that reflects the very best of us.
Chantelle is a registered nurse, and she walked a mile and a half in the height of the storm to get to her job caring for hundreds of elderly patients at the Hebrew Home in the Bronx.
With every step through the piling snow and the bitter cold, she just kept thinking “I really love my patients.”
That, my friends, is the bond between New Yorkers that makes us great. Let’s thank Chantelle for her spirit and her service.
Now, while Chantelle was walking, we were deploying a major multi-agency operation that required thousands of City workers to go above and beyond the call of duty to keep our streets clear and safe. And they did.
Clearing enough snow in the five boroughs to fill Yankee Stadium 66 times, our teams helped us come through this historic storm quickly and smoothly, while other cities were crippled for days.
Let’s thank our sanitation workers, our first responders, and all our City employees.
How we handled Jonas is an example of what we see as our mission every day.
Our mission is to put the powers of City Hall to work to help ALL of our neighborhoods thrive and prosper.
Our challenge is to make our great city greater still.
Our vision is One New York, Working for Our Neighborhoods.
ALL of our neighborhoods.
Úna sóla Nuéva York, trabajándo por nuéstros vecindários — tódos nuéstros vecindários.
Our vision means we have to use the tools of government to fight against inequality – and to fight FOR a strong future for ALL our families.
It means we need to manage government effectively for a safe, clean, economically strong city with an improving quality of life.
And it means we must innovate for the future in all our neighborhoods, always pushing the envelope for new ways to keep New York the greatest global city of the 21st century.
Now, this work may often happen in City Hall, but that’s not where it began.
It began with everyday New Yorkers who for decades demanded a better life for themselves and their families.
Empezó a nivél locál, en nuéstros vecindários.
These New Yorkers did not accept a city where thousands of new apartments were being built in their neighborhoods, and not one of them was affordable to their neighbors.
They did not accept a city where the only jobs they could find barely covered the cost of getting to and from that job.
They did not accept a city where good young men like Ausar couldn’t walk in their own neighborhood without worrying they might be stopped and frisked.
So we set out together to create change.
And let me be clear—this change looks to the future, but it honors New York’s history and deep-seated identity as a place for EVERYONE.
I’d guess that many people here tonight and watching at home know someone who’s afraid they are going to lose their place in the city they love because they can’t afford to stay here.
But more and more, in the face of these challenges, our work of the past two years is taking root in our neighborhoods.
More and more people will be lifted up as we protect today’s affordable apartments and build many thousands more...as communities grow safer...as new businesses open...as our children grow ever more hopeful about their futures...
…as we keep Working for Our Neighborhoods.
Let me show you how this is happening all across the city.
Because of Paid Sick Leave, half a million more New Yorkers can now take a day off to care for themselves or loved ones without worrying about their paycheck.
50,000 City workers and contracted workers will be guaranteed a $15 minimum wage.
And 20,000 City workers will now be able to take six weeks of FULLY paid leave when they have a child, adopt a child, or become a foster parent. And working with our municipal unions, we look forward to the day when we can extend a similar benefit to many more.
I want to pause on this for a moment.
It’s time this country caught up with the rest of the world to create a national policy that eliminates the choice between paying the rent and taking the once-in-a-lifetime chance to bond with a new baby.
And right now, the State of New York is working towards Paid Family Leave as well. I want to thank the Governor for making it a priority in his State of the State address last month.
And I want to commend Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie for being such a powerful champion for our families. Thanks to his leadership, Paid Family Leave passed in the Assembly just two days ago.
We will fight for this change in Washington and do everything we can to ensure it becomes the law of the State.
And I further want to thank two people in this room who are fighting for parental leave everywhere, because they have lived through a parent’s worst nightmare.
Amber Scorah and Lee Towndrow lost their son Karl on his first morning in daycare when Amber went back to work last July.
They have had the fortitude to channel their pain into activism.
Their message is simple: Paid Parental Leave matters.
Let’s applaud them for their courage.
I talked earlier about New York City as a place for everyone.
Just over a year ago, we worked with the City Council, led by Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, to introduce IDNYC.
And today, THREE QUARTERS OF A MILLION New Yorkers carry it in their pocket.
They use it to participate fully in the life of this city, which includes accessing the jewels in our city’s crown—our museums and cultural institutions—for free.
Let’s thank our cultural institutions for embracing this notion with so much passion, and for opening their doors to thousands of new members.
Paid Sick Leave, Paid Parental Leave, $15 minimum wage, IDNYC...these are the kinds of changes that move a family from struggle to strength. (I could also mention 68,500 kids in free, full-day Pre-K. . .but you’ve heard me talk about it enough.)
Now, we understand that a fairer city must also be a safer city.
That is why we are so proud that New Yorkers are safer now than they’ve been at any point in modern history.
Crime within our neighborhoods has gone down 5.8% in two years.
This past month was the safest January on record.
Murders went down 45% and shootings went down 34% percent compared to the same month a year ago.
Thanks to our partnership with the City Council, we’re adding 2,000 cops to the beat by the end of this year – our first increase in patrol strength since 2001.
And at this very moment, our new NYPD counter-terror unit, the Critical Response Command, is protecting us from terror threats.
At 500-plus officers, it is the strongest such force in the entire country.
There has never been a dedicated unit like this before. But
we need this level of security because we know we’re a target.
We are a target because New York City is founded on the values of democracy and inclusion. We draw our strength from diversity. We are a city where everyone is respected.
And we believe that in our neighborhoods, safer streets come from stronger bonds between police and community.
So we’ve unveiled One City, Safe and Fair, Everywhere, to bring that belief to life.
It’s our blueprint for REAL neighborhood policing—something that’s been talked about for decades and will now be achieved.
I am proud to say that by summer, we will expand neighborhood policing to 11 more precincts across the city, from the 4-3 in the Bronx to the 7-2 in Brooklyn to the 1-0-9 in Queens.
Eventually, this new approach will come to EVERY ONE of our neighborhoods.
Let’s be forthright. This is a fundamental shift for some neighborhoods that bear scars of a difficult history between police and community.
It asks the people of our neighborhoods and the police officers sworn to protect them to do the work of building trust.
We’re giving our officers every tool they need to do that from the moment they walk through the doors of the Police Academy.
One of those tools is training to help overcome the biases that reside in all of us.
This spring, we will introduce “implicit bias” training for our officers—helping them identify, understand and change unconscious behaviors that may affect their policing.
All of the training and technology we are delivering to our police department will help every one of our 35,000 uniformed officers become the kind of cop they signed up to be.
Tonight, we are joined by members of our uniformed services who have performed extraordinary acts of heroism in recent months.
Four officers protected New Yorkers from a terrorist wielding a hatchet. Though he was struck in the head, thank God Police Officer Kenneth Healy came through, with the help of Officers Joseph Meeker, Taylor Kraft and Peter Rivera.
Police Officer Christian Campoverde was off-duty when he saw a man about to take his own life. Using his NYPD crisis intervention training, he talked him down and saved his life.
And just yesterday, Probationary Police Officer Keith Gordon saw fellow officer Daniel Schreiner choking in the 1-0-9 precinct station house. Within seconds, Officer Gordon performed the Heimlich maneuver and saved his life.
NYPD officers don’t need to be in New York City to save lives. Detectives Albert Ramos and Daniel Mulligan were in Los Angeles last year when they subdued a knife-wielding attacker.
Police Officers Benny Colecchia, Daniel Rich and Matt Wicelinski rescued a woman from an overturned ambulette on a highway in Pennsylvania.
Back here at home, Police Officers Anthony Barton and Michael Pyzikiewicz delivered a baby on the L.I.E.
Just 12 days later, Detectives Michael Sharpe, Joseph Conway, and Robert Mirfield, and Police Officers Kevin Moran and Frank Denicola delivered ANOTHER baby on the FDR.
Not to be outdone, EMS members from Station 7 and 8 ALSO delivered a baby in a car, outside the Lincoln Tunnel.
FDNY Lt. Viktor Milukas and Lt. Adam Vilagos EACH rescued some of our youngest New Yorkers last year—a toddler from a fire in Brooklyn and an infant from a fire in Queens.
Firefighter Mike Shepherd was off-duty in the East Village last March when a gas explosion ripped through a nearby building. He ran towards the blaze and helped a woman escape from her apartment.
And don’t forget our Sanitation Department. A would-be robber at a Manhattan 7/11 found himself face-to-face with one of New York’s Strongest – Curtis Jackson – who also happens to be a former Marine – and who swiftly took him down.
And one of our compassionate Correction Officers, Officer Daniel Leites, rescued a woman with Alzheimer’s wandering on Woodhaven Boulevard, saving her from certain injury, or worse, and then—because these are the kinds of public servants we are blessed to have—bought her lunch and gave her his sweater.
That’s the bond between New Yorkers, in action.
And there’s one more hero we need to recognize for an extraordinary accomplishment in 2015.
This is an individual who answered the call on 9/11, and who stayed on the pile for 8 months because, in his words, there was no option but to keep searching for his friends.
And long after that terrible day, Firefighter Ray Pfeifer was STILL fighting for his friends by walking miles and miles in Washington hallways to lobby for the reauthorization of the Zadroga Act—all the while fighting his own health battles.
In December, thanks to Ray’s advocacy, as well as a tremendously strong bipartisan coalition of Members of Congress and mayors from all across the country, the Zadroga Act was made permanent.
So Ray and all our 9/11 first responders and survivors will get lifetime healthcare and support.
Ray is here tonight. Let’s all salute his victory.
It feels good to thank people who have saved lives. And you know what else is saving lives in neighborhoods all across this city? Vision Zero.
Our Vision Zero Action Plan made 2015 the safest year on New York City roads for EVERYONE—pedestrians, cyclists AND motorists—since 1910.
Fatalities are down 22% since 2013 – that’s 66 fewer New Yorkers losing their lives, or a loved one, to crashes.
Yet even one loss is too many. I want to acknowledge Lizi Rahman, Mary Beth Kelly, the Liao family, and the Cohen-Eckstein family, and all the other families who have lost parents, children, and siblings on our roads.
Through their pain, they have demanded change and they have achieved it. Let’s thank them.
Our roads are safer when they’re in good repair. So we’ve filled almost a million potholes in the past two years, and repaved 2,200 lane miles of our roads, smoothing over long-neglected streets from the northern end of the FDR drive to Huguenot Avenue on the South Shore of Staten Island.
That’s the most repaving that’s been done since 1991 – and as if we paved a road from here to Las Vegas.
That’s One New York: Working for Our Neighborhoods.
And we’re putting real resources to work for public transportation. In 2015, we made a historic $2.5 billion dollar contribution to the MTA.
We expanded Staten Island Ferry service to run every 30 minutes, 24/7, and we’re investing to replace the three oldest ferry boats with stronger, storm-resistant boats.
I am so proud that just last week we were able to tell Bob and Linda Ollis of New Dorp that in 2019 one of those new vessels will launch in the New York Harbor with the name of their son, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Michael Ollis, emblazoned upon it.
Sgt. Ollis was a brave, strong, compassionate young man who gave his life for a fellow soldier, and for our country, two and a half years ago.
Let’s thank the Ollis family.
When I stood with Bob and Linda last week, they talked about how their neighbors in Staten Island gave them strength.
Bob said that day “if you buy a piece of Burbank Avenue. . .it’s worth a million dollars only because of the neighbors that you have.”
That’s what New York City is for all of us.
A great city of small towns we call neighborhoods, where people stand by each other, and have a love for their community that sometimes stretches back generations.
For so many New Yorkers, nothing is more important than being able to live in the neighborhood they love.
That’s why we launched the most ambitious municipal affordable housing plan in the history of the nation.
2015 itself was one of the best years EVER for affordable housing in the history this city.
First: We set a record for the number of new apartments financed in one year.
Second: We’re ahead of pace towards our goal of 10,000 affordable apartments for our seniors.
Third: the million-plus tenants living in rent-regulated apartments received their 1st ever rent freeze in City history.
Fourth—and I am especially proud of this—we honored our commitment to END chronic veterans homelessness in New York City, ensuring that those who served our country weren’t left without a home.
Now, the original bedrock of affordable housing in our city was the New York City Housing Authority.
When Mayor LaGuardia created NYCHA in 1934, he proudly told the public that instead of slums and tenements, working New Yorkers would have “decent, modern housing.”
But for decades now, our 400,000 neighbors living in NYCHA have seen their buildings decline due to disinvestment.
So in 2015, we unveiled our NextGeneration NYCHA plan, which will stabilize the Authority’s finances and raise quality of life for tenants.
We began work to replace leaky roofs at 67 buildings through $300 million in City funding.
AND we began work to bring high-speed internet to Queensbridge Houses, Red Hook Houses, and Mott Haven Houses.
Today, I am proud to announce that this year we will take that work to two more developments: Jefferson Houses in Harlem and Stapleton Houses in Staten Island.
When we’re done, more than 21,000 residents at these developments will have access to the high-speed internet that is so important to getting ahead in today’s world.
Every night, at kitchen tables in every neighborhood, New Yorkers are trying to figure out how they’ll make ends meet when the first of the month comes around again.
And this economic reality has taken an even more severe toll on tens of thousands of New Yorkers who find that they can no longer afford to stay in their homes, and are forced into shelter.
More and more, these are families with children, WORKING families who are doing everything right.
But they wake up in shelter, take their kids to school, go to their job, and then return to their shelter when the day is done.
That is NOT what should happen in the greatest city in the world.
That’s why over the past year, we’ve helped many of these families – over 22,000 New Yorkers – move from shelter to permanent housing.
We’ve helped another 91,000 with services to stay IN their homes and OUT of shelter.
We created the first-ever shelter repair squad to immediately address poor conditions, and to make our shelters safer and cleaner.
And while the great majority of our city’s homeless are in shelters, we’re taking unprecedented steps for the three-to-four thousand New Yorkers living on our streets, too.
We’ve launched HOME-STAT, the most aggressive street homelessness outreach program of any city in the United States.
And we’re creating 15,000 supportive apartments over the next 15 years.
I want to take this opportunity to thank City Council Member Steve Levin and State Assembly Member Andrew Hevesi for their leadership in this critical work.
Finally, we have launched the biggest effort in New York City history to support young people on our streets.
Too often, this is our LGBT youth who have been rejected by their families and left to fend for themselves.
Over the next three years, we are adding 300 beds in dedicated youth shelters for our young people who have nowhere else to go.
As a parent, I can’t believe that any mother or father would stigmatize their own child and throw them out because of who they are. But we are here to catch them.
And there’s another stigma that affects all our neighborhoods, and touches New Yorkers from all walks of life – and that’s the stigma of mental illness.
For the first time, as a city, we are fighting to shatter that stigma and deal with the public health crisis of untreated mental health problems.
Our First Lady is leading ThriveNYC, the most comprehensive program of any American city to support New Yorkers facing mental illness.
It includes Mental Health First Aid training for a quarter million New Yorkers so they can identify and respond to signs of mental illness and substance use.
It includes our NYC Support hotline. Anyone can make one phone call to get connected to care, and to STAY connected to care.
And ThriveNYC also includes teams that pair NYPD Officers with Department of Health and Mental Hygiene clinicians to respond to calls about the severely mentally ill on our streets.
This is a new frontier – it’s the first time the NYPD has embedded mental health clinicians in their day-to-day work on the street. These teams will be hitting the streets next month.
Nothing is more important to creating One City than improving our schools.
And so we are shaking the very foundations of public education.
Our schools must run on the twin engines of equity and excellence.
That’s why we’re bringing Advanced Placement classes to ALL our high schools, Algebra to ALL our middle schoolers, Computer Science to ALL our children at every grade level.
And that’s why we’re focused on the schools that for far too long did not get the resources or the support they needed. Today, our 94 Renewal Schools are graduating more kids and seeing higher test scores through new approaches and new leadership.
And we have made it our mission to ensure that our schools are safe and respectful learning environments.
Too many students in this city have faced a school-to-prison pipeline rather than a school-to-college pipeline.
We’re changing that.
Since the 2011-2012 school year, crime in our schools has gone down 29% while suspensions have declined by 36%.
So two years in, we are building One New York.
The changes we’ve made are Working for Our Neighborhoods.
And today, we are capturing the momentum of these first two years to push harder, to go farther.
Working people need all the support they can get. And too many of them DON’T have any kind of retirement security.
In fact, fewer than half of all working New Yorkers have access to a plan that can help them save for the retirement years.
Even those who have started to save don’t have much—40% of New Yorkers have less than $10,000 dollars saved for retirement.
We absolutely do not accept a status quo where people work all their lives only to be left with nothing.
That’s why New York City is working to become the first city in the country to create a retirement savings program for private sector employees.
Working with Speaker Mark-Viverito, Public Advocate James and Comptroller Stringer, we will introduce legislation to enable any New Yorker working at a business with ten or more employees to automatically enroll in a retirement plan.
In 2016, we’re taking our fight against inequality to three particular places in our city that haven’t gotten their due for many years.
First: Downtown Far Rockaway.
Let’s begin with a clip from last year’s State of the City: [ “Battered by years of economic distress even before Sandy’s gale-force winds struck, there’s no place in our city that has persevered through more. Our plan will jump-start the process of acquiring underutilized properties in the Rockaways – areas blighted or vacant for decades – as we look to create new, affordable housing for thousands there.”]
Over the past year, we have worked in partnership with Council Member Donovan Richards and community members like Glenn Collins.
After Sandy hit, Glenn was knocking on the doors of his elderly and disabled neighbors, asking what he could bring them.
Now, he helps Far Rockaway residents get their GEDs, find jobs, and build better lives for themselves through his job at our local Workforce1 Center.
Today, the vision held by Glenn and so many other Far Rockaway residents will become a reality.
I am proud to announce that the City of New York is investing $91 million dollars to transform Downtown Far Rockaway – the kind of investment this neighborhood has not seen in years.
We’ll help businesses in commercial corridors like Beach 20th Street. Parents will be able to attend job training workshops while their kids play a pick-up game at the greatly improved Sorrentino Recreation Center. And the whole community will enjoy the new, state-of-the-art Downtown Far Rockaway Library.
Another part of our city that for decades didn’t get its due—where people have fought through some truly tough times—is the South Bronx.
Of all 62 counties in New York State, the people of the Bronx face the greatest health struggles.
And we simply do not accept that.
To understand how we are taking action, you need to go back to the time of New York City’s greatest mayor and a personal hero of mine, Fiorello LaGuardia.
When Mayor LaGuardia assumed office in 1934, he saw the devastating ways that inequality affected the health of New Yorkers.
He responded by starting the Neighborhood Health Center Movement, building 30 clinics in communities across the city that needed them most. And it worked – infant mortality went down, and life expectancy went up in those places.
We are proud to follow in the tradition of Mayor LaGuardia tonight.
This year, we are launching or expanding health clinics in 14 underserved neighborhoods across the city.
Within a few weeks, the people of the South Bronx will be able to walk into their new community clinic in Mott Haven to see a doctor, a dentist, or a mental health professional.
ALL patients there, and at all our other healthcare facilities, will get high-quality care regardless of immigration status or ability to pay.
The third neighborhood I want to talk about is Brownsville.
This neighborhood has struggled with high crime and underperforming schools. The young people of Brownsville haven’t had the opportunities they need.
But we know there’s a brighter future on the horizon.
We know that with the right support and a strong faith in the neighborhood, Brownsville CAN and WILL rise.
We’ve already transitioned the 7-3 precinct to our new neighborhood policing strategy.
This year, residents will become safer when we expand our ShotSpotter gunfire detection technology to cover more of the neighborhood.
A new Neighborhood Health Action Center will open to provide the community with both primary care AND critical services like maternal and child care, and SNAP benefits.
And each of the 5,000 middle schoolers and high schoolers in Brownsville will experience something extraordinary when they meet their Single Shepherd for the first time.
Single Shepherds were announced four months ago as part of our Equity and Excellence agenda for our schools.
They’re a cross between a guidance counselor and a mentor.
Single Shepherds will stick with families through the grades, giving them the support they deserve so our kids can excel.
Now, if we want our children to excel in today’s world—and adults too, for that matter – then it’s time to bridge the digital divide.
Too many New Yorkers are locked out of a world of information and opportunity on the Internet.
That is why we have launched LinkNYC, which is well on its way to becoming the largest, fastest, free municipal Wi-Fi system in the world.
LinkNYC is replacing the City’s antiquated payphones with a state-of-the-art communications network where they can log on or make a phone call for free.
We just installed the first LinkNYC Wi-Fi kiosks on 3rd Avenue in Manhattan and they will be “turned on” within a matter of weeks.
By the end of July, there will be more than 500 kiosks across all five boroughs, on the way toward our goal of more than 7,500 in neighborhoods across the city.
This will help cement our place as a global leader in technology, innovation, and equity.
Everything we’re doing to make this a fairer city, a city of opportunity, rests on the work we do to keep people safe.
That’s why I’m so proud of the extraordinary work of our Police Department.
In 2015, because of the men and women of the NYPD, shootings went DOWN almost 3% and gun arrests went UP almost 10%.
But if you know anything about today’s NYPD, you know they’re always seeking the next frontier, the next innovation to make New Yorkers safer.
This sparked the creation of our brand new 200-officer Gun Violence Suppression Unit.
This unit’s efforts led to yesterday’s announcement of the indictment of 18 members of a violent gang.
And they’re just getting started!
Now, if making New Yorkers safer is the first and foremost of our efforts to improve quality of life, then helping New Yorkers get around our city swiftly and easily comes next.
In 2016, we’re taking two important steps to help commuters avoid hassles and gain more of a New Yorker’s most precious resource: time. They don’t call it a New York minute for nothing!
The first step is for our bus riders. By the end of 2016, there will be 350 real-time countdown clocks showing riders in all five boroughs when the next bus is arriving—the same kind of clocks many straphangers already know and love underground.
The second new step is for New Yorkers behind the wheel, who will now be able to pay for street parking in every single one of our 85,000 metered spaces using their smartphone.
No more paper receipts to put on the dashboard! No more running to the meter! Drivers will be able to buy time with a quick tap or text.
I want to thank Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez for his leadership on this issue.
Now, let’s look at what else makes New Yorkers feel good about their neighborhoods.
New Yorkers want to see clean streets and sidewalks.
And that’s why I am proud to introduce CleaNYC, a revitalized effort to keep our neighborhoods clean in all five boroughs.
First, we’re going to add Sunday and holiday pick-up service for 5,000 more litter baskets in the neighborhoods of our city that see the most foot traffic.
Second, we’re going to expand our cleaning of highway ramps and shoulders, which are often the first thing someone coming into the city actually sees.
Every week, we will clean an additional 100 miles of highway ramps of litter and debris.
Third, we’re doubling down on our work to remove graffiti in neighborhoods across the city, adding power-washing trucks that will allow us to remove 40 million square feet of graffiti every year.
Fourth, we will use those SAME power-washing trucks to clean sidewalks along some of the busiest commercial corridors in all five boroughs – like Church Avenue in Brooklyn, the Downtown Flushing Transit Hub in Queens, Jerome-Gun Hill in the Bronx, Broadway on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, and Hylan Boulevard in Staten Island.
Safe streets, clean streets, fair streets—these are the things that make our city great, and that we focus on every day.
But to remain a global leader in the 21st century, we must also build a vision of our future.
It’s time for a New Economy for New York.
This is our vision for an economy that draws as much strength from a film & TV soundstage in the Bronx, a 3-D printing company in Long Island City, or a fashion manufacturer in Sunset Park, as it does from a gleaming office tower in Midtown.
It’s an economy that sees abandoned industrial land on our waterfront as an opportunity to build a thriving commercial district.
And it’s an economy that benefits all our neighborhoods.
We said two years ago that we would create a five-borough economy. And it’s already happening.
In the last two years, jobs in the outer boroughs grew at more than twice the rate of those in Manhattan.
And speaking of jobs, we now have over 4.2 million jobs in our city—the most in our history. And we created more than 220,000 of those in the past two years—the highest two-year gain ever.
And you know who’s creating jobs? Our small businesses.
With a lot of guts and a lot of elbow grease, entrepreneurs like Lori, whose Staten Island wine shop you saw earlier, are fueling our economy and strengthening our neighborhoods.
It’s up to US to clear the path for them to get that done.
And today, small businesses are feeling major tax relief because last year we instituted the most sweeping changes and cuts in decades to our city’s outdated small business-tax code.
And imagine the relief when the City issues a warning instead of a fine – something that happened thousands of times last year and collectively saved our small businesses more than $15 million dollars.
For small businesses, time is money. And entrepreneurs have told us it takes too much time to fulfill their life’s dream of opening a new business.
So today, we’re providing one-on-one assistance that saves businesses an average of two and half months when opening.
That means businesses start to make money quicker, and start to provide jobs for our neighborhoods sooner.
More than ever, we’re helping small businesses in places like the Brooklyn Navy Yard and the Brooklyn Army Terminal, where we’ve invested to spark the growth of companies in new industries, like life sciences and technology.
And while there has been tremendous activity, these economic hubs haven’t yet reached their full potential.
And there’s a simple reason why: you haven’t been able to easily get to and from these neighborhoods using public transit.
So we’ve been pursuing new ways to connect New Yorkers to these neighborhoods—and they are already taking off.
Look at Citibike, which began under the previous Administration and is now shattering expectations, with 10 million rides last year.
This year we’re expanding this successful program, adding another 2,500 bikes in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan to grow the system to 10,000.
And last year I announced the first-ever Citywide Ferry Service. Docks are under construction right now, ahead of the launch of the service next year.
Today we take the NEXT great step in connecting New Yorkers to the heart of our New Economy for New York.
We’re now seeing explosive growth on the waterfront in Brooklyn and Queens.
The neighborhoods that run along the East River from northern Queens to Sunset Park are home to over 400,000 people, including over 40,000 NYCHA residents; and major employment hubs like Downtown Brooklyn, the Navy Yard, and the Sunset Park industrial cluster.
So tonight I am announcing the Brooklyn-Queens Connector, or BQX, a state-of-the-art streetcar that will run from Astoria to Sunset Park, and has the potential to generate over $25 billion of economic impact for our city over 30 years.
New Yorkers will be able to travel up and down a 16-mile route that links a dozen waterfront neighborhoods.
The BQX has the potential to change the lives of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers.
And there’s another great opportunity awaiting us on the water.
Governor’s Island is a 172-acre oasis in New York Harbor that has a history as long as New York City itself.
It was a fishing camp for the very first, native New Yorkers.
And then, in May 1624, it became the birthplace of our city when the first Dutch settlers arrived there and christened it “New Netherland.”
Those thirty families who set foot onto the shores of Governors Island almost 400 years ago made their arduous voyage in search of opportunity.
They planted the seeds of a city that would grow as a place for everyone.
And just as our city has grown, Governors Island should grow again as a place of opportunity for New Yorkers.
Today, we pledge to make Governors Island a place where economic opportunity COMES TOGETHER WITH innovation, education, and creativity.
We will revive the beautiful buildings in the Historic District that celebrate New York City’s past, and look to the future through millions of new square feet for commerce, culture, and research.
This will create tens of thousands of jobs, and enable 365-day access for all New Yorkers for the first time in the Island’s history.
It will create a place where a young biomedical scientist might develop a cure for diabetes, or a tech entrepreneur might innovate a gravity-powered light bulb.
Many of these ideas will help us meet the challenges we face right here in New York City, including one of the greatest threats we all must confront: climate change.
We’ve reduced our emissions significantly in the past two years.
We’ve challenged ourselves to cut our emissions 80% by the year 2050, and to achieve the cleanest air of any major U.S. city by 2030.
Here’s how we get there: today, we announce that Number 6 heating oil – the most polluting heating oil – has been totally eliminated from New York City buildings.
And we are moving toward renewables and away from fossil fuels, leading by example with our public buildings.
We’ve increased the amount of solar power in city-owned buildings 7-fold since 2013.
And today we commit to increase that amount five times over again to 25 megawatts within three years.
This will remove emissions from our environment – AND save taxpayers money.
We’re also making ourselves more resilient against climate change through a comprehensive $20 billion dollar resiliency plan. Many measures are already in place, and many more are underway.
So let me bring all the pieces together and conclude with a simple vision for the people of our city.
New Yorkers deserve to be protected from the effects of climate change. . .and from other threats to their neighborhoods.
They deserve a job that allows more than just scraping by. . .
. . .a home they can actually afford. . .
. . .an education for their children that helps them achieve their dreams.
New Yorkers deserve strong neighborhoods. Safe neighborhoods. Clean neighborhoods.
Neighborhoods that become stronger as the world keeps progressing into the 21st century.
Neighborhoods that lift UP their people and in doing so lift up the whole city.
Neighborhoods that are great in their own right and together – TOGETHER – unite as a 21st century global capital of fairness, opportunity, and innovation.
That is our work.
That is our future.
Thank you, God bless you all, and God bless the people of New York City.
Read the Full Text of Mayor Bill de Blasio's 2016 State of the CIty Speech
STATE OF THE CITY REMARKS BY MAYOR DE BLASIO, AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY