Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Looking at The New Yorker's Bloomy extravaganza

Ben McGrath profiles King Bloomberg in this week's New Yorker.

It's epic. Here's how it starts:

Michael Bloomberg has never been the sort of public speaker who makes people faint in his presence. He talks too quickly, mispronounces words, and has a weakness for self-referential jokes, at which he smirks readily, like a boy who knows that his mother approves.

McGrath's piece is roughly 10,000 words, so.... here are just a few interesting passages.

Bloomberg took office during a recession, and quickly established himself as a bold and decisive fiscal manager, ultimately demonstrating, as his friend Mitchell Moss, an urban-planning professor at N.Y.U., says, that New York was “open for business after 9/11.” As the economy recovered, Bloomberg set about trying to transform the city, on a scale not seen since the days of Robert Moses. “I think if you look, we’ve done more in the last seven years than — I don’t know if it’s fair to say more than Moses did, but I hope history will show the things we did made a lot more sense,” Bloomberg told me. “You know, Moses did some things that turned out not to be great: cutting us off from the waterfront, putting roads all along the water.” The Bloomberg model, under the direction of Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff and Amanda Burden, the City Planning Commissioner, was based to a large extent on undoing the Moses legacy: rezoning for commercial and residential use large tracts of waterfront property that had once been the province of industry.

Later on, a City Hall reporter offers:

If he weren’t sometimes such a dick, it would be an unbearable beat.”

Illustration: Gerald Scarfe

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