Citing F.D.R., Bloomberg declares war on development 'obstructionists'
During his twelfth and final State of the City address this afternoon, Michael Bloomberg vowed to beat back "obstructionists" and break ground on legacy-making projects like the redevelopment of Willets Point and construction of a soccer stadium in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
“For the first time since La Guardia was mayor and F.D.R. created the W.P.A., we’re not only conceiving big plans that fundamentally change the landscape of our city, we’re achieving them," he said, speaking to the city's elected officials at Barclays Center, itself a development in which he takes particular pride. "We’ve taken a city built mostly before World War II and renewed it for the needs of New Yorkers today and tomorrow. But we still have plenty of unfinished business in all five boroughs."
After asking for the crowd to deliver a special round of applause for Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, who came up with the idea of bringing N.B.A. basketball to Brooklyn, and Bruce Ratner, the developer who made it happen, Bloomberg outlined just what sort of projects he intends to see underway by the time he leaves office at the end of the year, "obstructionists" notwithstanding.
Among his final-year goals: "In Queens, we’ll work with Major League Soccer to bring soccer back to our city for the first time since the Cosmos left in 1977."
Major League Soccer wants to build a 25,000-seat arena on the site of an old World's Fair fountain in the middle of Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
The league has the support of the Bloomberg administration, but has engendered local resistance because, well, it is proposing to put a stadium in the middle of a park.
Bloomberg also vowed to get started on two other projects rife with controversy: Willets Point, which also impacts Flushing Meadows Corona Park, and the rezoning of the area around Grand Central Terminal to allow for taller towers.
“We won’t rush the re-zoning—but we won’t allow the obstructionists to run out the clock, either," he said. "This is just too important for our future. And given all the politics and special interests, if we don't get it done this year, it may never get done. We just can't let that happen."