On Thursday New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg made his final state of the city address. It coincided with is 71st birthday. I haven’t agreed with every one of Mr. Bloomberg’s initiatives (missions?), his smoking ban and large sugary drinks ban always struck me as being over-reaching. This is not to mention changing term limits so he could serve a third term. Yet overall I think the mayor has done a good job for New York City.
The Boston-born and raised mayor understands the vibe and spirit of New York City which is more than a bit surprising considering his self-made wealth which would not put him in step with most New York City residents nor would his private school upbringing.
I think, like it or not, a mayor represents a city’s brand. The mayor can be a good representation of a city’s brand (Ed Koch and Rudy Giuliani for different reasons did an overall good job representing New York City), or in the case of former Washington D.C. mayor Marion Barry not so good.
New York mayors in particular seem to loom over the city. Back in 1965 John Lindsay noted that being mayor of New York was the second toughest job in America. He was mayor during a difficult time and both his and his successor Abe Beame’s tenures as mayor were uneven at best and out of step with New Yorkers and thus poor representations of New York City’s brand.
I’m in New York City more now than I’ve been in a long time. I have gotten a better feel for the pulse and rhythm of the city – beyond just Manhattan. Compared to many places today, New York City’s brand value remains near its acme. Real estate and rent prices are rising, increasingly more people want to work, visit, and live in New York City than ever before. Yes there are many problems that need to be addressed – maintenance of a decaying infrastructure, and improving city-wide education, (it’s easy to forget there’s a school bus strike going since it has largely fallen out of the news) are just two major issues.
When you look around the globe mayors of major cities like London’s Boris Johnson, Chicago’s Rahm Emanuel, and Los Angeles’ Antonio Villargairosa are out front representing their cities and the city’s brand. The most important aspect of being a mayor is helping make the city a better place for its residents, workers and visitors. But being a good steward and leader of the city’s spirit and attitude is more important today than it’s ever been.
What do you think of a mayor being representative of a city’s brand