NEW YORK CITY – All of New York City’s mayors ran on the unspoken but implied promise that they did not and will not cause the death of a groundhog.

All have kept that promise except one.

Mayor Bill de Blasio – the workout-loving New York hizzoner, heartbreaking Cuomo and White House dreamer of the past eight years – leaves City Hall on New Years Day and, with him, a legacy of promises made and held, he said.

Find out what’s happening in New York City with free real-time Patch updates.

“You know, we really did a lot of the things that we wanted the most,” de Blasio told NY1. “If you take the original 2013 platform and follow it through to the end, there’s a really good success rate there.”

Among those promises are universal pre-K, a minimum wage of $ 15, and a deep respect for composting.

Find out what’s happening in New York City with free real-time Patch updates.

But a Patch review from Blasio’s administration found that many promises had not been kept. The NYPD budget was not cut by a billion dollars, Vision Zero did not meet its goal of zero road fatalities, and Juneteenth was not considered a public holiday.

And New Yorkers bracing for a new COVID-19 outbreak, watching carriage horses descend Fifth Avenue, or worrying about loved ones alone on Rikers Island can tell you about the promises he broke.

But if de Blasio’s broken promises outraged New Yorkers, what bothered spokesman Mitch Schwartz, is Patch’s request to comment on them.

“Really wait? All of this takes place in one story? Schwartz said in an email. “I mean we’ll be happy to go through them at length if that’s what you want. But putting all of these extremely complex issues together… maybe a bit rich for our tastes.”

‘Day one’
For Christine Quinn, former president of the city council and main opponent of de Blasio in the 2013 mayoral race, the team horses leave her dejected.

“He said, ‘The first day I’m going to get rid of it,’” Quinn said. “All he did was take these people’s money and take them for a ride.”

De Blasio started the 2013 mayoral race as a long-standing candidate, but when Quinn clashed with animal rights activists for refusing to support the ban on horse-drawn carriages in Central Park, he seized an opportunity.

“We have a pro-animal mayor,” well-funded group NYClass said. “Bill de Blasio is one of us.”

But eight years later, and despite a recent pledge to pass the ban, animal rights activists are still waiting to see the team horses released from their reins. Mayor’s officials say the ban has always required support from city council.

Quinn, now CEO of homeless shelter operator Win, said de Blasio’s horse-drawn carriage ban promise reflects a politician more interested in press releases than people.

Or horses.

“All they’re interested in is what’s on Twitter and what’s in the paper,” Quinn said. “We’ve seen a lot of this over the past eight years, and a lot of it during a terrible pandemic. “

Two towns

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the proudly progressive promise at the heart of de Blasio’s platform.

“City Hall has too often served the interests of the elite rather than the needs of everyday New Yorkers,” de Blasio said at a 2013 campaign launch event at Park Slope. “It’s a place that in many ways has become the story of two cities.”

The “two cities” were the common thread of de Blasio – a worldview which he said would inform his administration’s economic policy, the fight against homelessness and the work of police reform.

And when de Blasio’s office released a report this month touting his success in tackling income inequality, it was titled “The Story of a More Equal City.”

Among his findings, from 2013 to 2019, New York City’s poverty rate fell nearly 13%, the median income of black families rose 27%, and the wage share rose 15% for the the less wealthy half of the city’s workers.

“Blasio’s administration has led one of the most concerted civic efforts in modern history to redistribute wealth,” the report said.

“Progress has been made not in just one area of ​​focus, but in addressing inequalities wherever they exist in the lives of everyday New Yorkers.”

But Census Bureau data contradicts the rosy picture painted in the mayor’s report, according to an analysis by the New York City Citizens’ Committee for Children.

The analysis notes that the median income increased in 2019, but poorer New Yorkers saw modest increases while the richest saw their incomes rise by more than 20%.

“The consequences of rising inequality hit families of color and single mothers harder,” the report notes. “The deep vulnerabilities of children from low-income households are exacerbated. “

These are the nonprofit communities Quinn supports and supports that de Blasio did not help.

“No one can beat a thousand,” Quinn said. “But the mayor of Blasio when it comes to roaming and promises, he’s no more than .250.”

De Blasio’s administration has achieved historic victories – such as establishing the right to legal representation in the housing court – and, according to city hall estimates, reduced the homeless population of the town of 53,000 to 46,000.

Mayor’s officials argue that de Blasio’s administration has built more affordable housing than any other town hall in the city’s history, including those that lasted three terms – a taunt against his predecessor Michael Bloomberg.

But Quinn notes that de Blasio has struggled to create housing with promised support services and homeless advocates told City Limits the administration has withheld much-needed resources during the pandemic.

Kathryn Wylde, president and CEO of Partnership For NYC, argued that de Blasio’s inability to get resources where they were needed stemmed from a phrase the mayor used to prove his progressive good faith.

While de Blasio said New York should “tax the rich” to fund MTA fixes, improve universal pre-K and, when the pandemic ravaged the economy, to close budget gaps, it unnecessarily upset the world of business, Wylde said.

“It’s kind of a disrespect for the people who make up a big chunk of the tax base,” Wylde said. “[And] as mayor, he lacks the capacity to raise income taxes.

Mayor’s officials recognize that raising taxes on the wealthy needs state help – a tall order when former Governor Andrew Cuomo was at the helm.

Yet fueled by a global pandemic that de Blasio did not bring about, the MTA fell into an economic crisis, universal pre-K weakened in low-income neighborhoods, and the 2021 budget potentially created billions in future deficits. .

This battle to create a balanced budget for New York City and save the city from a looming financial crisis has brought to the fore a ‘Two Towns’ pledge New Yorkers have marched through the streets to demand that de Blasio.

Shouted protesters who wanted police reform in the wake of George Floyd’s death, “Defund the police.” ”

De Blasio’s administration has struggled over the years to balance the progressive promises he made as an activist with his obligations to work alongside police and union leaders as mayor.

After years of growing tension as frustrated cops turned their backs on the mayor and reformers demanded justice for Eric Garner, Deborah Danner, Saheed Vassell and more, violence erupted during the 2020 protests.

De Blasio responded in part to those demands in 2020 by slashing the NYPD budget by $ 1 billion.

“It is time to do the work of reform, to think deeply about the future of our police,” said de Blasio. “We did it with the neighborhood police and we need to go further now in new directions that will keep the city safe.”

But critics argued the measures only shifted funds from the NYPD to other departments – a “shell game,” in Quinn’s words. A Politico report a year later showed very few of the proposed cuts have materialized as police received funding for a new Queens ward, school safety officers and crossing guards.

“Note it on a curve”

New Yorkers are not nice to their mayors.

They boo, heckle and mock them during public appearances. They shout “good riddance” when mayors step down.

“I think it’s a bit normal,” said former Council member Costa Constantinides. “Being mayor of New York is a very difficult job.”

But Constantinides, who stepped down from his seat on the council in April, said de Blasio had also taken steps to improve the lives of New Yorkers, including an emissions reduction bill, improvements to Astoria Park and an increase in the number. affordable housing.

He also noted that any criticism of de Blasio’s tenure must recognize that he has faced one of the biggest challenges a city mayor can face – a global pandemic.

“I am of the opinion to note it in a curve,” said Constantinides. “There are a lot of important things that seem to me to be real victories.”

Patch editor Kathleen Culliton contributed to this report.