NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s 12 years in office is down to its final two weeks.
The outgoing mayor kicked off a legacy tour Tuesday with a stop in Brooklyn where he opened an ice skating rink in Prospect Park.
“Now there will be more room here for freestyle skating, for ice skating lessons, for hockey games and for other events,” Bloomberg said.
The rink is the final phase of a restoration program in the southeast corner of the park, 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reported. It opens Friday.
Bloomberg pivoted to tout his administration’s $5 billion commitment to parks, which includes 870 acres of parkland created, and boasted that Brooklyn’s crime rate has plummeted while its economy has improved.
He also offered a prickly defense of his homeless policies in the wake of a New York Times series about a homeless 12-year-old girl who spent a quarter of her young life in a homeless shelter.
Bloomberg declared her story was extraordinary, but said “the family situation is extremely atypical.”
“The average homeless family spends less than two years in shelter and has some employment history, this family did not,” Bloomberg explained. “This is a sad situation and we are certainly going to try to help the parents to achieve stability and independence.”
He summed up by saying, “It is fair to say that New York City has done more than any city to help the homeless and we should be very proud of that.”
Over the next four days, Bloomberg will visit the city’s four other boroughs. His final major address as mayor will be Wednesday at The Economic Club of New York.
A new self-funded website highlights his accomplishments.
Bloomberg claims his health initiatives mean life expectancy in New York City is 2.2 years longer than the national average.
“If improving the longevity and the health of your citizens isn’t government’s primary job I don’t know what the job is,” Bloomberg said.
And, he claims, crime is down more than 30 percent, with murders cut in half, compared to a 15 percent reduction nationally.
“Last week we had one murder in a city of 8.4 million people, it just defies imagination,” Bloomberg said.
He’s forming a new company, Bloomberg Associates, to help other cities do the same things he’s done in New York.
“We are the poster child for most of the good things that have happened in big cities,” Bloomberg said.
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